Imagine your eyes were made of peapods, your nose a pear. In the 16th century, Italian painter and portraitist Giuseppe Arcimboldo represented the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II with just such features. Sometimes known as the “grandfather” of Surrealism (a 20th century cultural movement that married two worlds: fantasy and reality), Arcimboldo used non-human elements, such as fruits, vegetables, animals, and food, to represent the human body. In the 17th century, French engraver Nicolas de Larmessin picked up where Arcimboldo left off. Best known for his serious depictions of French nobility, Larmessin is also known for his series Les costumes grotesques et les métiers (which translates to something like “fanciful trade costumes”). These engravings portray men clad in the tools and wares of their trades. In the 18th century, German engraver Martin Engelbrecht created a similar series, Assemblage nouveau des manouvries habilles (new clothing of tradesmen outfitted in their own works and tools). These prints also depicted individuals dressed in items associated with their profession. Surrealist artists of the 20th century, such as René Magritte, put their own stamps on the imaginative representation of human form in works such as The Difficult Crossing II (1926).
The Rakow Research Library offers several exciting examples of glass-related professions depicted in this centuries-old style, including three late-18th century engravings by Larmessin: Habit de Marchand miroitier lunettier, Habit de verrier fayencier, and Habit de vitrier.
CMGL_166686 – Habit de Marchand miroitier lunettier, Nicolas de Larmessin, ca. 1680-1700, CMGL 166686
CMGL_166691 – Habit de verrier fayencier, Nicolas de Larmessin, ca. 1680-1700, CMGL 166691
CMGL_137235 – Habit de vitrier, Nicolas de Larmessin, ca. 1680-1700, CMGL 137235
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Now in its third year, Expanding Horizons is a week-long intensive class at The Corning Museum of Glass, in partnership with the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation, for the top students in at-risk glass art programs around the United States. The outreach program includes airfare, lodging, and meals for the duration. The itinerary blends instruction, touring the collections with curators, a visit to the Rakow Research Library, a meeting with a prominent collector, a discussion about preparing an artist’s portfolio, and a presentation on applying to college with a focus on glassblowing.
The students in the 2017 class — Santiago Aguilera (Chicago), Nia Fairley (Chicago), Taquita Pendelton (Chicago), Tanner Martin (Tacoma), Jeremiah Brown (New Orleans), Dantrell Blake (Chicago) — were busy from 9 to 9 on most days as we attempted to cram in as much information and technique as we could. The students not only worked in the hot shop for hours each day, they also toured the museum and the library, met with our museum buyer, the editor of Glass Quarterly, a local independent glass worker, a glass scientist, and many more.
Photo by Allison Duncan
Students Jeremiah and Nia creating a bit monster in The Studio.
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The Corning Museum of Glass has named Dr. Karlyn Sutherland, a Scottish emerging artist, as the recipient of the 32nd Rakow Commission. She is known for evocative sculptures, fused wall pieces and site-specific installations that explore the emotional power of place.
Dr. Karlyn Sutherland, 2017 Rakow Commission Artist.
Originally trained as an architect, Sutherland describes her work in glass as an extension of the sensibilities and skills she honed as an architectural designer. Her autobiographical work “is a reaction to vivid memories and intangible qualities of significant moments,” she says. “Each piece aims to evoke architectural space and atmosphere, distilling and communicating the essence of an experience.”
“One of the things that drew me to Sutherland’s pieces initially was how hard they were to capture in photographic media,” says Susie J. Silbert, curator of modern and contemporary glass. “I was intrigued by what it might mean to have work that stretched our perceptions so far that you couldn’t comprehend it just by looking at a representation. Her pieces need to be seen in person to be fully understood—they appear like the digital world popping into the physical world.” Read more →
This post comes from Alaina McNeal, the Public Services Outreach intern at the Rakow Research Library.
On the night of November 4, 1966, water poured through the streets of Florence, Italy. Buildings collapsed from the bottom up, compressed air in basements caused the ceilings to buckle, and the first floors of buildings collapsed downward. The surge of water brought mud and oil from destroyed storage tanks, covering the city in a slippery mixture. Amidst all the damage that resulted from the flood were more than two million books and archival collections.
Two Mud Angels and damaged papers by Nicholas Swietlan. Swietlan Nicholas Kraczyna: Painter/Printmaker.
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