Culture

The Venetian Mirror: always chic, never has-been

The Venetian mirror is a decorative decorative element that can be used in a wide variety of interiors. In in an old and cosy setting, it naturally finds its place, as it marries wonderfully with with very contemporary furniture. Its aristocratic side brings personality to a corner of the house, or to a room. While it could be associated with an outdated decorative accessory, it is instead timeless. The adjective “Venetian” refers to the Republic of Venice, a period in historical period in which the production of Venetian mirrors invaded the whole of europe… Focus on a piece of furniture that can be adapted to all tastes…

Au mur, un miroir vénitien vintage dans un décor contemporain.
On the wall, a vintage Venetian mirror in a contemporary setting.
deco.fr

Let’s start by talking about the history of the Venetian mirror. Although mirrors have existed for thousands of years, it was not until the 11th century that man rediscovered the techniques for making them. In the 13th century, glass mirrors appeared in Europe. At the end of the same century, the Republic of Venice installed master glassmakers on the island of Murano where the first large glassworks were born and developed.

The Murano glass masters quickly developed unrivalled techniques and know-how. Mirrors became a speciality of the glass craftsmen of the small Venetian island. In the 15th century, they invented the manufacture of tinned mirrors, i.e. mirrors made from an amalgam bath of tin and mercury. With this technique, the Murano glass masters designed mirrors with a lustrous reflective surface of great purity. The Venetian mirror-makers became a separate corporation in Murano as a result of their power during the Renaissance.

Miroir italien du XVIIe siècle en bois sculpté et doré avec motif rocheux. Une pièce exceptionnelle qui souligne le travail d’enrichissement du cadre.
Italian mirror from the 17th century in carved and gilded wood with a rock motif. An exceptional piece that underlines the work of enriching the frame.
anticstore
La même pièce, détails. Le tour externe du cadre est en bois doré sculpté avec un motif à coquille saint Jacques. La gravure intérieure intègre un travail de sculpture orné de feuilles.
The same piece, details. The outer part of the frame is in gilded wood carved with a scalloped motif. The inner engraving integrates a carving work decorated with leaves.
anticstore

The Venetian mirror thus refers to its Italian origins, notably to the quality of the glass made in Murano. Louis XIV, jealous of the success of the Venetian mirror industry, launched the Royal Mirror Factory in 1665. In 1672, the Kingdom of France no longer imported Venetian mirrors. French workers now produced large mirrors of exceptional quality

From then on, the Venetian mirror evolved with the styles of the time. It became a real element of interior design: the shapes and frames were adapted to the style of the whole decoration. In France, for example, the Rococo style, marked by the abundance of decorative elements, saw mirror frames enriched with combinations of precious woods, scales, mother-of-pearl and brass. Mirror frames are often solid and gilded

 Grand miroir vénitien rectangulaire de style Rococo. Le bois est richement sculpté de feuillages, de rinceaux et d’oiseaux. Le fronton est richement décoré.
Large rectangular Venetian mirror in Rococo style. The wood is richly carved with foliage, scrolls and birds. The pediment is richly decorated
gallery-atena

Over the centuries, the Venetian mirror became a symbolic decorative object and a symbol of its owner’s social status. It accompanies artistic and decorative movements: Neoclassical period (ornamentation of the frame with antique motifs), Art Nouveau then Art Deco (more simplicity, geometric motifs, symmetry of forms)

Mirror from the Art Deco period. Scrolls and curved lines with perfect symmetry.
designmag

Did you know? In addition to its generic name, the Venetian mirror also refers to a type of mirror imported from Venice during the Renaissance: the mirror with mirror. In order to make larger mirrors, Venetian mirror makers to make larger mirrors, Venetian mirror-makers enlarged their size by using smaller pieces the central mirror

Grand miroir à parecloses en bois et stuck doré, époque Napoléon III (XIXe siècle). Un miroir français, pourtant ce sont bien les artisans vénitiens qui ont les premiers conçu ce style de miroir, alors fréquemment importé, d’où son nom de miroir « vénitien ». Le terme parcloses renvoie au châssis intermédiaire décoratif (dit enclos) qui assure le maintien des plus petits miroirs.
Large wooden and gilded mirror, Napoleon III period (19th century). A French mirror, yet it was Venetian craftsmen who first designed this style of mirror, which was frequently imported at the time, hence the name “Venetian” mirror. The term “parcloses” refers to the decorative intermediate frame (known as an enclosure) that holds smaller mirrors in place.
gallery-atena

The Venetian mirror is sought after by lovers of beautiful antique pieces, but also by enlightened lovers of of vintage design. It can accompany a retro chic or baroque decoration as well as chic or baroque decoration as well as ultra design furniture. Its sumptuousness and elegance and elegant aspect makes it a top-of-the-range decorative element. There are many modern and vintage modern and vintage pieces are available on the market.

Miroir vénitien octogonal avec décor floral gravé, années 50.
Octagonal Venetian mirror with engraved floral decoration, 1950s.
Miroir vénitien en verre de Murano, années 50-60. Baguettes et fleurs avec des inclusions de feuilles d'or. Miroirs gravés de fleurs. Miroir central biseauté.
Venetian mirror in Murano glass, 1950s-60s. Baguettes and flowers with gold leaf inclusions. Engraved mirrors with flowers. Central bevelled mirror.
proantic

The Venetian mirror also offers variety of shapes (round, oval, square, rectangular), with a design (bevelled, polished, engraved) design (bevelled, polished, engraved, chiselled) and frame ornamentation (floral (floral motifs, carved and gilded wood, decorative engravings, imitation stone) different according to the models. Its coat can be silver, gold, bronze or brass.

Grand miroir vénitien à parecloses XXe siècle, années 60.
Large Venetian mirror, 20th century, 1960s
Même pièce. On peut trouver de très belles pièces vintage richement décorées. Ici, une pièce biseautée dotée d’un magnifique fronton en parfait état. Le miroir présente aussi de magnifiques décors.
Same piece. We can find very beautiful and richly decorated vintage pieces. Here, a bevelled piece with a magnificent pediment in perfect condition. The mirror is also beautifully decorated.
Miroir soleil vintage en bois sculpté doré à la feuille d'or.
Vintage sunburst mirror in carved wood with gold leaf
selency
Miroir vénitien « Isadora » ambre. Verre de Murano. Cadre de style ancien réalisé à l'aide de la classique gravure sur verre à la main. Une très belle pièce qui éclaire un intérieur.
Venetian mirror “Isadora” amber. Murano glass. Antique style frame made with the classic hand engraving on glass. A beautiful piece that lights up an interior.
venetian-mirrors
Moins tape à l’œil, ce miroir vintage argenté datant de la fin des années 1940 est d’une élégance discrète.
Less flashy, this vintage silver mirror from the late 1940s is discreetly elegant.

Although it is no longer a central element of modern decoration, the major Italian furniture manufacturers are not neglecting it. For example, at Kartell, the symbol of Made in Italy design, Philippe Starck designed the modern Venetian mirror. At Cassina, the pieces are signed Man Ray (yes, the artist!), Studio Simon and Ron Gilad. For Porro, Piero Lissoni designed the Reflection collection of rectangular mirrors.

Pour Kartell, Philippe Starck a conçu une série de miroirs rectangulaires rappelant les cadres en cristal biseauté. Conçus pour être transparents ou transparents colorés, ils s'inspirent des couleurs des verres de Murano.
For Kartell, Philippe Starck has designed a series of rectangular mirrors reminiscent of bevelled crystal frames. Designed to be transparent or coloured transparent, they are inspired by the colours of Murano glass
kartell
Miroir créé par Man Ray. Produit depuis 1971 dans le cadre de la collection Ultramobile de Simon, et aujourd’hui dans le cadre de la collection Cassina SimonCollezione.
Mirror created by Man Ray. Produced since 1971 as part of Simon’s Ultramobile collection, and today as part of the Cassina SimonCollezione collection
cassina
Miroir Otero, design : Studio Simon, 1980. Collection Cassina SimonCollezione.  D’autres fabricants italiens moins connus, mais réputés pour la qualité de leurs produits, accordent tout autant de place au miroir, si ce n’est plus. Ce sont Cattelan Italia, Kristalia, Opinion Ciatti et Molteni & C.
Otero mirror, design: Studio Simon, 1980. Cassina SimonCollezione Collection. Other lesser-known Italian manufacturers, but renowned for the quality of their products, place just as much emphasis on the mirror, if not more so. They are Cattelan Italia, Kristalia, Opinion Ciatti and Molteni & C. ©
cassina

François Boutard