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 While it could be associated with an outdated decorative accessory, it is instead timeless.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…
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.
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
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)
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
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.
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.
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.