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Born in Venice in 1882, Umberto Bellotto was the son of a blacksmith. By 1903 he had already distinguished himself as a master ironworker, creating the celebrated railings for the café/restaurant at the Venice Biennale. In the 1910’s he made a name for himself collaborating with other craft workshops to produce furniture, fabrics, leather, glass and other objects for fine interiors. By 1914, Bellotto’s rising fame as a master craftsman and designer was beginning to reach its zenith when he opened his own gallery and presented hand-crafted wrought objects which clearly existed in the realm of fine art. In 1920 he participated in the Venice Biennale, exhibiting original works combining iron with leather, glass and ceramic. Between 1925 and 1927 he designed imaginative works of glass composed of geometric and industrial shapes highlighted by dark contrasting details—a stylistic innovation that become a permanent convention in the Murano glass oeuvre. In 1928 he was called to Rome by the minister of public works and was assigned to major architectural projects. He died in Venice in 1940.
Today with a knowledgeable guide, it is possible to encounter signs, lanterns, chandeliers, door handles, mounts, hinges, and even entire staircases executed by Bellotto, hidden in plain sight throughout Venice and the Veneto.