This Murrine vase designed by Paolo Venini in 1954 is extremely rare, if not unique. Like the Mezzaluna, A Dame and A Puntini vessels designed by Venini in the 1950s, it is composed entirely of tiny murrines encased in a thin layer of clear glass. But in this example the red and blue murrines are both triangular and semi-transparent, which distinguishes it from all others known.

Period photo illustrating this model executed using a different murrine technique.

Paolo Venini 1895–1959

Paolo Venini was born in Cusano, Italy on January 12, 1895 to a middle class Lombard family. As a young man he studied law in Milan. During the first war he was stationed near Venice where he became fascinated with the glass mosaics and stained glass of St. Mark’s cathedral. After the war he began a law practice but soon came under the influence of Venetian art and antiquities dealer Giacomo Cappellin who convinced the young Venini to join him as a business partner in a new Murano glass enterprise in 1921. Since then it has become almost impossible to discuss the life of Paolo Venini as separate from his company—all the available biographical material about him lacks personal detail and inevitably lists towards the celebrated history of the company. Venini’s biography is, therefore, the story of a man whose literal personality has been subsumed by his professional life and persona.

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