Umbo Vase

Unknown maker, Façon de Venise, possibly the Glashütte of Wolfgang Vitlabout 1534 - 1536

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Although the Venetians tried to protect their glass monopoly, issuing orders and threatening terrible punishments to workers who emigrated to the North, manufacturing of cristallo and other types of façon de Venise glass spread to many parts of Europe in the 1500s. In 1534 in Hall, Austria, Wolfgang Vitl founded one of the earliest northern European glasshouses to produce Venetian-style products, employing both Venetian glassblowers and local craftsmen. To protect his investment, Vitl succeeded in gaining from Emperor Ferdinand I the sole right to produce colorless glass (referred to as "white" glass) for fifteen to twenty years. Documents relating to this glasshouse indicate that Vitl aimed to provide quality vessels that would be less expensive for the Austrian and German upper classes than importing Venetian glass.

Molds were brought from Murano to northern glasshouses, allowing Vitl and glassblowers elsewhere to produce identical forms. Known as an umbo vase because of the pattern of umbones or bulges around the body, this vase was patterned on those produced in Murano. The arms in cold-paint and gilding are those of a patrician family from Nuremberg.

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  • Title: Umbo Vase
  • Creator: Unknown maker, Façon de Venise, possibly the Glashütte of Wolfgang Vitl
  • Date: about 1534 - 1536
  • Location Created: Hall, Austria
  • Physical Dimensions: 21.1 x 9.8 x 13 cm (8 5/16 x 3 7/8 x 5 1/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Free- and mold-blown colorless (slightly gray) glass with gilding and cold painted decoration
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Vase
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.DK.546
  • Inscription: Inscription: Arms, on rim, in paint, "per fesse argent a demi-wheel gules, and azure a fleur-de-lis argent"; on the opposite side, "on a mount or a triple-turreted tower argent".
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum North Pavilion, Gallery N104
  • Department: Sculpture & Decorative Arts
  • Culture: Austrian or Italian
  • Classification: Decorative Arts