Listen as curator, Tina Oldknow, describes “Marquiscarpa” by American artist Richard Marquis. Unsatisfied with the limited techniques practiced and taught in American studio glass in the 1960s, the artist went to the Venini glassworks on Murano in 1969. There, he observed and worked with some of the most talented glass masters in the world. He later shared his knowledge of historic Italian techniques, such as murrine (mosaic) and filigrana (filigree), by demonstrating and teaching at workshops throughout the United States and Australia.
This small, unusual murrine object was named in honor of the renowned 20th-century Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa. Scarpa’s most well-known designs in murrine, which Marquis admired, were produced at the Venini glassworks around 1940. The Marquiscarpa demonstrates the artist’s virtuoso and labor-intensive technique, and the piece is meant to be held and examined. The interior of the object is gilded, which is not visible unless it is picked up and turned over.