Histoire du verre

At once inspiration for artistic creation, integral element of architectural designs and impetus for scientific development, glass is a dynamic element and witness of our social history. Glass has a history to be told from one exhibition to the next. Glass is a medium to explore from one event to the next. The Year of Glass is a year not to be missed.

Montreal, City of Glass 2010: A tale of innovation.

Glass comes from within the earth itself. Born from the mysterious transformation of mere grains of sand, glass was discovered in the Middle East approximately 3,000 years B.C., product of the fusion of sand and minerals. Pliny the Elder told the tale of its discovery when he described the glass pearls found among the ashes of a fire of some Phoenician bivouac. This chance discovery was then followed by the important invention of the blowing iron a few hundred years B.C. And by the 3rd Century A.D., those inventive Romans had already developed glass preparation techniques which are still in use today.

From initial discovery to further experimentation, glass has evolved over time. The invention of flat coloured glass favoured the creation of audacious stained-glass windows for large European cathedrals in the 11th Century, of corrective lenses in the 13th Century and of lead crystal glass crafted by English glass-maker Ravenscroft in the 17th Century. Each transformed our daily lives in its own way. By the 16th Century, the use of glass had become popularized particularly in window-making. During industrialisation, the production of glass containers, initially the domain of artisans, became intensified. In Montreal, by the end of the 19th Century, the glass industry had truly come of age. Since the establishment of its first factory in 1839, Canada’s glass industry remained in full bloom for many years.

A fascinating medium, glass lends itself to the creation of delicate scientific instruments as much as to unyielding architectural structures. It is equally suited for the creation of jewellery as it is for the production of containers, from the most modest to the most practical. But beyond its practicality, glass has always been suited for exceptional artistic creation. At once an art form and a craft, glass-making truly transcends the medium which gives it form.

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