Ennion “Master of Roman Glass”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

poster for Ennion “Master of Roman Glass”

This event has ended.

Glassmaking originated around 2500 B.C. in Mesopotamia, and by the mid-first millennium B.C. it had spread throughout the ancient world. The number of vessels made from glass remained limited, however, until the introduction of two important technical advances—the use of the blowpipe and closed multipart molds—in the late first century B.C. and the early first century A.D., respectively. These advances revolutionized the glass industry under the Roman Empire, making glass vessels accessible to all and allowing producers to create a wide range of shapes, sizes, and usages. Some of the earliest vessels made by mold blowing bear the names of the craftsmen who “signed” the molds.

In the early first century A.D. the most outstanding examples of Roman mold-blown glass were made by a craftsman called Ennion, and products of his workshop are the focus of the exhibition Ennion: Master of Roman Glass, opening December 9 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is the first exhibition of ancient glass organized by the Metropolitan, which has one of the finest collections of this material in the world.

The exhibition is made possible by Diane Carol Brandt, The Vlachos Family Fund, and The David Berg Foundation.

Glassware—primarily jugs and cups—signed by Ennion was traded throughout the entire Mediterranean world and has been found during archaeological excavations at sites from Israel to Spain. Of the 37 complete or fragmentary vessels in the exhibition, 24 are by Ennion, including the Metropolitan Museum’s three signed pieces. Examples by other named glassworkers of the period—including one of only two intact works by Ennion’s closest rival, Aristeas, as well as examples of beakers signed by Jason, Neikais, and Meges—will also be presented. A selection of unsigned blown glass that illustrates Ennion’s profound influence on the nascent Roman glass industry will also be on view.



from December 09, 2014 to April 13, 2015



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