July 20, 2023, to March 17, 2024
Array of Forms
The exhibition Masterpieces of Glass explores the allure of glass as a material. Around 100 exhibits present the various facets of this intriguing material: from transparent to opaque, colorless to brightly colored, from angular forms to flowing vegetal motifs, luxury items to mass-produced industrial glassware. Many objects on display in the exhibition lay hidden in the museum storerooms for many years and are now on display for the very first time.
Fascinating Drinking and Table Vessels
The drinking and table glasses presented in the exhibition, dating from antiquity to the 20th century, reveal how forms resemble each other over a long period of time. Visitors can admire the unique designs of the objects across the centuries—the decorations applied in the glassworks themselves, such as prunts or pinched ribbons, or worked later by engravers and cutters. Antique, mass-produced vials contrast with a medieval Hedwig beaker, of which there are only a few pieces left in the world. Roemer glasses and “cabbage stalk” Krautstrunk reliquary beakers made of forest glass are examples of everyday glassware from the late Middle Ages, while luxury Venetian cristallo glass was only available to a select few. The exhibition traces later developments in glass-making, with examples of Baroque glass art, cameo glass, and Art Nouveau glass, through to the functional design of the 1950s.
The exhibition showcases objects made of (and with) glass from almost all areas of the collection. They illustrate the role that the material has played in the development of our culture. Without cut lenses, there would be no binoculars or microscopes; the vitreous material is also ideal for storing food and was likewise used in medicine and alchemy. Despite its fragility, glass can be found in a wide range of objects from lamps and jewelry to musical instruments and even toys. The exhibition also features eccentric objects, including the model of an eye with a glass eyeball made in Nuremberg around 1700.