Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Looking at Anceint Glass with New Eyes

Driving home today after a fascinating but long day of jury duty, I was faced with making a quick decision. Take the on-ramp from HWY 35 to 281 at 5:45 p.m. or make a right onto Broadway where I would be only blocks away from the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA). Hmmm... sit in traffic or take advantage of the free admission available on Tuesday evenings to enjoy art and history. Decision, decision what shall I do?

My plan was to enjoy the cool surroundings of the DenMan gallery, which is filled with Greco-Roman sculpture, while traffic passed me by. I entered the museum, turned left and headed straight for my destination quickly passing Egyptian artifacts and loud tourists. Then suddenly I screeched to a halt. Not an easy thing to do on marble floors in three inch heels. I had entered a small gallery filled with ancient glass. The blue green colors, the irid surfaces, the etched and molded details all caught and held my attention. When I finally peeled myself away to continue down the hall I discovered the exhibit I was heading for was closed. But no matter, I had found something new in this ancient glass. Something that as a young student visiting the museum I never noticed but as a glass craftsman I better appreciate. I went back for a third look.

The collection contains examples of blown, mold blown, and cast/fused glass vessels from the eastern Mediterranean. There are lovely Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic examples of techniques still used by glass artists today (e.g. cameo, etched details cold worked with grits, casting made from powdered glass). If you have the opportunity to visit the SAMA exhibit on Western Antiquities be sure to stop and see the glass.

No comments: