Though women worked in the glass bead industry of Murano, few women made glassware. Hermonia Vivarini is a rare exception. Check out this video to hear a bit more about her life:
The day I filmed the last video posted on this blog, where I crouched in the churchyard during a wind storm, is the same day I filmed this video about Vivarini, so I apologize for the wind noise! Thanks to the young couple who held the camera for me.
The Museo del Vetro on Murano supposedly has two samples of this navicella, but I’ve had the poor luck to not see either one. Three years ago, the museum was being renovated, so many glass objects were in storage. When I returned a year later, the bright new rooms were filled with dozens of glass plates, goblets, jars, and other vessels–but no navicella. Hopefully one day I’ll get to see one!
Here are a few pieces that show embellishments and styling similar to Hermonia Vivarini’s boat-shaped pitcher.
It took a lot of sleuthing to find out anything about Hermonia Vivarini’s life. Thank you to Patricia Fortini Brown for pointing me in the right direction and sharing her research. If you wish to read more about Vivarini, I have a chapter on her and Marietta Barovier in my book A Beautiful Woman in Venice, available here: