The Bohemian Crystal Artists
Crystal Art Introduction
Opus Art is privileged to introduce Bohemian Crystal Art Sculpture from Bohemia, the heart of the historic Czech crystal glass industry.
The Czech republic has a very long tradition of making the finest crystal and quite rightly stands today as the best in the world, internationally recognized for it's high quality craftsmanship, beauty, and innovative design.
Bohemia boasts numerous, internationally renowned, glass studios and art schools who use techniques and manufacture steeped in the centuries old tradition whilst still honouring ancient Bohemian art and it's cultural heritage.
In the western world, 'crystal' versus 'glass' means the presence of lead which increases the weight of the glass and cause the diffraction of light.
In the Czech Republic, the term 'crystal' is used for any exquisite, high quality, glass.
Bohemian Crystal, a brief history
The history of glass production in Bohemia dates back to the turn of the 13th & 14th century, in large, partly due to the abundant supply of wood for firing the kilns, the supply of potash, limestone, and silica. Factories were established and soon became famous for their beautiful, colourful, glass during this renaissance period.
Bohemian factories first produced nearly transparent glass because glass - workers discovered potash, combined with chalk, created a clear, colourless, material that was more stable than the glass from Italy. They created goblets,cups,and church windows (later enriched by paintings), among others for the Roman Emperor and the Czech King, Charles IV.
Bohemian crystal became a worldwide symbol of quality and creativity, also earning and international reputation for glass manufacture in high Baroque style from 1685 to 1750. Gradually the term, Bohemian Crystalwas used to distinguish its qualities from glass deriving from other areas.
Caspar Lehmann, a gem cutter in the 17th century to Emperor Rudolph II, adapted a technique of gem engraving with copper and bronze wheels so revered that Czech lands became the dominant producer of decorative glass-wear. Emperor Rudolph II used the magnificent products of Bohemian glass-makers to fill his aristocratic kitchens and churches in and around the Bohemian region. Gaining popularity throughout the world, Bohemia glass surpassed previously valued Venetian and English glass due to the production technique of producing crystal with unique colour variations and cuttings.
In 1861 a Bohemian glass-maker created the first black glass in the world.
Glass painting and reverse glass paintings were other areas in which the Czechs excelled using single colour or two colours of opaque glass. Pairs of vases where embellished with flower motifs or with coloured lithographic prints featuring well known paintings.
A national technical glass-making school system was created which encouraged traditional, and innovative techniques as well as thorough technical preparation. The schools became the skilled teachers of glass-making in neighbouring and distant countries.
Czech glassware became as prestigious as jewellery and was sought after by the wealthy and aristocrats of the time. Czech crystal chandeliers could be found in the palaces of the French King, Louis XV, Empress of Austria Maria Theresa and Elizabeth of Russia.Magnificent, ornate, chandeliers from Kamenický Šenov hung in the operatic interiors of Rome,Milan, Brussels and luxury hotels in the United States.
Today, large Czech crystal chandeliers still hang. For example in Milan's La Scala, Rome's Teatro dell' Opera, in Versailles Hermitage museum, St Petersburg and the Royal Palace in Riyadh.