Goblet with Anne of Brittany’s Coat of Arms
In the 15th century, helped by a secular tradition of commercial exchanges with the Mediterranean Orient, Venetian glassblowers developed a new glass composition based on a selection of very pure materials capable of producing a glass with a transparency that had never before been achieved (hence its name cristallo, referring to quartz). Murano glassblowers, by working the glass for a long time while still hot and with the help of molds, obtained particularly complex forms and a beautiful variety of colours, which placed their glass on a refined and sought-after level of production.
The goblet kept at the Renaissance Museum is a perfect example of this prestigious glass that was not actually used, but displayed on a dresser. Its silhouette in the shape of a tazza is enriched by a molded knot and by fluted cup that resemble French goldsmithery.
Like all ostentatious tableware, these Venetian glasses bear the coats of arms of their owners: here the enamelled shield between Brittany and France topped off with a crown appointing Anne of Brittany, two-time Queen of France because she had married Charles VIII and Louis XII in succession, which places it prior to 1514, the year the Queen died.
The goblet of Anne of Brittany was without a doubt an exceptional order, which was honoured by the Venetian glassblowers for an exceptional event: a royal birth, a Joyous Entry, a New Year’s gift? Other pieces that have been conserved prove that it was a true service, possibly the one that was “gilded along the edges” described in the royal inventories. This is the case of our goblet that adds the bright polychrome of its coats of arms enhanced with gold, also presented between two ruby ribbons, touches of gold highlight the edges and the moulding of the foot and the fluting of the cup.