Putti by Pino

by Louise Irvine

This month we are celebrating putti in the Fired Arts and featuring some fantastic hot glass sculptures in the WMODA collection, which were created by the Murano Maestro Pino Signoretto (1944-2017). Pino is recognized as one of the world’s greatest glass sculptors and you can now watch the late artist at work in a video filmed at the Corning Museum of Glass.

Pino Signoretto was born in a small town near Venice and started blowing glass at the age of 10. He began his career in a chandelier glassworks and learned his trade from leading Murano maestros, such as Alfredo Barbini and Ermanno Nason. He was recognized as a master glass-blower by the age of 16 and opened his own studio in Murano in 1978. Throughout his life, he collaborated with many famous artists and architects to realize their visions in glass, notably Salvador Dali.

Pino was frequently invited to travel overseas to undertake major commissions and demonstrate his exceptional skills. He visited Japan and the USA many times and, although he only spoke Italian, he communicated through the universal language of glass. He was a very popular instructor with many artists learning from his extraordinary glass blowing performances. Pino was a regular guest artist at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State where he revealed his incredible facility in sculpting hot glass. His range was vast, and he could make any kind of object in glass.

Pino first worked with Dale Chihuly in 1989 and their collaboration resulted in the Venetian Putti series that combined Chihuly’s vessel forms with Pino’s hot-glass figurative sculpture. In their marine series from 1996, mischievous putti cavort with fish, dolphins and other underwater life. Pino favored a golden yellow glass for his impish creations and often incorporated glimmering gold leaf into his sculptures. In one spontaneous yet intense collaboration at Chihuly’s hotshop, there were 14 talented team members working together to release the artistic potential of the glass.

It took great skill to assist Pino and anticipate his needs as he worked quickly and with great certainty. Each move had to be choreographed precisely so that new glass elements were brought to him at exactly the right moment and at the correct temperature. However, the experience was very rewarding as Pino shared his expertise with great generosity of spirit. Miami based glass artist, Rob Stern, is indebted to Pino for his early training as a glass sculptor. He was working with Pino on the day that the maestro began collaborating on the Venetian Putti series with Chihuly and Lino Tagiliapietra.

Pino’s demonstrations look so deceptively effortless that it is not apparent what great skill is required to manipulate molten glass which has the consistency of honey and is continually drawn to the ground by gravity. The video filmed at the Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass conveys the drama and intensity of Pino at work. There are also cameo appearances from Lino Tagliapietra and other talented glass artists at Corning.

The Corning video is now playing on YouTube and viewers are invited to donate to the CMOG during these challenging times. Museums all over the world are experiencing great hardships because of COVID-19. Help us continue to fire your imagination with articles and exhibitions on-line.
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Watch the Pino Signoretto video at Corning Museum of Glass on YouTube

Read about Lino Tagliapietra at WMODA
Murano Maestro Lino Tagliapietra

Read about Rob Stern at WMODA
A Star is Born

Read more about Murano Glass Maestros at WMODA
The Magic of Murano

 

“I was born like this I eat, I drink, I live glass.”

-Pino Signoretto

“Now my name is written on fire and it remains indelible, no matter what happens.”

-Pino Signoretto