Mosaic Glass Bowl

Copied Unidentified (Roman Empire), Mosaic Glass Bowl, 1st century BC-1st century AD, slumped, polished, and applied mosaic glass, 5 18 × 6 34 in. (13.0 × 17.2 cm) diam., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.8.147.5
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Artwork Details

Mosaic Glass Bowl
Unidentified (Roman Empire)
1st century BC-1st century AD
Not on view
5 18 × 6 34 in. (13.0 × 17.2 cm) diam.
Credit Line
Gift of John Gellatly
Mediums Description
slumped, polished, and applied mosaic glass
  • Object — other — dish
Object Number

Artwork Description

Mosaic glass vessels captivated late-nineteenth-century collectors, who especially sought ancient examples. Intact antique cups and bowls were rare, and even fragments were eagerly purchased. At some point prior to its donation to the Smithsonian Institution in 1929, this blue bowl was reconstructed using surviving shards and plaster to fill the gaps. Following turn-of-the-century restoration practices, these insertions were painted with rough approximations of the overall patterns. Strong lights reveal which sections are glass (dark but transparent) and which are plaster (completely opaque).

Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano, 2021.