Umberto Bellotto

Venice 1882 — Venice 1940

A master of applied arts at the start of the 20th Century, Umberto Bellotto was one of the very first to combine the glassmaking art with wrought-iron work. His Late Art Deco style is characterized by bold shapes inspired by ornamental forms of the past.

Son of a Venetian blacksmith, after serving as an apprentice in various smitheries he inherited the family workshop in 1901. In 1910, together with the Architect Cesare Aurienti, he invented and patented a technique known as “combination of wrought-iron and glass”: metal structures containing blown and murrine glass elements, availing of the services of master glassblowers Barovier & Toso for their execution. From 1912 to 1913, he worked with Architect Giulio Alessandri on various projects between Venice and its Lido. His works were greeted with much success at both the Venice Biennale (1914, 1920, 1922, and 1924) and the Monza Biennale (1925 e 1927). He turned his hand also to decorating ceramics and lost wax casting in bronze during the 1920s. His contacts with contemporary artists and architects brought him order for private and public works, such as the Ossario del Pasubio War Memorial (1926). On the Venice Lido he created architectural elements, railings, and interior decor elements in Art Deco style, drawing inspiration from the animal and plant worlds. Umberto Bellotto’s most famous works include the Salone dei Cancelli Room in Bolognini Castle in Lodi, the majestic gate before Dante Alighieri’s tomb in Ravenna, and the wrought-iron bars over the windows at the Palazzo della Banca d'Italia in Venice. Summoned to Rome to work as an official decorator for the capital’s public buildings in 1928, Umberto Bellotto’s personal artistic production came to an end.