Napoleone Martinuzzi

Succulent plant in red pasta vitrea potted in ribbed black glass vase

Una pianta maestosa, dai colori inverosimili, quale se ne potrebbe trovare in un altro mondo.
– Franco Deboni

Succulent plant in red pasta vitrea potted in ribbed black glass vase

Succulent plants and imaginary plant-like creatures are numbered among Napoleone Martinuzzi’s most successful creations for Venini. Although most of the works were done in pulegoso glass, the artist did not shun the use of pasta vitrea in unreal colours for the emphasis of certain forms.

Some of these imaginary plants were over two meters tall, such as those presented at the First Rome Quadriennale of National Art in 1931. This technique, which was also applied in the production of lamps, consisted in the use of a metal support structure covered by glass elements shaped as branches or flowers. An issue of that year’s Domus lists the fixed sales price to the public: 8,000 Liras, which was extremely expensive for the time, the amount paid for a good automobile.

At the IV International Decorative Arts Exhibition in Monza in 1930, Le Tre Venezie magazine gave Venini’s new production ample coverage. For the critic Ugo Nebbia, the infinite expressions of pulegoso glass and the inflorescences of multicolour pasta vitrea were "malicious or ironical flaunts of modern ornamental taste and inventiveness". Time has shown the famous critic’s worries to be groundless.


Franco Deboni, Murano ’900. Vetri e vetrai, Bocca, Milan 1996, page 268, fig. 184; Marino Barovier, Napoleone Martinuzzi. Venini 1925-1931, Skira, Milan 2013, exhibition catalogue (Venice, Le Stanze del Vetro, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 8th September 2013 - 6th January 2014), page 279.

Napoleone Martinuzzi
c. 1930
Made by
28 cm