Mr. Knothe will be speaking about glass and glass technology, and their impact and significance as ‘cultural translators’. His focus will be centered on the technological advances and stylistic influences of European glassmaking in China during the early eighteenth century—one of the lesser-known achievements of European missionaries, and the consequent production of an art form that still remains little studied and somewhat under-appreciated.

Whereas porcelain presents a medium developed and mastered in Asia for a thousand years, which for centuries – notably from the late fifteenth to the mid eighteenth centuries—was highly admired and finally successfully imitated (first in Dresden in 1708) in the West, glass and the creative design and manufacture of both luxury and more common domestic goods from it were more advanced in Europe. A new impetus in China arrived with European ‘scientists’ send to the East as missionaries from the later 1600s. Glass produced in East Asia since then profited from—and often directly depended on—Western techniques and led local glasshouses produce an unusual hybrid style, indicative throughout of both an intellectual open-mindedness as well as of Oriental design and artisanal tradition.

Florian Knothe has been Curator of European Glass at the Corning Museum of Glass since 2009. A specialist in European decorative arts, Knothe came to the Museum from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he was a research associate in the department of European sculpture and decorative arts. He worked on exhibitions such as Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor (2007/2008) and Art of the Royal Court: Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe (2008). He has also contributed to the collection catalog French Art of the 18th Century at The Huntington (2008) and to exhibition catalogs on European Baroque art (2009) and Venetian glass (2011). He has published articles on French furniture, tapestry, drawings, and prints; on the work of goldsmiths and lapidaries; and on glass. He lectures internationally on European decorative art, cultural influences, and the use of art in propaganda. Knothe holds a Bachelor’s degree in Furniture Restoration and Craftsmanship from Buckinghamshire New University; a Master’s in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London; and a Ph.D. in the History of Art from Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz.
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