Eyeglasses and surrondings

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Estraordinary stories of revolutionary inventions

Transcript of Eyeglasses and surrondings

  • EYEGLASSES AND SURROUNDINGS Extraordinary stories of revolutionary inventions

    The collections of the Museo dellOcchiale in Pieve di Cadore

    FABIANO Editore






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    FABIANO Editore

  • EYEGLASSES AND SURROUNDINGS Extraordinary stories of revolutionary inventions

    The collections of the Museo dellOcchiale in Pieve di Cadore


    Extraordinary stories of revolutionary inventions

    The collections of the Museo dellOcchiale in Pieve di Cadore

    text byAlessandra Albarello

    introduction byMichelangelo Pistoletto

    with editorial contribution byLaura Zandonella, curator of the Pieve di Cadore Museum

    FABIANO Editore

  • on the coverfrom the top: Pendants called Lunettes Breloques which Les Incroyables wore pinned to their waistcoat;Emilio Pucci sunglass model from the late 1970s-early 1980s with clear, colourful plastic tinted frame;arched copper eyeglasses with violet lenses, Germany, late 17th-early 18th century;detail of a Chinese glasses case fromapproximately 1880.


    Alessandra Albarello


    Baggiofotostudio, Pieve di Cadore (BL)

    Eyewear Museum Archives

    ANFAO and MIDO Archives


    Laura Zandonella and Ivana Canaider

    Copyright 2011

    Fabiano Editore

    Reg. San Giovanni 40 Canelli (AT)

    Tel. 0141 827801 Fax 0141 827830

    e-mail: editore@fabianoeditore.it


    The Authors and Publisher disclaim

    any responsibility for errors in this text.

    All rights reserved.

    Total or partial reproduction is forbidden.

    Graphics and printing:

    Fabiano Group Srl

    Reg. San Giovanni 40 Canelli (AT)


    Nadia Mirialdo

    ISBN 978-88-89629-93-2

    Printed: December 2011

    Museo dellOcchiale Pieve di Cadore


    Vittorio Tabacchi


    Laura Zandonella

    Executive Committee

    Vittorio Tabacchi, President

    Primo Barbon

    Luigino Boito

    Francesco Gili

    Renato Sopracolle

  • Preface

    by Vittorio Tabacchi


    by Michelangelo Pistoletto

    part one The Museum

    The Past. The Present. And, above all, the Future

    The history of a museum is the history of its collections. And of a woman

    part two The origins of eyewear

    From the bridge to the side arms.

    From Ugo di Provenza to Camillo Benso, count of Cavour

    Points of view and support

    Philosophy, science and religion. Beyond the visible

    Queen Margherita and the first factory in Cadore

    Intriguing messages and valuable gifts

    Travelling toward modernity

    part three Wunderkammer - The collectors room

    The art of seeing (and not seeing)

    When a glance becomes an Objet de vertu (Object of Virtue)

    An eye for an eye: symbolism and representation

    part four The 20th century and contemporary eyeglasses






    Some reflections around the Eyewear Museum

























  • 7Preface

    My relationship with the Museum began even before its creation, and was born from the

    passion I have always had for collecting, and especially from my strong sense of belonging to

    the area. This area, Cadore, has become the main stage of an exemplary story of Made in

    Italy production, since back when the first Italian eyewear manufacturer was inaugurated in

    Calalzo di Cadore in 1878. The Eyewear Museum, part of a context so sensitive to the culture

    of this object, has since become the undisputed symbol of an industry that has been able to

    transform tradition in creative energy, drawing from the past to place itself within the new

    contemporary dynamics of an international market. From that first company which, at the end

    of the 1800s was even visited by Queen Margherita of Savoy, many more companies were cre-

    ated in the area. Companies which, thanks to their know-how, have been able to successfully

    establish the Made in Italy concept with pride all over the world, even interpreting the labels

    and most prestigious international fashion and design brands. More protected compared to

    Venice, but still included in the historic fabric that made the lagoon city unique, Cadore has sin-

    ce become the perfect stage to represent one of the greatest inventions in history: eyeglasses.

    A logical consequence of a glass-making culture, whose roots in this area go back to the 13th

    century, as evidenced by the ancient Venetian Capitolari delle Arti Veneziane arts publication,

    dated 1284. Even if eyeglasses are the absolute protagonists of the museum, there are other

    objects that represent the meaning and symbolism of vision. The evolution of eyewear and

    everything related to vision has no boundaries. These have always tried to find their sources of

    inspiration in other areas, from design to art, fashion to music, thus prompting the contours

    of a varied, lively and complex cultural stage, of which they are the real stars. With more than

    four thousand pieces presented in rotating exhibits, the Eyewear Museum has, over time, from

    the fifteenth century to present day, become a point of reference and documentation, espe-

    cially important for those who are interested in the history of fashion and costume. But it has

    also become the symbol of the whole Italian eyewear industry which was born and continues

    to grow here, making its voice heard worldwide and thus favouring its international vocation.

    Vittorio Tabacchi

  • 9Introduction

    I first came to the Pieve di Cadore eyewear Museum in 2003 for the exhibition of my works

    entitled the eye is the mirror, which was prepared within the museum itself and was dedi-

    cated to the 125th anniversary of the Belluno eyewear district. I was thrilled to stroll down

    those halls full of precious objects, which sparkled and shone as they led me through the

    rich and fascinating history of eyewear. While observing my Reflective paintings exhibited

    there, I could sense the close relationship between their meaning and that which is inherent

    to every detail of the museums contents. First of all, lets say that Im a visual artist, a term

    which replaces that of painter when the artistic instruments come to include more modern

    technologies, such as photography, video or even lasers. My primary instrument is the mirror:

    a tool which infinitely expands the sphere of the imagination, but also confines it to the point

    that it focuses directly upon the eye when brought as close as possible to the mirror itself.

    In an objective and practical sense, its the phenomenology of vision that becomes a compo-

    nent of art, while maintaining the concept of representation intact. But leaving the image of

    the eye aside, with scientific logic it is possible to follow a path that penetrates into the eyeball

    all the way to the brain and to encounter a phenomenon similar to that which is described

    above. The optical photoreceptors translate light into electric fluxes that reach the brain and

    project the images into it, as is the case with a mirror: the eye, therefore, is the tool that makes

    the mind reflect. This establishes an endless reflective loop: the eye is the mirror of the objects

    and the mind reflects, or rather thinks of the objects, producing actions that reflect the will

    of the mind itself. By placing a lens between the eye and the world, we can artificially correct

    the natural defects of vision. By placing lenses upon lenses, we increasingly distance ourselves

    from the sphere of that which is visible. Telescopes transport us into the cosmos, while micros-

    copes lead us into the microcosm. We are in the eyewear museum, and we can take pathways

    that are both spatial as well as temporal. We run back and forth from ancient history to the

    present day, following the optical vehicles on display; we take in the news from yesterday as

    well as that of today; we observe the dressings that surrounded and adorned the lenses in the

    old days and compare them with the whirlwind of images reflected in modern lenses. But it is

    the frames themselves that embody these delicate transparencies, that help us to recognize

    the styles and fashions, that allow us to appreciate the creativity and imagination of such true

    talents, that make us feel the emotion and the surprise of discovering the incredible ingenuity

    expressed by so many of these objects. The science of eyeglasses is one that inspires the

    imagination to the point that, in many cases, it leads to true poetry in terms of the shapes,

    lines and colours. It is said that the eye is the mirror of the soul. I would add that eyeglasses

    themselves give soul to the eyes, bringing them to life by adding expression to the face.

    Eyeglasses are like the soul in that they can generate profound emotions, such as shame or

    enthusiasm. Eyeglasses can be something behind which to hide or can otherwise be flaunted

    in a provocative and aggressive