»Fortune is as fragile as glass.«

Strasser Glass Collection

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One of the world’s most important collections of glass from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

The Strasser Glass Collection was assembled by Rudolf Strasser (1919 – 2014) over a collection period of more than 50 years. It features precious glass objects from all of Europe’s major glass production areas, such as Venice, Hall in Tyrol, Innsbruck, Germany, Bohemia, Silesia, and the Netherlands.

The Strasser Glass Collection

The internationally renowned ‘Collection Rudolf Strasser’ came into the possession of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien in 2004; it was assembled over a collection period of more than 50 years and features over 300 precious glasses from the Renaissance to Classicism, manufactured in Europe’s major glass production areas. While 70 objects were assigned to the Kunstkammer Wien in 2013, the larger part of the collection found its final home at Ambras Castle in the same year.    

Strasser began collecting glass objects in New York in the late 1950s, when he was working closely together with the Corning Museum of Glass in New York State. He was particularly interested in the historical message of the glass. With his passion for glass art and collecting, the lord of Ambras Castle, Archduke Ferdinand II, shaped Strasser’s understanding of art. 

Ferdinand II had merchants and diplomats supply him with Venetian glass, which artfully imitated the shine and clarity of rock crystal; it was, therefore, also called cristallo, turning it into a coveted valuable at the time. Among the earliest Venetian glass decors was diamond-point engraving. 

The creation of coloured glass by adding metal oxide was also perfected in the Venetian glass works of the fifteenth century and subsequently adopted further north. In terms of colourfulness, cold painting and especially the development of enamel painting added further means of expression. These techniques flourished even more north of the Alps. Secular-political or religious themes in narrative style as well as heraldic motifs or ornaments based on the art of pottery decorate the numerous glasses from the sixteenth and, even more so, the seventeenth century. These opaque decors became increasingly dense at the time, and often cover the entire vessel. 

With his passion for glass art and collecting, the lord of Ambras Castle, Archduke Ferdinand II, shaped Strasser’s understanding of art. 

Among the exceptional objects in the Strasser Glass Collection are the gold ruby glasses.

The magnificent dark-red colour of the gold ruby glass was enhanced in the most precious way by adding gold and silver mountings as well as gold and cut decors. Gold is also a component of the glass itself, whose shine is similar to rubies. This fiery gemstone has always enjoyed the reputation of having restorative powers.  

In addition, red was associated with power and privileges. Alchemists conducted experiments with gold ruby glass, hoping to create a philosopher’s stone, the substance allegedly capable of turning base metals into gold or silver.  

The Ambras collection shows elaborately decorated glasses with diamond relief etching, diamond-point engravings, copper wheel engraving, high and low relief, Schwarzlot painting, Zwischengold glass, and ruby gold glass. They tell the history and technique of glass art from the early sixteenth to the late eighteenth century.

International Year of Glass 2022

On the occasion of the UN ‘International Year of Glass 2022’, Ambras Castle directs the limelight on its abundant wealth of glass treasures. The founder of the Ambras collections, Archduke Ferdinand II, was particularly fond of glass. In 1571 he established special glass workshops at the Innsbruck court and summoned glassblowers from Murano to produce glass according to his exquisite taste and Venetian standards.

Many of these objects are still on display at the Chamber of Art and Wonders at Ambras Castle. Moreover, the Upper Castle of Ambras Castle has been exhibiting the internationally renowned Strasser Glass Collection since 2013; it provides a representative overview of the history of glass art and offers insight into the extraordinary personality of the collector Rudolf Strasser. 

Dresden, Anfang 18. Jahrhundert
Rotbraunes, marmoriertes, opakes Glas, Montierung Bronze vergoldet
Schloss Ambras Innsbruck, Inv.-Nr. KK 10303

Glas des Monats

Flakon aus rotbraunem Steinglas

Unser neues »Glas des Monats« – der rotbraun marmorierte, opake Flakon – wirkt als Kontrast zur großen, glitzernden Skulptur »RockFormationCrystal43C« von Arik Levy besonders schön.

Glas als Imitat von Edelsteinen oder Nachahmung von Marmor war eine Kunst, die seit dem Ende des 17. Jahrhunderts hoch geschätzt wurde. Um den Steineffekt zu erzielen wurde entweder Milchglas mit farbigen Einlagen versehen oder Eisenschlacke mit Basalt, Lava, Kohlenpulver, Knochenasche oder Zinnoxid verschmolzen.
Zu finden ist der Flakon aktuell im Ambraser Antiquarium. Wir freuen uns auf Ihren Besuch!

RockFormationCrystal43C
Arik Levy, 2017
Kristall (Swarovski), UV-Verklebung, H. 30cm
Schloss Ambras Innsbruck, o. Nr. 

RockFormationCrystal43C

Born in Israel and living in Paris, Arik Levy’s (b. 1963) works of art are found in renowned galleries and museums around the world. The general public knows Levy primarily for his sculptures – such as the works in his series ‘Rock’ – as well as his installations and design.     

2022, anlässlich des »International Year of Glass«, schenkte Arik Levy die Skulptur, die zuvor in der Ausstellung »Transparente Opazität« in den Swarovski-Kristallwelten zu sehen war, Schloss Ambras Innsbruck. Entdecken Sie im Ambraser Antiquarium die »RockFormationCrystal43C«: Hier treten die funkelnden kristallinen Formen der Skulptur in einen belebenden Dialog mit den opaken Marmorskulpturen der Renaissance.
We are looking forward to your visit!

Strasser Glass Collection

Ambras Castle
Schlossstraße 20
6020 Innsbruck

Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed in november

Information for your visit

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