The J. Paul Getty Museum

Ice-Glass Beaker

Object Details


Ice-Glass Beaker






Façon de Venise, Netherlands (Place Created)


late 16th or early 17th century


Free-blown colorless (slightly green) glass with gilding and applied decoration

Object Number:



21.4 cm (8 7/16 in.)

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Object Description

A pattern of fine cracks resembling shattered ice and therefore called "ice-glass" forms this beaker's roughened, frosted surface. Lion's head masks and applied glass snail-shell forms alternate around the middle, decorating the vessel and possibly also making it easier to grasp. This "ice-glass" form was made by plunging the hot glass into cold water, causing a web of tiny cracks to appear. The effect of cracked ice could also be achieved by rolling the hot glass form over bits of broken glass which then stuck to the vessel, a technique used on an ice-glass situla in the Getty Museum's collection.

This sturdy goblet, with its wide mouth, thick foot, and simplified decoration was probably used for drinking beer and toasting. From the Middle Ages until the 1800s, beer was a popular drink with many Europeans, often taken at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), p. 252, no. 225.

Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), pp. 276-77, no. 482.

Ritsema van Eck, P.C., and H.M. Zijlstra-Zweens. Glass in the Rijksmuseum, vol. 1 (Amsterdam/Zwolle, 1993), no. 104 (note).

Hess, Catherine, and Timothy Husband. European Glass in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 178-79, no. 48.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 241, no. 499.

Baumgartner, Erwin. Venise et façon de Venise: verres renaissance du Musée des arts décoratifs (Paris: Union centrale des arts décoratifs, 2003), p. 68.