Throughout history glass has enjoyed the capacity to fascinate, being equally applicable to objects of a practical, artistic or symbolic nature. Glass dating from antiquity shows a great mastery of the techniques to shape, colour and decorate. The invention of the blowpipe revolutionized this nascent industry. In the Middle Ages glass was associated with Gothic architecture to adorn the vast windows with colourful stained glass. In the Renaissance period, Venice and the island of Murano were centres of glassmaking excellence. Their reputation for producing fine, almost transparent cristallo glass was later rivalled by the Manufacture des Glaces founded by Colbert, minister to Louis XIV of France.