Nov 27, 2016
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Bulgari jewelry's Roman inspiration the focus of Madrid exhibition

Nov 27, 2016

An exhibition opening at Madrid's Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza examines the influence of Rome's art and architecture on the jewelry designs of Italian house Bulgari.

Choker in gold with rubies, sapphires, lapis lazuli and diamonds, 1979©Bulgari Heritage Collection, Rome - Bulgari

"Bulgari and Rome" will bring together 140 pieces of jewelry to show how monuments such as the Colosseum, the Piazza San Pietro, the Spanish Steps, the fountains in the Piazza Navona and the Pantheon have provided inspiration for Bulgari's creations.

The form of the Colosseum, in particular, has been a signature motif for Bulgari going back to 1934 with a diamond and ruby bracelet with a geometric Art Deco style.

Also in the 1930s, a series of brooches featuring oval stones took inspiration from the Piazza San Pietro and the elliptical form used in Italian Baroque architecture.

The hieroglyphs of obelisks brought from Egypt by Roman emperors have inspired necklaces since the 1970s, while the different shapes and sizes of stones used to build roads such as the Appian Way.

The Spanish Steps have been evoked multiple times, most recently in 2016 with a gold necklace set with emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds intended to evoke the azaleas that decorate the steps in the spring.

The octagonal form also features in many monuments around the city and was used by Bulgari in large pendants in the 1970s, including a platinum, sapphire and diamond necklace given by Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor on her 40th birthday in 1972 and included in the Madrid show.

Model wearing a sautoir in gold with emeralds, rubies and diamonds by Bulgari. - ©Gianni Penatis - Condenast America

The jewelry will be joined by 30 paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs depicting the city of Rome by European artists including Canaletto, Gaspar van Wittel, Ippolito Caffi and Arthur John Strutt.

"Bulgari and Rome" runs from November 30, 2016 through February 26, 2017.

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