In the seventeenth century, the city of Rome became the consummate statement of Catholic majesty and triumph expressed in all the arts. Baroque architects, artists, and urban planners so magnified and invigorated the classical and ecclesiastical traditions of the city that it became for centuries after the acknowledged capital of the European art world. Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585–90) promoted his vision of “Roma in forma sideris,” that is, Rome in the shape of a star. He engaged Domenico Fontana (1543–1607) and other planners to lay out processional avenues linking the great basilicas, such as Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano, with other strategic points; routes emanated like the rays of a star from focal piazzas marked with Egyptian obelisks brought to Rome in ancient times.
This year, Bulgari released its new high-jewelry collection under the name of Barocko. Naturally, due to Covid-19, the brand was unable to hold its typical event, and instead opted for a digital release of the new collection—via a dedicated app. Bvlgari introduced the Barocko High Jewelry collection, a bold, colorful and precious thread woven between the Maison, the city of Rome and the Baroque style. Driven by their curiosity and passion for beauty, Baroque artists and thinkers explored the world far and wide. Firmly rooted in its Roman heritage, Bvlgari has always been open towards distant cultures, integrating their fascinating designs, ancient artisanal techniques and exotic materials into its own savoir-faire. The wide world, the joy for life, the impassioned desire to explore the unknown were and are the Maison’s greatest source of inspirations.
Many of Rome's baroque icon monuments such as the the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona inspired Bulgari's Creative Director, Lucia Silvestri for the new high-jewelry collection. The fountain's sculpture, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, is typical of the expressive, overly decorative style of baroque that has shaped the Eternal City – from statues to balustrades to table legs.
Even though Baroque as a style isn’t something Bulgari has frequently explored, even though it is as intrinsically linked to Rome as the jewellery house itself. The Baroque collection totals more than 120 one-off jewels and spans three series: Meraviglia, Luce and Colore. It also pays tribute to the specific artists who shaped the baroque movement – Bernini, but also architect Francesco Borromini and painter Caravaggio. One necklace, the Chiaroscuro, is a geometric tiling of round, brilliant-cut and pavé diamonds punctuated with seven vibrant gemstones – including rubellite, green tourmaline and tanzanite – and is named after the technique employed by painters to contrast light with dark. Another piece, the Festa ring, features a 7ct mandarin garnet at its centre, designed to imitate the succulent fruit in Caravaggio’s still-lifes. And the Pink Twists necklace, a cushion-cut 58ct rubellite suspended on a chain of curling pavé-set diamonds, references the gilded frames and mirrors typical of the period.
In Bulgari's style a posh salon-style show and dinner was held in Rome in September, even if some of their usual high jewelry clients couldn’t travel to be there. The event, held in the privately owned Palazzo Colonna, was about painting the whole picture of the collection and bringing glamour back to a year in which such things have been lacking. A statement by the Creative Director , that especially in these difficult times, we need beauty and qualify of life.