Yelena Gagarina (1959- ), Director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, eldest daughter of Yuri Gagarin, the first cosmonaut
A retrospective show of the best works from three generations of the Italian jewellers of the House of Buccellati opened in the Moscow Kremlin on 26 September. The exposition entitled “Art for All Times” features some 150 works of art, carved stone cups with incrustations and virtuoso engravings, filigree lace-like collars and bracelets, rings and pendants with large rubies, emeralds, and tourmaline, the Buccellatis knew how to emphasise the beauty of precious stones. There are also elegant brooches in the form of animal figurines and even silver sculptures, half-metre sculptures of deer, wild boar, and herons; the work is most delicate, allowing visitors to see every fibre and very small plumes.
According to Yelena Gagarina, the director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, the works of the House of Buccellati are genuine “Art for All Times”. She said, “The name of the project, ‘Art for All Times’ is a considered concept of the House of Buccellati house and the creative activity of its Milanese jewellers. They demonstrate a high level of skill in handiwork and aesthetics that is easily recognised, preserving originality in technique and style. The show is proof of what treasures can be found if a creative approach is taken to the traditions and aesthetics of the old masters. Buccellati features jewellery art based on many centuries of a handiwork culture that can be traced back to the Renaissance and Greco-Rome culture”.
Mario Buccellati began as an apprentice in a jewellery workshop in Milan, but, the business was declining after World War I. In 1919, he revived the business, giving it his name. His filigree work became popular; his pieces of jewellery attracted the attention of the royal family, church hierarchs, and the European creative élite. The continuer of the dynasty, J. Buccellati, believes that the success of the jewellery atelier lies in most delicate work of the jewellers, in their perfected skill. He said, “We never ourselves set the task of creating something that is most costly. As jewellers whose work is based on time-tested traditions, we are rather guided by common-sense and feeling and want to make a genuine piece of art, we do not think of some price making our jewellery. Almost all our art pieces are unique; they are as unique as precious stones, a source of inspiration for our jewellers”.
Exhibits presented at the show arrived in Moscow from prominent museums in Florence, Milan, and Washington, and from private collections. They will be on display in Moscow until 10 January 2009. Only a unique silver bag will remain in the Kremlin as a gift to the Russian museum. This is not the first time that 20th-century jewellery was shown in the Moscow Kremlin Museums. Earlier, masterpieces from the Cartier and Carrera & Carrera jewellery ateliers were on display.
29 September 2008
Voice of Russia World Service