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Snake through the prism of art

Bulgari opened in Singapore an exhibition dedicated to the diverse embodiment of the image of a snake in art, design and jewelry

The Bulgari Serpenti Form exhibition will open on August 19 at the Museum of Art and Science (Art Science Museum) in Marina Bay Sands (Singapore). The exhibition is overseen by Bulgatic Heritage Director Bulgari Lucia Boscaini and Heritage Jewelry House Department.


The image of the snake, embodying temptation, rebirth and variability, accompanied humanity throughout its history, capturing the imagination of both the East and the West. Since ancient times, the ability of the snake to renew itself, dropping its skin, rising above the ground, not coming off its surface, ringing and defeating dangerous predators fed myths and legends, inspiring many artists. Endowed with wisdom and magical abilities, snakes were the keepers of secrets, envoys of supernatural forces and even independent deities. Dangerous and menacing, they inspired fear and respect.

In the 1940s Bulgari masters first embodied this image in jewelry – flexible bracelet watches, which over the past decades became in turn a true symbol of creative courage in jewelry art.

Paying tribute to the image that strengthened the international reputation of the jewelry house, Bulgari offers visitors an exhilarating exposition covering the history of mankind from ancient times to the present day and demonstrates how the image of the snake inspired many outstanding figures of contemporary art, design, fashion and photography.
The statue of the little Hercules, suffocating snakes (II century AD)

Precious ancient relics of the East and West reveal different meanings of the image of the snake in myths and legends: a statue of a small Hercules, suffocating snakes (II century AD), and jewelry-amulets from Ancient Rome, made in the IV century BC, show all the ambiguity of this symbol, denoting both danger and protection. Also, a statue of the XII century, depicting the Buddha under the protection of snake-naga, and Chinese statues of spirits, designed to protect tombs from snakes (II-VI centuries), conceal both the threat and attractiveness inherent in snakes.
Heri Dono “The Player with Snakes”

The work of famous artists Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, Keith Haring, Niki de Saint-Fall, Joana Vasconcelos, Hery Dono, as well as photography masters such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Helmut Newton, demonstrate the interpretation of the snake’s image in contemporary art.
Nicky de Saint-Fall “Relief”

The exposition is complemented by costumes from the stores of world theaters and film studios and vintage evening dresses from the best Italian fashion designers: the snake image became an eccentric technique that helps to amaze the spectator and add to the scenic or screen hero the playfulness and charisma.
The original costume of Turandot, 1926

The exhibition ends with a collection of Bulgari Serpenti jewelry from the archives of the Jewelry House and private collections – from stylized early models in Tubogas branded technology to more realistic snakes covered with gold scales with colorful enamel. The selection includes decorations specially created this year for the Serpenti Form exposition – today, as before, the image of the snake continues its evolution, remaining an inexhaustible source of creative inspiration for Bulgari Jewelry House.

Exhibition Serpenti Form in the ArtScience Museum will be open until October 15 this year.
Photo: Michael Velliquette, Musei Reali di Torino – Museo d’Antichità, Mizuma Gallery, 017 Niki Charitable Art Foundation, Niki de Saint Phalle by SIAE 2017, Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca Foundation

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