San Francisco: Bulgari and “La Dolce Vita”


San Francisco: Bulgari and “La Dolce Vita”

Once again we have occasion to cite the perennial “La Dolce Vita,” the previous instance being with regard to Paolo Sorrentino’s film “The Great Beauty.” This time it’s The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990 on exhibit at San Francisco’s De Young Museum. Founded in in Rome in 1884, Bulgari is of course legendary for fantastic and opulent jewelry design, incorporating a spectrum of diamonds and gems, semi-precious stones and ancient coins in splendid gold and platinum pieces of jewelry. The exhibition focuses on the 1950s to 1980s, when Bulgari created a unique style drawing from Greek and Roman art, the Italian Renaissance, and the 19th-century. The era made Bulgari synonymous with the equally colorful celebrities and jet set associated with “La Dolce Vita” and Rome’s fabled Via Condotti, home of the Bulgari flagship store.

The De Young exhibit features 150 showstopping pieces in decade-by-decade progression, examining the development of Bulgari’s successive styles and innovations. Notable among these are pieces from the Elizabeth Taylor Collection, which are accompanied by gorgeous archival imagery of the star and her stellar jewels. This is the kind of exhibit the De Young excels in, the displays themselves masterpieces of dramatically focused lighting and state-of-the-art media that make walking through the show a captivating eyeful. Afterwards, if you aren’t already oversaturated, you can take in the De Young’s David Hockney exhibition, and explore the Museum at large, itself a contemporary jewel set in the lush haven of Golden Gate Park. Make it all even more fun by dressing like an Italian movie star. Just make sure you have a down jacket handy for when that fog rolls in.


The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond – through February 17

David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition – through January 20, 2014


By Jorge Socarras