Fabergé at La Venaria Reale
The Jeweler of the last Tsars
This summer the Reggia glistens in the dazzling lights of the jewelry designed by the famous goldsmith Carl Fabergé and many other outstanding pieces from Russia’s imperial times.
Gold, hard stones, diamonds, Imperial Eggs: a lavish display of masterpieces from the world’s largest collection of its kind.
WHERE: Rooms of the Arts
WHEN: from July 27 to December 9, 2012. Same opening days and times as the Reggia.
Special opening of the exhibition "Fabergé at La Venaria Reale" until 20.00 on Wednesday nights only upon reservation by phone at +39 011 4992333.
The tradition of Imperial Eggs and the testimony of Vittorio Emanuele III
Every year on Easter Day, following the Orthodox tradition, the Tsar presented the Tsarina and the Empress Mother with a unique and precious gift: a Jeweled Egg. Inside was a precious surprise, a symbolic piece of jewelry that celebrated special events in the history of the Empire and the Imperial Family. Each piece, made only of the finest materials, was the work of the famous goldsmith Carl Fabergé, the “Cellini of the North”, who thus contributed to the mythical wealth of Russia’s Imperial Family. It was Fabergé himself who presented to the Court a Jeweled Egg on which he worked throughout the year to surprise the Tsar with the originality of his compositions and the craftsmanship of his creations.
The tradition began in 1885 when Alexander III gave a Hen Egg as a gift to the Empress Maria Feodorovna, and continued with Nicholas II who from 1894 to 1917 commissioned two Jeweled Eggs every year - one for this spouse Tsarina Alessandra Feodorovna, and the other for the Empress Mother.
The most spectacular Egg was crafted in 1896, the year of the solemn coronation of Nicholas II as Tsar of all the Russias. For the occasion the surprise inside the Egg was a model of the imperial carriage - made of gold, platinum, red enamel, diamond, rubies and rock crystal - surmounted by the imperial crown. The lavish festivities organised for the event, the last public display of the traditional magnificence of the Romanovs, were attended by royalty from across Europe and among them was the young Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy, who was the heir to the throne of Savoy. He left this testimony:
All the festivities were grandiose, immense beyond belief. Most interesting to me was the solemn banquet that followed the coronation, where the Emperors sat on their thrones wearing their crowns on their heads; when dishes were brought in they were escorted by officers with their swords drawn and the Sovereigns were served by the Notables of the Empire; every time the Tsar took a sip, the heralds raised their batons and the trumpets half-blared as the artillery thundered away; it was a fairytale indeed.
13 Easter Eggs by Fabergé, symbols of the excellence in craftsmanship that reached its peak at the turn of twentieth century, make up a wondrous display at the Reggia di Venaria in the Rooms of the Arts from July 27th to December 9, 2012. They are part of the world’s largest collection of its kind. The display includes nine of the mythical Imperial Eggs - made of gold, precious metals and hard stones - as well as the romantic heart-shaped surprise of the 1897 Jeweled Egg. The exhibition presents dazzling pieces of jewelry crafted by the famous goldsmith Carl Fabergé, also known as Karl Gustavovič Faberže (1846-1920), the Master Goldsmith at the Imperial Court of the Romanovs. The display also includes 350 exquisite pieces manufactured in St. Petersburg that belong to the collection of the Link of Times Foundation in Moscow. Each piece is a celebration of the craftsmanship of the Maison Fabergé: precious metals and hard stones, gold, silver, rock crystal, diamonds and pearls, are further enhanced by the enamels that were treated so as to create dazzling iridescent effects.
The exhibition presents the vast range of decorative objects and accessories that were crafted by the finest goldsmiths: from frames for the sacred icons to clocks, from desk sets to cigarette boxes, to buckles, clutch bags and jewelry.
The event also serves to illustrate the relations between the House of Savoy and the Court of the Romanovs, including the visit that was paid by the so-called Counts of the North - the son of Catherine the Great and his spouse - who in April 1782 arrived at the Reggia di Venaria during their famous Grand Tour; and the visit of the last Tsar Nicholas II to Piedmont in April 1910, when he was received at the Castle of Racconigi by the Court of Savoy and the representatives of the Italian government. The protagonists of those times and the vastness of the Great Mother Russia are also celebrated through photographs and installations.
Consorzio La Venaria Reale and The Link of Times Cultural and Historical Foundation in Moscow (established by Victor Vekselberg in 2004 after purchasing the Fabergé collection, that was previously owned by Malcom S. Forbes).
The Link of Times Foundation, with more than 3,500 extraordinary Fabergé pieces, is currently the world’s largest collection of Fabergé Eggs: it is engaged in a program to bring back to Russia art pieces and other objects that contribute to the definition of the Russian identity, that will be made accessible to the public throughout the world.
The exhibition is organised in the framework of the Italo-Russian cultural celebrations of 2011 under the patronage of the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers and it is coordinated by the Italian Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Cultural Activities. It is organised with the support of MondoMostre.