Snaky Inspirations: SERPENTIform at ArtScience Museum

Published on 30 August 2017

While many of us might be scared of snakes, this exhibition shows how this slithering reptile has actually been an evocative muse in the fields of art, jewellery and design.

By MELANIE LEE

The snake is a symbol of many things: danger, seduction, rebirth and transformation. As such, it has captured the imagination from East to West and inspired many forms of human expression.

This SERPENTIform exhibition, which is curated by the Bulgari Brand and Heritage Curator Luci Boscaini as well as the Maison’s Brand Heritage Department, pays tribute to the snake motif and reveals its creative presence all the way from 2nd century AD to today’s postmodern contemporary forms.

Here’s a look at some of the works you’ll find in this exhibition:

ART

Keith Haring, “USA 19-82”, 1982 Lithograph The Keith Haring Foundation, New York © Haring Foundation

There’s a breathtaking variety of serpent-themed art: from 4th century apotropaic snake jewels from Ancient Rome and a 2nd century statue of young Hercules strangling the snakes to contemporary visual artists such as Keith Haring, Joan Miro and Helmut Newton coming up with their own bold takes on snakes.

FASHION

Costume designed by James Acheson for the film “The Last Emperor” by Bernado Berolucci, 1987 Costumi d’Arte Peruzzi, Roma

Elaborate costumes from acclaimed theatre and films all over the world make an appearance, and show how the snake on apparel becomes a powerful device to add extra charisma and depth to a character. Besides the piece from Bernado Berolucci’s “The Last Emperor” (1987), do also look out for the original costume designed by Joseph Porro and worn by Jaye Davidson in the film “Stargate” (1994).

JEWELLERY

Serpenti bracelet-watch in gold with polychrome enamel and emeralds, 1967 Bulgari Heritage Collection

The snake motif has become an intrinsic part of the Bulgari brand since the 1940s when it first launched their bracelet-watches Serpenti. This splendid collection shows the Roman jeweller’s watches over time – from the stylised early models made with the Tubogas technique to the more realistic ones with gold scales or enamelled in many colours. Some of the creations here have been specially designed for this SerpentiForm exhibition.

SERPENTIform will run at ArtScience Museum till October 15, 2017. Click here for more information.

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