Van Cleef & Arpels: Time, Nature and Love

Alba Cappellieri curates international exhibition of precious objects currently running at Palazzo Reale


The exhibition “Van Cleef & Arpels: Time, Nature and Love”, curated by Alba Cappellieri, full professor of Jewellery and Accessories Design at the Politecnico di Milano, and Head of the Museum of Jewellery in Vicenza, is currently running at the Palazzo Reale in Milan.

Archive documents, line drawings and gouache sketches, bearing witness to the origins of artistic creation, accompany the precious objects from the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection and on loan from private collections.

American designer Johanna Grawunder’s set design complements the rooms of the princes’ apartments and the halls of tapestries, which house the three sections of the exhibition, Time, Nature and Love.

In perennial equilibrium between the eternal and the ephemeral, between tradition and fashion, the art of jewellery has a complex relationship with time. The exhibition route illustrates Van Cleef & Arpels’ ability to interpret a fragmented era, such as the 20th century, and to represent both the everlasting values associated with beauty and the fleeting power of seduction.

Drawing inspiration from Italo Calvino’s work,  Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Alba Cappellieri has selected the key concepts that enable us to decipher the creations of Van Cleef & Arpels and their relationship with time.  The first section, Time, covers as many as ten rooms, dedicated to different themes. The first room is dedicated to Paris, with the following rooms devoted to Exoticism and Calvino’s five values: Lightness, Quickness, Visibility, Exactitude and
Multiplicity. The final rooms of this section highlight intersections with other disciplines such as dance, fashion and architecture.

At the heart of the exhibition, the section on Love shows creations - testimonies and pledges of love - that have expressed the power of emotions and accompanied some of the now legendary great passions of the 20th century.

The last three rooms of the exhibition are dedicated to Nature, encompassing plants, flowers and animals. It reveals an enchanted world in which the craftsmanship par excellence of Van Cleef & Arpels and its pursuit of harmony blend into pure art.

The exhibition is promoted by the City of Milan’s Department of Culture and Palazzo Reale and staged by Van Cleef & Arpels in partnership with Fondazione Cologni. The catalogue is curated by Skira.

Palazzo Reale
Piazza del Duomo, 12 – Milan

Opening Hours
Mon: 14:30 - 19:30
Tues, Wed, Fri and Sun: 09:30 - 19:30
Thurs and Sat: 09:30 - 22:30
Last entry one hour before closing

Until 23 February 2020
Free admission