Despite being designed by the great architect Sansovino and decorated with paintings by Tintoretto, Titian and Veronese, the monumental Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (or National Library of St Mark’s) is often overshadowed by its better-known neighbours such as the Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale. Yet the Biblioteca is currently one of our “top tips to visit”, as it’s hosting a dazzling exhibition of masterpieces by Gianmaria Buccellati – the famed Italian goldsmith and jeweller who died in 2015 aged 86.
Born in 1929, ten years after his father Mario had opened the first Buccellati boutique in Milan, Gianmaria Buccellati went on to grow his family business into one of the most iconic and celebrated jewellery brands in the world. The present exhibition features 75 exquisite designs, with particular highlights including a Dragon brooch (1976) formed around a glittering Mexican opal, and the Pizzo Venezia (1992) inspired by an antique piece of Venetian lace.
Also on display are examples from Buccellati’s “Animalier Collection”, such as his Snail and Scorpio brooches (designed around unusual baroque pearls), and four fantastically ornate vessels such as the jewel-encrusted Cup of the Holy Grail (2013).
Beautifully presented within the Sansoviano Hall, all of the pieces on display illustrate Buccellati’s remarkable techniques and craftsmanship, and remind us of the creativity and innovation which enabled him to elevante the art of goldsmithing to levels never seen before.
Gianmaria Buccellati: Masterworks of the Goldsmith’s Art is on view at the National Library of St Mark’s until 12th November 2017.