Being blocked at home for 2 months without knowing how soon we’ll be able to travel again, makes us think of future destinations for our holidays and weekends. I personally enjoy scrolling photos of places I’d like to visit as soon as borders reopen and travelling will be safe. Then I moved to paintings, and really enjoyed studing how artists of different epoques approached a genre of landscape from depicting nature in scrupulously realistic manner to concentrating just on a glimpse it gives.
Most of the landscapes we see, are painted or photographed and normally expected to be displayed on a wall or any other kind of solid, not moving, surface like furtinure for example. It’s not a genre we associate with jewelry, though there are examples of landscape scenes in jewelry pieces.
The first wave of popularity for landscape jewelry came in Victorian era for a very trivial reason – tourism. Italy was the last place of the – so called – Gran-tour trip and young foreigners wanted to bring home souvenirs, which would remind them of the landmarks they visited. Those were mostly ruins of ancient periods. Local jewelers hurried up to offer memorable pieces in a typically Italian technique – micromosaic.
The next time jewellers turned to a landscape genre was the Belle Epoque. Nature-inspired motifs became dominant in arts ans crafts, from the smallest furniture details to exterior architectural design elements and, of course, jewelry of any kind. Mostly pieces from that period represent flowers and plants, but some are real landscape compositions – Lalique’s pieces, for example.
Though nature remained one of the main inspiration sources for jewellers almost throughout the whole XX century, landscape representation had never spreaded. However, rare single pieces turned up, for example, the Monte Fuji pin by Bvlgari (1971) above. In which I see a clear connection with pieces by Lalique (material-wise: gold, pearl, enamel) and art-nouveau style in general theme-wise – as everything Japanese was fashionable and inspiring, owing to the end of 200 years long Japanese isolationist foreign policy in 1853.
In XXI century nature remains an evergreen trend, but landscape is still chosen rarely as a theme. Above you can see two rings from the collection “Enchanted forest” by the Italian brand Palmiero. In the center of the composition there is a landscape miniature painted by nature itself – a slice of a dendritic agate, surrounded by hand-crafted forest landscape, pretty simply designed.
Some jewellers, exactly like painters, don’t look for depicting nature the way our eyes see it, but give preference to stylization appealing to visual experience and emotions. Christine MacKellar, a jeweller from Brooklyn, designed this “Winter forest” pin in this manner.
My favourite example of landscape in contemporary jewelry is a worldwide famous russian artist Ilgiz Fazulzyanov (Ilgiz F), who creates one-of-a-kind art-nouveau inspired pieces. These are 3 of 5 rings from the “Great mountains” collection: Fuji, Kilimanjaro and Ararat.
So…all of that was to say: hope soon we’ll be able to travel again!
Photo credits: Pinterest, christies.com, Instagram @ilgiz_f