The Jewellery Museum of Vicenza, unique in its genre, officially opened, last March 23rd, the temporary exhibition “Dames and Knights. Jewels of Honor”. An extraordinary opportunity to admire, until the 17th of September 2017, a celebration of the ancient tradition linked to the jewels of honors – a tradition that is still alive today, in many forms and representations.
The exhibition develops in two main sections, and it aims at being an overview of prizes that were, and are, awarded for civil, military and religious virtues and merits (virtute et merito).
The bejewelled insignia presented have a strong meaning, not only because of their intrinsic value and symbolism, but also, and even more, because of their link to the historical context.
In the words of Alba Cappellieri, Director of the Museum:
“The pluralism as interpretation of contemporaneity is the principle which the ‘Dames and Knights’ subtends, curated by Alessandra Passamai who focuses on the decorations related to a honor, to a knightly order that are interesting not only for their aesthetic and semiotic point of view, but also because of their very strong bond with the context.”
Bestowed on during individual and collective ceremonies, these medals, crosses and stars became means of contact and were a tangible symbol of gratitude from and to the Country – a declaration of the daily commitment and the duties that being a knight involves, a sign of honor that made merits and values, visible.
The exhibition develops into two section: one devoted to male honors, and another to female honors.
The male honors section comprises 40 knighthood insignia, coming from the most important and rare collections in the world, and of 10 additional pieces coming from the collection of Giovanni Giolitti, a very important Italian statesman who received these honors from the the Italian King and from others European and international States as Head of State himself.
Here is a selection of these masterpieces.
The Ladies honors section comprises 10 pieces, among which the most interesting is the Order Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani O.S.M.T.H.:
The exhibition ‘Dame and Knights. Jewels of Honor’ is an evocative path that takes the visitors through a journey exploring insignia and their intrinsic values and meanings through time.
A real piece of history recalling those moments when virtues and merits in the most diverse fields used to be officially recognized – an institution that started in the XIth century, remaining exclusive to Knights, and being enlarged to Dames only as of 1662.
‘Dames and Knights. Jewels of Honor’, curated by Alessandra Passamai, is a very interesting exhibition about something so official as a jewel of honor, and it conveys its past importance by projecting it into present times, thanks to its communication power, and for its intrinsic value – a jewel that decorates, a jewel that celebrates. CC
Exhibition: Dames and Knights. Jewels of Honors / May 24th – September 17th 2017 / Jewellery Museum of Vicenza / Piazza dei Signori, 36100 Vicenza – Italia / firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel. +39.0444.320799