Art Adorned: Dolce&Gabbana Alta Gioielleria and the Old Masters

Art Adorned, a private selling exhibition at Christie’s, explores the art-historical influences behind Dolce&Gabbana’s Alta Moda, Alta Gioielleria and Alta Sartoria collections — on display at Christie’s in London, until 3 December

Established by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in 1985, Italian fashion brand Dolce&Gabbana is celebrated for its theatrical designs that incorporate luxurious fabrics, opulent embellishments and hand finishes.

‘Dolce&Gabbana have always drawn on culture, costume and art history for their designs,’ comments Flavia Lefebvre D’Ovidio, Old Masters Paintings specialist at Christie’s in London. ‘They pay homage to the past, whilst transmitting a sense of glamour, richness and opulence.’

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda lurex hand-painted corset dress; hand-painted triple organza corset gown with train on an illusion tulle underskirt; one of a set of two Louis XV Gobelins Tapestries, circa 1757, by Michel Audran after a design by Charles-Antoin Coypel Alentour, after a design by Vallade. Price on request

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda lurex hand-painted corset dress; hand-painted triple organza corset gown with train on an illusion tulle underskirt; one of a set of two Louis XV Gobelins Tapestries, circa 1757, by Michel Audran after a design by Charles-Antoin Coypel Alentour, after a design by Vallade. Price on request

Art Adorned  (22 November to 3 December) is a new exhibition at Christie’s in London that explores the enduring influence of the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo movements on Dolce&Gabbana’s Alta Moda, Alta Gioielleria and Alta Sartoria collections, their homage to luxury and Italian craftsmanship.

Important Old Master paintings and decorative arts from the 14th to 19th centuries are shown alongside Dolce&Gabbana couture garments and jewels. Many of the items on display are available for purchase privately.

The Baroque room in the Art Adorned  exhibition at Christie’s in London

The Baroque room in the Art Adorned  exhibition at Christie’s in London

Individual rooms in the exhibition are dedicated to a major movement or genre that appear to have influenced Dolce&Gabbana. The exhibition also pays homage to the influence on fashion of devotional pictures on gold ground, portraiture, and florals.

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654) and Associate, The Triumph of Galatea. Oil on canvas. 77½ x 100⅛ in (196.8 x 254.5 cm). Price on request
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654) and Associate, The Triumph of Galatea. Oil on canvas. 77½ x 100⅛ in (196.8 x 254.5 cm). Price on request

Among the treasures in the exhibition are The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, a devotional painting on gold ground by Florentine artist Bicci di Lorenzo (1373-1452); and the Triumph of Galatea, above, a recently re-discovered work by Italian baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654). The daughter of the more celebrated Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia is finally receiving the recognition she deserves.

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda organza corset dress, entirely cross-stitched with the painting of Madonna del Belvedere by Raphael and flowers

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda organza corset dress, entirely cross-stitched with the painting of Madonna del Belvedere by Raphael and flowers

Madonna and Child with Two Angels  by Florentine artist Francesco Botticini (1446-1497) will be exhibited alongside an exquisite couture Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda dress, above, cross-stitched with a rendition of Raphael’s Madonna of the Meadow, (circa 1505-1506), now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

A Northern European ormolu eight-branch chandelier, circa 1850. 132 cm high; 104 cm diameter; 110 kg. Price on request

A Northern European ormolu eight-branch chandelier, circa 1850. 132 cm high; 104 cm diameter; 110 kg. Price on request

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda organza corset dress, entirely cross-stitched with the painting of Madonna and Child by Domenico Ghirlandaio, finished with velvet piping and embellished with ostrich feathers

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda organza corset dress, entirely cross-stitched with the painting of Madonna and Child by Domenico Ghirlandaio, finished with velvet piping and embellished with ostrich feathers

Elsewhere, intriguing parallels exist between a large North European ormolu and crystal-glass chandelier from around 1850, an exquisite pair of Dolce&Gabbana Alta Gioielleria chandelier earrings in yellow and white gold and diamonds, and an Alta Moda organza corset dress with velvet piping embellished with ostrich feathers. This intricate creation is cross-stitched with a reproduction of Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Madonna and Child, held in the National Gallery in London.

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Gioielleria hand-painted miniature necklace; necklace in white and yellow gold with hand-painted miniature, multi-coloured gemstones and diamonds; Dolce&Gabbana Alta Gioielleria hand-painted minature earrings; earrings in white and yellow gold with hand-painted miniatures, chrome tourmalines, pink sapphires and diamonds

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Gioielleria hand-painted miniature necklace; necklace in white and yellow gold with hand-painted miniature, multi-coloured gemstones and diamonds; Dolce&Gabbana Alta Gioielleria hand-painted minature earrings; earrings in white and yellow gold with hand-painted miniatures, chrome tourmalines, pink sapphires and diamonds

Further highlights include a magnificent 17th-century Italian rosewood, tulipwood and ivory console table, attributed to Lucio de Lucci; a pair of drawings of a noble woman, possibly Madame de Pompadour, by François Boucher (1703-1770); and an exquisite Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda hand-painted floral corset dress, below, in tulle and organza.

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda hand-painted corset dress, illusion tulle and hand-painted organza corset dress with train; Paolo Porpora (Naples 1617-16701680), Flowers in an ornate stone urn beside a stream. Oil on canvas. 82⅞ x 55⅜ in (210.7 x 140.6 cm). Price on request

Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda hand-painted corset dress, illusion tulle and hand-painted organza corset dress with train; Paolo Porpora (Naples 1617-1670/1680), Flowers in an ornate stone urn beside a stream. Oil on canvas. 82⅞ x 55⅜ in (210.7 x 140.6 cm). Price on request

In our video, Christie’s Old Master specialist Flavia Lefebvre D’Ovidio and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup tour the exhibition and further explain the relationship between some of the major pairings on display.

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Art Adorned runs from 22 November to 3 December at Christie’s in London, with items on display available for purchase privately.