Bulgari’s “Paparazzi” exhibition at the DomvsAvrea space in the jeweler’s Via Condotti store in Rome pays tribute to the flashy luxe of la dolce vita and the irrepressible photographers whose work fueled the legend of the era, immortalizing the glamour and glitz of American movie stars in Rome.
Sumptuous jewels and sophisticated accessories outdo one another with their brilliance and elegance, reflecting the energy and luxury of Rome in the 50s and 60s, when the storied Cinecittà studios were the go-to set for American movie productions. Anita Ekberg’s sapphires, Anna Magnani’s diamonds and Elizabeth Taylor’s emeralds all evoke the return to joy and camaraderie in the post-war period.
Carefree moments on movie sets or at lavish parties are embodied by objects that have become icons in their own right. There is the camera used by Marcello Geppetti to immortalize the ‘scandalous kiss’ between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton aboard a yacht in Ischia – relayed by the press as evidence of a clandestine love story that began in Rome during the shooting of Cleopatra – as well as arrows shot at a photographer by Anita Ekberg after a lively evening.
The exhibition also features photos from the archives of renowned paparazzis. They include shots that photographer Marcello Mencarini found in the famous “Valiglia Romana” (“Roman Suitcase”), displayed for the first time in Italy. The are joined by images shot by Pierluigi Praturlon, the “Prince” of theatrical stage photography and red carpet shots, plus photos by Rino Barillari, who Fellini nicknamed the “King of Paparazzi”. Completing this exceptional collection are shots by Tazio Secchiaroli, whose work inspired Fellini to create the character Paparazzo, the photographer in La Dolce Vita.
Masters of the art of capturing the moment to render it timeless, these photographers spawned a new approach to journalism, nourished by the ebullient wealth of Italian culture.