Friday, January 4, 2013
Guest Blogger: Her Royal Highness The Princess Maria Gabriella di Savoia
Her Royal Highness The Princess Maria Gabriella Giuseppa Aldegonda Adelaide Margherita Ludovica Felicita Gennara di Savoia is the second daughter of Umberto II, the last King of Italy, and Queen Marie José, previously the Princess of Belgium. A student of the arts, Princess Maria Gabriella graduated from the Louvre Art School in Paris, France studying Art History and Antique French furniture with famous Professors Germain Bazin and Pierre Verlet. Her Royal Highness also completed summer courses at “Sommer Akademie” in Salzburg, Austria with the renowned Oscar Kokoschka.
Your Royal Highness, how did it all begin? Tell us about the concept for your artworks.
I had all these jewelry catalogues at home, and it broke my heart to think I would be throwing them away with all these beautiful pictures of amazing jewelry. I have always loved beautiful jewels. So I decided to start the collages. A friend of mine sold her jewelry collection and I created a special order for her with all the pictures as a souvenir, and then it just continued. I just love making them and giving jewels a second life!
I acquired a passion for history and in particular the history of the Savoia family from my father, King Umberto II. He gathered a collection of over 15,000 engravings, sketches, and 60,000 books. In an effort to continue his legacy, I decided to establish a foundation dedicated to the preservation of family’s history and collection. In 1986, Fondazione Umberto II e Maria José Savoia was born!
The Foundation’s mission is to promote historical research on this illustrious house which ruled long before the unification of Italy. I’ve added many photographs, gowns, cloaks and uniforms to the collection of thousands of engravings and books.
How did your passion and knowledge of jewelry begin?
When my father left Italy in 1946, he left jewelry in custody care of the Bank of Italy. The collection is still kept in a vault and never shown. Such a shame - jewelry should be worn and enjoyed! Since no one is allowed to see them, I was repeatedly asked to give conferences and show family pictures. I began giving lectures, and eventually decided to publish a book. Last year, with the collaboration of the Italian Cultural Institute, I lectured in Chicago, and hope to visit New York in the near future!