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"Serpentiform". Art, jewelry, design. Museo di Roma. 10/03 - 10/04/2016

ROMA (AFP)Bulgari is paying homage to the snake with a glittering new reptilian-themed exhibition in Rome.

The luxury jewelry house has teamed up with the Museo di Roma-Palazzo Braschi on the "SerpentiForm" exhibition, which opened on Thursday and will run through April 10.

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Serpenti bracelet-watch in gold with polychrome enamel and emeralds, 1967. Bulgari Heritage Collection.

Featuring ancient jewels on loan from Pompeii and the Archeological Museums of Taranto and Naples alongside creations from Bulgari's own archives, the exhibition will showcase contemporary works of art, photographs, illustrations, vintage clothes, cinema costumes and design objects -- all with the aim of exploring the artistic impact of the serpent throughout history.

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Sketch of Bulgari Serpenti piece. 

Amidst the artifacts on show will be the Italian House's "Bulgari Serpenti" pieces, including stylized early models from the 1940s that were made with the Tubogas technique, resulting in a snake-like coil effect. They will appear alongside more realistic modern creations featuring gold scales or multicolored enamel. The exhibition space will include a separate section focusing on the costumes worn by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 classic "Cleopatra," drawing ties between the concepts of snake and the power of female charm. 

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Serpenti bracelet in gold with jade, rubies and diamonds. 1965. Bulgari Heritage Collection

Over centuries, the snake has come to represent seduction, rebirth and transformation, capturing the imagination and sparking myths and legends all over the world. In ancient Rome and Africa, snake-shaped jewels were worn as good luck charms, while in India and China the reptile's divine powers were traditionally associated with the concepts of creation, fertility and immortality.

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Serpenti bracelet-watch in gold with yellow and black enamel and diamonds, ca 1970. Bulgari Heritage Collection.

Bulgari first began to capture the expressive power of serpent in the 1940s, reinterpreting it for the first time in jewelry with supple bracelet-watches that over the decades became increasingly iconic. As the house's CEO explains: "SerpentiForm is a tribute to a particularly evocative motif that is deeply linked to the Greek and Roman roots of the Maison." 

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This Bvlgari Serpenti necklace, one of two new creations being unveiled for the first time at the 2016 exhibition in Rome, blends pavé diamonds with wooden scales.

The exhibition will also see the launch of Bulagri's latest publication, "Serpenti in Art." The book follows the traces of the snake in the world of modern and contemporary art, ranging from paintings and sculpture to home décor. It also includes original sketches of the brand's Serpenti collections, many published for the first time. © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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The magnetic power of the eyes is the focus of this 2016 Bvlgari Serpenti necklace in platinum, set with diamonds and rare emeralds.

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Bendetta Barzini wearing Bvlgari Serpenti jewellery. Photo: Gian Paolo Barbieri, Vogue US, 1968

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The Coeur serpent, from Mois mondial du coeur - circa 1972, by Alexander Calder.

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Gian Paolo Barbieri, For Italian Vogue, 1975

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USA 19-82, 1982. Keith Haring © Haring Foundation

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Estefania 2014 snake by Joana Vasconcelos. Photo: Unidade Infinitia Projectos

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The Serpenti in Art, just one of many pieces of snake-inspired art on show at the Museum of Rome as part of the Bvlgari exhibition.

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Serpentiform: antique jewelry from PompeiiPhoto Daniele Venturelli

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Serpentiform: lithe designer watches-bracelet BulgariPhoto Daniele Venturelli 

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Serpentiform: the magnificent Snakes Bulgari creations with gold flakes or coated with polychrome enamelsPhoto Daniele Venturelli 

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Serpentiform: the magnificent Snakes Bulgari creations with gold flakes or coated with polychrome enamelsPhoto Daniele Venturelli 

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Serpentiform: the simple and intense lines of Alexander Calder and the dreamy abstraction of Paul KleePhoto Daniele Venturelli 

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Serpentiform: the section of the exhibition devoted to the costumes worn by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 film Cleopatra. Photo Daniele Venturelli 

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Serpentiform: the irony of Keith HaringPhoto Daniele Venturelli