Masterpieces by Caravaggio, Rubens, Titian, and Velázquez as well as suits of armor, and a gilded carriage are among the treasures featured in The Habsburgs: Rarely Seen Masterpieces from Europe’s Greatest Dynasty, a touring exhibition making its world premiere this weekend at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
The sprawling, 93-piece exhibit has become a point of inspiration for a commission by the museum from Minnesota-based jewelry designer Stephanie Lake. For the series of one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, select pieces from the exhibit depicting lavishly dressed ladies, including Velazquez’s famous portrait of the Infanta Maria Teresa, and other royal regalia have been interpreted into Lake’s designs. Lake was an ideal collaborator for the exhibit, both for her ornate, collectible jewelry design aesthetic and her distinction as the fifth person in the world to hold a Ph.D. in decorative arts, design history, and material culture.
In a press release, Lake says she combined her history as a design scholar with her work as a designer to complement and interpret what she calls a “period of courtly opulence.”
It includes an antique coral branch collar inspired by a coral saber designed for the Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol, a fringe necklace inspired by the accessory donned by the Infanta Maria Teresa in Velazquez’ famous portrait, and a sunburst medallion with pave crystal horse inspired by the gilded carousel—its sunburst as a nod to the sun “never setting” on the Habsburg Empire. The collection presents a unique opportunity: the chance to own a modern-day interpretation of historic pieces of artwork.
The Habsburgs were a wealthy European dynasty that was in power from the 1400s until 1918, when World War I dissolved the German-allied Austro-Hungarian Empire. All of the art in the exhibit hails from the Vienna-based Kunsthistorisches Museum, and was organized by the MIA in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where the show will travel following its Twin Cities run. More of Lake’s work can be seen at StephanieLakeDesign.com.
Stephanie Lake Design antique branch coral, gold-washed spikes, coral specimen, wrapped 1970s cast brass necklace, $1,565
Inspiration: Coral saber for the Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol
Stephanie Lake Design veined-and-gilded leaves with bezel-set headlight rhinestones and antique faceted jet fringe necklace, $845
Inspiration: Reiser portrait of Mary of Burgundy
Stephanie Lake Design bronze collar with spiral shell, blackened silver, and amethyst, $235
Inspiration: Ewer with Triton’s trumpet
Stephanie Lake Design stylized cast shield collar with trompe l’oeil braided infinity links and Art Decor beaded passementerie, $645
Inspiration: Armor for Archduke Sigmund
Stephanie Lake Design regal horse with pavé finish in gilded sunburst necklace, $675
Inspiration: Gilded carousel sleigh
Stephanie Lake Design mock-pearl collar with foliate-capped teardrop pendants and jeweled arc emblem, $935
Inspiration: Holbein portrait of Jane Seymour
Stephanie Lake Design 1920s gold-and-pearl passementerie bracelet with ostrich detail and rhinestone bands, $675
Inspiration: Court dress for Princess Elisabeth Kinsky
Stephanie Lake Design antique gold braid, pearl, crystal, and glass passementerie with gilded floral bands, $985
Inspiration: Dalmatic liturgical tunic
[All photos courtesy Minneapolis Institute of Arts]