« Engraved gems – Cameos, intaglios and rings from the Guy Ladrière Collection » exhibition at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts, Paris

12 May 2022

XVIe siècle, Hercule, Camée en sardonyx, cadre en bronze doré, Collection Guy Ladrière, Photo Benjamin Chelly. Van Cleef & Arpels.

From May 12th to October 1st, 2022, L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts presents the art of engraved gems from antiquity to the 19th century. It brings together Greek and neoclassical intaglios, antique and mediaeval cameos, small sculptures from the imperial period, Merovingian signet rings, and episcopal rings to explore every facet of the long history of glyptic art.


Stones engraved in relief or in recess, are both public and intimate, objects for adornment and collection. Through the ages, men and women have passionately studied and collected these stones of memory.


Guy Ladrière, major dealer specialising in first peoples’ and mediaeval art is also a passionate collector. For decades, he has patiently gathered cameos, intaglios, and rings according to his very personal taste. The collection’s wide diversity reflects his great curiosity. For the first time, two hundred pieces of his private collection are on display, providing a panorama of techniques and styles.


The exhibition is organized around themes, mainly chronological and sometimes iconographic (Greek and Roman Egypt, imperial portraits, gems in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, etc.). It is framed by two special sections: the first is a focus on stones and technique, where a variety of rough and engraved stones is presented; the second is an exploration of the history of the popularity of these stones and their study through illustrated books from the 17th and 18th centuries. It is curated by Philippe Malgouyres, an art historian and chief curator of the Department of Art Objects of the Musée du Louvre since 1997.


At the crossroads of art history, gemology, and technical history, this exhibition provides all audiences with the opportunity to discover these three disciplines related to the art of the jewel.