The rings by Bruno Martinazzi (1923–2018) in the Collection and a stylised ‘Warrior’ brooch which was acquired from his solo exhibition at Goldsmiths’ Hall in 1965 are rare examples of his earliest work. His experience fighting for the partisans in Italy in the Second World War had made him a pacifist. Following the Vietnam war, student peace demonstrations in Europe, and his doctorate in psychology which he completed in 1970, Martinazzi’s work went through a sea change. He now became a political commentator alongside his work as an art therapist and child psychiatrist. Always a sculptor, he began to use elements of the human body in his designs and jewellery—fingers, buttocks, lips—to comment on the fragmentation of human experience and the challenges thrown up by a world in crisis.
‘Eye’ brooch, c1971
White and yellow metal (unmarked)
Inscription: Engraved with a signature on the side of the brooch, ‘MARTINAZZI 1/6’
Above all, the eye as a symbol became a recurrent theme in his work in a series of brooches, of which the example in the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection from 1971 is one of the earliest. The brooch presents the all-seeing eye of the ancient Egyptian god, Horus; it is inscribed MARTINAZZI and appears to be one of six and can be compared with the examples from 1979-2003 in or promised to the Helen W.Drutt Collection in the Houston Museum of Art which take the theme into abstraction, and with the brooch from 1991-2 which Martinazzi made when he was invited by Professor David Watkins to give a masterclass at the Royal College of Art. https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O145410/brooch-martinazzi-bruno/ All the eye jewels have a sense of monumentality despite their small size, a quality which can be seen in the abstract aesthetic of his early jewels in the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection.
‘Warrior’ brooch, c1965
Yellow metal (unmarked)
Inscription: Engraved with a signature on the side of the brooch, ‘MARTINAZZI’