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Olfactory Galleries

2015

Sense of smell, today: we must train this little understood sense, keep it alive. It is what most intimately and profoundly connects us to reality and imagination. And why not do it through history and art? By reconstructing the smells evoked in paintings and sculptures, suggested in films and in the music that fills the air, or expressed in the words of writers and poets.


The Olfactory Gallery in Rome, Laura Tonatto Profumi Italiani – Piazza di Pietra 41, is now showcasing the following olfactory interepretations.


THE PERFUMES OF CINEMA

Cinema is not just about light and sound reaching the hearts and minds of the spectators. Right from the screenplay, from the written page, it is, rather, a voyage full of evocations that sometimes manage to engage also the most neglected sense. A smell, a perfume: the evocation of a memory renders the image indelible and every film, the smallest shot, the slightest sigh, whether in black and white or in colour, becomes a Proustian "madeleine" locked away in the secret drawer of memories.

- Belle de jour

(1967, directed by Luis Bunuel. Produced by Baum-Hakim)

- Chocolat

(2000, directed by Lasse Hallström. Produced by Miramax)

- Cleopatra

(1963, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Produced by 20th Century Fox)

- The Leopard

(1963, directed by Luchino Visconti. Produced by 20th Century Fox)

- The sweet life

(1960, directed by Federico Fellini. Produced by Amato-Rizzoli)

 

THE PERFUMES OF LITERATURE

In literature, as in life, our sense of smell can dictate our likes and dislikes. It can condense into a single sensation, a whole ambient situation. It can be the vehicle for sensations and memories. Writers are well aware of this and have always placed importance on the sense of smell to enhance the meaning of their words. Writers ranging from Proust to Flaubert, D’Annunzio, Suskind and Wilde, all have described though olfactory symbolism and descriptions taking the reader’s imagination beyond the physical world.

  • Swann’s Way” by Marcel Proust
  • The Child of Pleasure” by Gabriele D’Annunzio
  • Perfume: the story of a murderer” by Patrick Suskind
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde
  • -“Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert

 

THE PERFUMES OF MUSIC

Opera brings together two art forms, theatre and music. There is, however, often a third protagonist on stage - perfume: Violetta's flowers, Mimì's lilies and rosesthat"have no smell", the garden aromas in the finale of The Marriage of Figaro. This is an illustration of how various musical masterpieces came to be and the meaning that lies behind them. Listen to the music and smell the perfumes that the characters would have smelled at that moment.

- Si, mi chiamano Mimì

from "La Bohème" by G. Puccini (1858-1924)

- Deh vieni non tardar

from " Le Nozze di Figaro " by W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

- Der Holle Rache 

from " Il Flauto Magico " by W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

- Libiamo Ne’Lieti Calici 

from "La Traviata" by G. Verdi (1813-1901)

- Soave sia il vento

from "Così Fan Tutte" by W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

 

THE PERFUMES OF PAINTING

Odour is an expression of the soul, perfume is pure communication. It never comes from the nose but from an inner intention towards the world. Art aligns beauty and the senses, consciousness with mystery…

  • The birth of Venus ” by Sandro Botticelli
  • The lute player ” by Caravaggio

 

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