The Buen Retiro Park in Madrid is one of the favorite places for locals to stroll at any time of year; however, there are few who know the true story of the garden of the four seasons that was never built and of the famous statue that stands majestically replacing such a precious project.
Legend has it that around 1889, a young and in love Cecilio Rodríguez, head gardener of the El Retiro Park, would stroll the park grounds with his beloved, the youngest daughter of Duke Fernán Núñez, owner of an important part of the garden.
His devotion to the young woman was such that he locked himself away for months in the Crystal Palace greenhouse to elaborate a plan to conquer her heart. He wrote and sketched a botanical study for a project consisting of the construction of a garden where his love would be cyclical and eternal, like the four seasons. The vegetation of the landscape was comprised by plants adapted to all seasons, so that at any time of year the parterres would remain in flower and colors would change between the months.
The flowers, trees, and bushes that were named in this landscape study were from the five continents and the four cardinal points and ensured alternating colors, textures, and volumes throughout the year. More than a botanical garden, the project recreated a Garden of Eden come to life.
One spring morning, while the previous night’s dew was evaporating and the sunlight was encouraging the flowering buds, Duke Fernán Núñez unexpectedly entered the greenhouse where Cecilio was working diligently on his future project, drawing precise cherry blossoms. The young woman’s father was so surprised upon understanding the humble gardener’s intentions that he flew into a rage and ripped to shreds the sheets with floral and plant motifs. He deduced the relationship between the lovers and instantly put a stop to the project of the garden of four seasons. Then he fired Cecilio, forbidding him entry to the park for life and having other plans for the area intended for the flowery garden.
Interestingly, as a symbol of the revelation of Cecilio’s disobedience to his boss for having fallen in love with his daughter, the Duke commissioned the famous statue of the Fallen Angel, the only public monument to Lucifer that exists in the world. This bronze statue, created by the great Ricardo Bellver, represents the failed romance of the gardener and the duke’s daughter, the grounds being those that in the past might have been home to Cecilio’s love project. Nothing more was ever known of the gardener, giving the legend an air of melancholy and heartbreak.
The story of the garden of the four seasons is the latest inspiration for Carrera y Carrera, who wishes to recreate the garden of these two 19th century lovers for lovers of the 21st century – a mixture of tradition, culture, and passion. The perfect cocktail in which the designers and artisans of the jewelry house reveal their expertise to perfection. The jewelry collection pays tribute to the splendor of nature throughout the seasons of the year and to the love stories that unfold in parks like El Retiro in Madrid.
These jewels themselves are a Garden of Eden within a woman’s jewelry box. Designs that recreate the beauty of the four seasons through sculptures of extreme perfection that are a hallmark of the jewelry house. Daisies and almond flowers will adorn women in the pieces dedicated to spring with transparent pastel colors aligned to the runway offerings of the season. Summer will be a festival of exotic and tropical colors that enhance the vibrations of the most energetic time of the year and link to the colors selected by the major fashion houses for the summer season. Reds, ochres, and purples will color the stones of the pieces inspired by the mantle of leaves that fall drops in its wake, covering the park grounds. The frost on the leaves is the inspiration for winter with pieces in white gold and diamonds that play on the shine of the Madrid sun and the winter cold that transforms dew into frost and tints the horizon with brilliant white.