Author: Rebekah Pollock

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Presentation drawing for the Comte de Rambuteau: At the fountain base, at the center of the main basin, are six nude figures personifying the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and four symbols of maritime fishing industries; these figures sit on prows of ships. Above them (and between the basin tier and the crowning cap) are four genii, between each of which is a dolphin (below) and a swan (above) sending jets of water into the basin tier. At the top of the fountain is a mushroom-shaped cap from which water spills to a basin tier, which in turn spills a profusion of water to the larger main basin at ground level. At the perifery of the fountain are nereid figures, each holding a fish which spouts a jet backwards towards the center of the fountain.
Place de la Concorde
This splendid presentation drawing was prepared for the prestigious civic commission to redesign the Place de la Concorde, one of the great public squares of Paris. When the viceroy of Egypt, Muḥammad ʿAlī, offered France an obelisk from the reign of Ramses II as a gift in 1831, the German-born designer Jakob Ignaz Hittorff was...
A drawing of a tomb with a sarcophagus in a rounded-arch niche. A robed figure of Death stands before the sarcophagus holding a smoking lamp. The tomb is flanked by 2 recumbent lions carved in stone.
Simply Macabre
In this atmospheric drawing, the robed figure of Death holds a smoking brazier and presides over a tomb cast in a gray wash. Stark shadows describe the geometric forms of a massive sarcophagus and sepulchral niche. The simplicity of the somber interior evokes the proportions of Egyptian architecture, as well as that ancient culture’s fascination with death. Louis-Jean...
Drawing of engaged rustic columns with Tuscan capitals projecting from an archway. Above, an undecorated entablature and triangular pediment with three vertical projections.
Rustic Tuscan
Rusticated masonry was first used in the classical world. It is characterized by stones cut with a deliberately rough surface, and wide sunken joints between blocks. The Ancient Romans typically employed coarse stone in public structures such as city walls and aqueducts. However, during the reign of Emperor Claudius (41 – 54 C.E.), rusticated stonework...
1925-1-349 Matt Flynn 001
Coming Up Roses
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Cooper Hewitt is dedicating select Object of the Day entries to the work of women designers in our collection. Two delicate roses nestle on a creamy ground. Although drawn in grisailles, a monochromatic pallet of grays and black, the flowers achieve an astonishing realism. Anne Vallayer-Coster was a master...
Pleated fan, France, 1778–1793, Paper leaf with hand-colored engraving, ivory sticks, wood guards
Freedom of the Seas
This fan commemorates in an interesting moment in early American foreign policy. During the eighteenth century, amidst the feverish rivalries of the European state system, various nations competed to dominate the world’s oceans. After the United States achieved independence, its political leaders championed the view that the seas should be free and common to all...
Pleated Fan, France, mid- 19th century
The Orientalist Gaze
This fan’s printed scenes of the Ottoman Empire are after the English architect and landscape painter Thomas Allom (1804-1872), whose drawings were engraved and published in the 1840 book, Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. [1] The center image is of the Arut Bazaar, a female slave market in Constantinople....
Brisé fan, France, late 19th century
Get Carried Away
This fan commemorates the Montgolfier brothers Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (left, 1740-1810) and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier (right, 1745-1799), inventors the globe aérostatique (hot air balloon). The central scene shows the brothers’ first public experiment, which took place in Annonay, France on June 4th, 1783 in front of a group of state representatives. That day, a balloon inflated with...
Pleated fan, Europe, late 18th–early 19th century
Swift as an Arrow
The subject of this fan is an episode from the Ancient Greek myth of the Trojan War. Agamemnon has vowed to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to appease Artemis, whose wrath he incurred by killing deer in a sacred grove. This fan illustrates the dramatic moment when the goddess takes pity on the girl and at...
Louis XVI restaurateur de la liberté, toile de Jouy, France
Unsuccessful Propaganda
It is with the perfect vision of hindsight that we can perceive the dramatic irony embedded in this textile, printed at the heart of the French Revolution. The intended message is announced on a banderole held aloft by a putto: Louis XVI is the Restorer of Liberty, a title briefly bestowed on him by the...