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Designing with brush strokes
Architect Rafael Viñoly still does hand sketches as well as beautiful watercolors for his projects. For the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia (1998–2001), Viñoly was tasked with providing a cultural complex: a hall for the Philadelphia Orchestra and a second performance space for multiple types of theatrical productions. The center was also to...
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Is There a Gothic Cottage in Your Future?
This charming gothic interior was the private study in the Cottage Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia, of Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas I. Born Frederica Louise Charlotte Wilhelmina of Prussia, Charlotte, as she was known, was promised in a political alliance to Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich in 1814. They married three years later and by 1825...
Horizontal building elevation built over a canal; building is held up by pillars; formed by arches and pediments, geometric shapes, glass.
Tangible Speculation and the Pleasure of Drawing
The architect Michael Graves, who died last week at the age of 80, was passionate and insistent about the importance of drawing in architectural practice. Over the course of his career, the use of computer-aided design software became ubiquitous among generations of architects, but Graves remained steadfast in his belief that drawing by hand was...
Within a semi-circular architectural niche an eagle, wings outspread, rests on a socle, before which is suspended a wreath. Smoke rises in the background; an arch above, and volute brackets at either side. Ink framing lines. On verso, written: "Babel."
A Regal Post
Gilles-Marie Oppenord (1672-1742) was born to a Dutch Cabinet maker who worked exclusively for the French Court.  After having trained under his father, Oppenord set out for an education in Rome in 1692. It was there that he studied under the director of the French Academy in Rome, who encouraged him to pursue architecture by...
Fork at top left with end of handle formed by female bust; an extended volute forms length of handle which connects to a satyr whose legs tranform into two fork tines. Spoon at top right has handle formed by satyr-herm whose lower half extends to connect to bowl of spoon with two opposing scrolls and a mask. Design for saltcellar and egg dish in center; figures of Leda and the swan at top of vessel upon a raised rectangular plinth; relief panel with two swans on front side of plinth; lower part of vessel is six-sided with round well for holding an egg on each end and projecting seashell to hold salt in center front; front panel displays figure of Venus reclining on the sea with one elbow resting on a dolphin and other hand holding reigns of two dolphins, ornamental curtain above the scene; dolphin heads on lower corners form the feet; guilloche ornament borders the lower edge; oval reserves with figures on angled sides. Plan of vessel at bottom, inscription located within the rectangle framing for the raised plinth and between the seashell shapes for the salt and round shapes for the eggs.
A Novel Way to Eat Your Eggs
Poached, fried, boiled, or roasted, eggs were an important part of the Italian Renaissance diet. In the sixteenth century, Italian chefs Bartolomeo Scappi and Cristoforo da Messisbugo each published cookbooks that detailed recipes and techniques for preparing banquets, and eggs were often on the menu. One of Scappi’s reoccurring recipes was for uovo da bere, or...
View of a man wearing a turban
Heads up!
This study by the prolific French artist, François Boucher, offers a rich insight into the practice of collecting drawings in eighteenth-century France. The head of the turbaned man is sketched with black and red chalk, with the white of the paper used as a third shade. The sheet features the annotation, “Boucher” in the lower right...
A ship-shaped bowl, supported by two mermaids, is surmounted upon a base representing the sea. The bowl is flanked by two high columns with mermaid finials connected to each other by a pole entwined with ribbon. Traces of framing lines are visible at the edges of the sketch.
An Ornate Boat with a Mysterious Purpose
As the artist for the ducal court at Mantua in the early sixteenth century, Giulio Romano designed everything from architecture and stage sets to fresco programs and metalwork. But the purpose of this drawing remains a mystery. It features a vessel in the shape of a ship, supported by two mermaids, who rise up from...
Office interior with figures standing along walls; and figures sitting at desk at left; map on wall and screen; waiting area at center of floor.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to America
In his famous book, On The Road (1957), Jack Kerouac relays a cross-country adventure he undertook in 1949:  “…. eyes bent on Frisco and the coast, we came into El Paso as it got dark, broke. We absolutely had to get some money for gas or we’d never make it. We tried everything. We buzzed the...
In this monumental scheme, the Maréchal's former wife and son (each of whom had predeceased him), flank the standing Maréchal, dressed in classical armor. The Maréchal gestures towards his wife, who stoops to greet him at the doorway (surmounted by family crest and pair of lions) of the family mausoleum; his son (also in classical military garb) kneels and kisses his father's left hand. The angel of death, holding a scythe, hovers above. Smoke emanates from censors on either side of the central group.
Behind Death’s Door: Augustin Pajou’s Tomb Design
This highly finished drawing is a design for a tomb by the French academician and sculptor Augustin Pajou (1730-1809). Dated to 1761, the drawing is executed with pen and wash and heightened with white gouache, and is signed and dated by the artist in the lower right corner. This tomb design is an innovative composition...