Palladio and His Legacy at the Morgan

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 1, 2010

From The Morgan’s website:

Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey
The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, 2 April — 1 August 2010

Villa Rotunda, from “The Architecture of A. Palladio,” 1715-20 (RIBA Library)

Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey features thirty-one original Palladio drawings from the Royal Institute of British Architects. These exquisite drawings, which were exhibited only once before in America and never in New York, will be on view to the public for the first time in over thirty years. They are being presented with rare architectural texts to illustrate the journey from Italy to North America of Palladio’s design principles of proportion, harmony, and beauty.

Palladio’s work has significantly influenced American architecture from colonial times to the present day. Focusing on the artist’s original drawings and following the trajectory of his ideas, the show also traces the story of American Palladianism. The drawings are supported by numerous architectural models. Three large examples—the Pantheon, Villa Rotunda, and Jefferson’s unrealized design for the White House—programmatically illustrate the journey from Rome to America. Smaller models, along with rare architectural texts and pattern books through which Palladio’s ideas were primarily transmitted, reinforce the themes of the exhibition.

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This book has been written to accompany the exhibition Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey and shows drawings, books and images from the peerless Palladio collections of the Royal Institute of British Architects. It shows how Palladio studied and reinterpreted the architecture of antiquity, how he developed his ideas, how his message spread, and how Palladianism developed and spread across America, where Palladio’s legacy has remained longest and most widespread. Andrea Palladio lived and worked some 500 years ago in the Veneto. Yet his international influence, and particularly his impact on American architecture, has been greater than that of any architect since. Simplicity and proportion formed the basis of his idea of architecture; the villas he created in the Veneto around Venice, together with his writings, which were widely disseminated after his death, have helped shape European and American buildings for more than 400 years.

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As noted by The Art History Newsletter, the exhibition was reviewed in The New York Times by Nicolai Ouroussoff on 8 April 2010. There’s also an interview by Suzanne Stephens and William Hanley at Architectural Record.

Blake at the Morgan

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 29, 2009

From the Morgan website:

William Blake’s World: “A New Heaven Is Begun”
Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 11 September 2009 — 3 January 2010

William Blake, “Behemoth and Leviathan,” ca. 1805–10 (NY: Morgan)

Visionary and nonconformist William Blake (1757–1827) is a singular figure in the history of Western art and literature: a poet, painter, and printmaker. Ambitiously creative, Blake had an abiding interest in theology and philosophy, which, during the age of revolution, inspired thoroughly original and personal investigations into the state of man and his soul. In his lifetime Blake was best known as an engraver; he was later recognized for his innovations across many other disciplines.

In the Morgan’s first exhibition devoted to Blake in two decades, former director Charles Ryskamp and curators Anna Lou Ashby and Cara Denison have assembled many of Blake’s most spectacular watercolors, prints, and illuminated books of poetry to dramatically underscore his genius and enduring influence. William Blake’s World: “A New Heaven Is Begun”—the subtitle a quote from Blake referring to the significance of his date of birth—is on view from September 11, 2009, to January 3, 2010.

The show includes more than 100 works and among the many highlights are two major series of watercolors, rarely displayed in their entirety. The twenty-one watercolors for Blake’s seminal illustrations for the Book of Job—considered one of his greatest works and revealing his personal engagement with biblical texts—were created about 1805–10. Also on view are twelve drawings illustrating John Milton’s poems L’Allegro and Il Penseroso, executed about 1816–20. Both series were undertaken for Blake’s principal patron, Thomas Butts. (more…)

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