Monday, October 18, 2010

Reading Comprehension 4

      ARTIFACTS:  18th Century Architecture was predominately about writing all the rules down, acknowledging them, and then breaking them and making your own.  As we see in the desk and book case with chinoiserie decoration, it is very elaborate with high detail, high contrast, and curvilinear lines that define the square shapes formerly known.  As we can see in the doors storage was now necessary, but yet needed to be hidden.  The tall clock by Martin Carlin is also a great example of detailed carvings and great details.  In this case there are human figures incorporated in the clock.  In the Windsor chair we see a more practical approach, less ornamental and more function.  In contrast to the Sheraton Side chair, which uses more ornament, with classical motifs with curved and fluted arm supports, upholstery made with high end tapestry.  Now as we see Robert Adam Osterley Park State Bed it reflects everything he was, highly adorned and great attention to detail.  It had lean details with layering just fit for a queen. 

SPACE:  In the Holkam Hall saloon, designed during the Rococo period, it is highly decorated with patterns, and textures that are closely weaved together diminishing the walls and ceilings to hide the Architecture, and exalt the decoration.  These are the main focus of this period and this room.  In the Saloon we can see few furnishings that bring the attention to the walls and the ceilings, and place little attention to comfort or usage of a space.  With the Gunston Hall, it is a very American Georgian Architecture with plain ceilings, straight staircases, enclosed rooms, and very low decorations in contrast to the Mareie Antoninette’s bedroom at the Palace of Fountainbleau, which is highly decorated with immense amounts of details in every corner.  The gilded garlands embracing the coffered ceiling guide your eyes to the overly ornate chandelier surrounded by huge tapestries that frame the room in warmth, and are best viewed from the beautiful adorned bed that matches perfectly with its surroundings.     

BUILDING:  The Chiswick house designed by Lord Burlington and William Kent as a country villa outside of London was directly inspired by Villa Rotunda, by Palladio; specifically designed as a gallery to display the Art newly discovered and brought to London from Pompeii and Herculaneum.  The square plan developed around a central octagon topped by a dome with windows; direct inspiration from the Bath of Caracalla.  This building has also been called a domesticated Pantheon with bilateral symmetry and a secular dome space.  We will continue our comparison with Monticello by Thomas Jefferson because it was also inspired by Villa Rotunda and Palladio.  It is a beautiful display of order and proportion with an axial plan that displayed symmetry, with rooms with angled walls for window placement to bring in natural light.  One peculiar detail about Monicello was the Thomas Jefferson used the different orders in the different rooms to adorn the entablature and the crown moldings.  He also said “Ideas and architecture could express the ideas of a new nation.” 

PLACE:  “The philosophers believed that knowledge was derived solely from direct observation of the natural world.”  (Roth P. 442)  London is a symbol for education.  It is the most important, direct Architectural inspiration to America due to the fact that we were colonized by England.  English Architecture will drastically influence the American Architecture by Architects like Colon Campbell and one of the most important of all Robert Adams.  One of the most picturesque places in the United States is Williamsburg Virginia.  Its Architecture is an open book to the past.  One can learn so much about lifestyles and current trends just by looking at the details depicted on the walls.  And talking about trends, Paris France has always, and will always set the trends to new and old styles, and to timeless Architecture that has been copied in so many places around the world, and that we can see in shining colors in the Architecture of our own capital Washington, D.C.

2.       The gateleg table is a beautiful piece of ornate yet has a simple design.  This table dates back to Spain, and has maximization of space in mind.  The Fraileros chair is very Spanish like me.  It’s simply carved back detail is reminiscent of the waves in the sea.  Its simple curves on the legs and arms remind you of the ups and downs of the music that filled the streets of Madrid.  The armoire was a direct inspiration of France due to the simple fact that homes in France did not have closets, and most of them still don’t.  So armoires are a very important key element of French living.  You may find a lot of these armoires in France being hand painted to show country living and the beautiful flowers that surround the countryside.  But during the colonist times these armoires were simpler in design; often times without any paintings on them yet still bringing memories of the homeland.  Having seen a few of these in Germany, I know that they are a very key piece for the kitchen and dining rooms.  The bottom part was often used to store flour or cooking goods.  Plates were stored at the top, and often times there was a bowl with fresh eggs on them.  And I imagine that is just the same as the American colonists used them for.  It is a very straight forward design made exactly for its use; not very multipurpose, yet very important for the heart of the home.
SPACE:  The heart household  + chamber is a beautiful example of colonists living with the low ceilings, plaster walls, and a center table that could also be used as a cutting board.  The bed also in the same room shows us the lack of space and dates back to the manors where everything was done in one great room.  The Columbus house of the Dominican Republic is a very Spanish direct inspired house with the two story colonnade front.  You can almost see the beautiful Spanish lady with her red and black polka dotted dress fanning her way to the garden.  Now the parlange plantation is more like a house that we know now.  With it’s A frame roof and tall chimney reminds us of a French provincial home from Louis XVI with its big plank floors common to all the areas, plaster walls, white washed just to bring in colors from furnishings and flowers.  Doors are paneled to resemble wainscoting and often times you could find paintings of scenes above the doors.  Ceilings were usually low to retain the heat, and the fireplace was the heart and the warmth of the home.  The Parlor and Chamber of Andrew Jackson’s house is a very multi functional space.  Its dirt and brick floors remind us of a German house, you can almost see the ducks walk by.   The low ceilings with exposed beams are a reminder of poverty, with very little detail, a whole family could live in this room; and I believe this could be one of the first signs of a pull out bed as we know it. 

3.  This is my possible Palladian villa inspired by Girolamo Frescobaldi Balleto Terzo.  Palladio's Architecture was based on an assemblage of ideal shapes, harmonic dimensions, and proportion and music to create a beautifully balanced, well layed out and perfectly distributed building.  The Balleto Terzo inspired soft interest, repetition, and a continuous fluidity with emphasis and foreplay.  I tried to create circle as my center, most important space with well balanced rooms on both east and west wings, and with four porches to bring in nature and transfer energy from man to the four corners of the world. 

4.       I absolutely believe the Baroque period stands as a form of social performance in the Theatre of the world.  It is extravagant and elaborate, it glorified man and its grand scale brought drama to Architecture and emotion to late Renaissance.  Its monumental Architecture is only made better by illusionistic paintings and dynamic sculptures.  Baroque means irregular shaped pearl, but yet it is polished and ornate.  It is some sort of a plastic exuberant style.  “Imaginative, surprising, and gay, richly covered with colored marbles, carvings, paintings, and gilding, the Baroque sounds to attract attention by striking and picturesque appearance.”  Helen Gardner, Art Through the Ages. This period has been the inspiration for great play writers such as William Shakespeare, and also one that I am very familiar with Miguel de Cervantes who wrote Don Quixote de la mancha, my favorite novel of all times.