Baroque Architecture Triumphs
At The National Gallery of Art, a major exhibition examining two centuries of European architectural history and the most famous architects of the baroque era, is on view until Oct. 9. It travels next to the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Marseille, France, from Nov. 17-March 4, 2001.
Entitled "The Triumph of the Baroque," the exhibit features 27 original architectural models made between 1600 and 1750, along with 40 related paintings, drawings, prints and medals. The models, which were usually made of wood, and often decorated with paint or plaster, serve as valuable records of an architect's original vision. They were often submitted to competitions for architectural commissions, or they acted as a three-dimensional guide while construction workers were building the structure. Because they are extremely fragile, very few have survived.
Among the highlights in the show are models of Rome's celebrated baroque fountains, famed for their ambitious designs and rushing waters. Gian Lorenzo Bernini's project for the Four Rivers Fountain (c. 1650) in the Piazza Navona is represented by an original architectural model in wood and terracotta as well as a painting of the completed monument. Also on view are examples of English and Russian baroque architecture, including Sir Christopher Wrens models for the Royal Naval Hospital in Greenwich; James Gibbs' 1721 wooden model for St. …