Francesco Borromini an Italian Architect was very passionate and inspired in his works. Despite his troubles that almost led him to commit suicide, he still produced the world’s most creative drawings in the 21st century. His passion shaped his career such that he never was contended with himself and always strived hard to achieve better. Apart from passion, Borromini is widely recognised for his experimentation, classicism, prayer and sensuality this traits and attributes made him such an exceptional and accomplished architect as it served as the motivation behind his great architectural drawings.
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Guarino Guarini was also classical which was manifested in his open mindedness towards architecture. This was clearly depicted on how the façade of San Lorenzo was executed. Guarini was also an inspirer through his architectural creations. His buildings produce admirations from the many blends of styles which are unique to his studies in France, Spain and Italy. This attributes helped Guarini turn architecture from what it was just a pursuit of perfection and imitation of his predecessors into an art founded on functionality, beauty and geometric innovation. Guarini did not just want to use the rules set by his predecessors on architecture but went out of the way to innovate and blend styles to create structures that were unique to himself.
James Gibbs, a18th century architect was adaptive such that he tailored his architectural creations on the tastes that prevailed during his time. As evident in designs such as Kings College, this helped him fight off his critics who threatened to bring down his architectural career at the time. Gibbs was also fashionable which enabled him make many crucial contacts among city tourists. This made him one of the most influential personalities then forming a foundation for the birth of the Georgian design language. His connection to the church also reveals some attribute of religiousness in Gibbs, as he helped in designing some tombs in the 18th century.
John Ruskin was an outstanding painter widely acclaimed for his master piece drawings. The quality of his drawings and watercolours stimulated the success of British architecture, painting and decoration in the 19th century. He was also a critic to various issues in the society through art which perhaps gave him the inspiration to do art. Furthermore, Ruskin was also a great writer gifted with expression and perception. This exemplary ability to see things and express them made him an important mark in history of taste as well as enduring significant part of literature.
Common attributes between these architects and most present day architects is passion to do what they do, the motivation to always do better as well as innovation to always venture into new ways of creating masterpiece drawings that shape the world. Some of these architects also were great writers enabling them document some of their works in writing as opposed to just drawings.
Development of architecture
From the middle ages to the 19th century, there have been several styles that have shaped architectural design across the world. Below are a few development styles from 1400 to 1900. Between the 1400 and 1600 there was a renaissance period characterized by classical ideas or rather an age of awakening in France, Italy and England. Architects looked at classical elements of ancient Rome and Greece, architects drew inspiration on the beauty proportioned architecture of ancient times enabling them to create better designs that reflection the works of ancient architects.
Between 1600 and early 1800, a period that maybe described as the Baroque, the Baroque style was common in Italy as manifested in dramatic and opulent churches with shapes that were irregular as well as extravagant ornamentation. In France for instance, the Baroque style blended with Classical style. Architects in Russia were inspired by the Versailles in France leading them to borrow a leaf from the Baroque style in the building of St. Petersburg. This elements were also used across Europe.
The Baroque style was simply a reassertion and expression of ideology by people who recalled the events of the war where the world was destroyed. The style was rich and heavy sometimes melodramatic and overblown. The circumstances around the politics of the style are questionable, but regardless of that its products were amazing. Towards the end of this period, there was an introduction of the Rococo style where architects created white buildings that had sweeping curves. This buildings were decorated elegantly with vines, scrolls, shell shapes as well as delicate geometric patterns.
Between 1730 to early 1900 period the Neoclassicism style was famous, majorly highlighted by Andrea Palladio, this period marked the re-invention of the classical shapes across Great Britain, Europe and United States. Buildings were proportioned as per classical details with information borrowed from ancient Rome and Greece. Within this period, battlemented, mock-abbeys and even picturesque cottages were still being produced.
Between 1890 and 1914 there was an architectural style referred to as the Art Nouveau, this was first manifested in graphic design and fabrics. This style was very famous among architects in 1890s where building had asymmetrical arches, shapes and decorative surfaces blended with plant-like curves and designs. This style borrowed from Rococo, Japanese masters Katsushika Hokusai and Ando Hiroshige songs of innocence and Celtic graphs, it also takes plant forms from nature and then abstracts and flattens them into beautiful organic motifs.
Between 1895 and 1925, there was a style called the Beaux Arts characterized by symmetry, order, grandiosity, formal design and elaborate ornamentation. Common architectural characteristics with this style include columns, balustrades, cornices, balconies, triangular pediments and pilasters. The style led to planned neighbourhoods with wide boulevards, large showy houses and vast parks. Due to the grandiosity and size of buildings, the style is common with public buildings such as railway stations, museums, banks, libraries, government buildings and court houses. This styles have been remarkable and despite the periods, a lot of ideas from ancient styles are still applicable to modern day architecture.
Symbolism in architecture
The society demands that architecture communicates the institutional aspirations as well as full practical needs. The differences in expression, distinguish the different types of architecture, the kinds of use or the customs and traditions of users. From what we learnt in class here are a few cases of symbolism.
The mediaeval churches and cathedrals of Europe exhibit a blend of craft and art. Craft was necessary to construct and design permanent buildings capable of protecting worshippers from the weather inclemency, while art was applied to decorate the buildings as well as dictate to the craft several points with regard to their designs. The mediaeval architectures created buildings that embodied the truths in which they believed in such as the cross shape of churches. The symbolic use of animals such as the dove to symbolise purity or the sheep to symbolise believers was common as well. Mackintosh expressed his soul using a poetic mood illumination. He then used a rose as a symbol since it was the noblest and grandest nature symbol to depict the virgin and prolific earth or as a mother of man.
Looking at the Queens house in Greenwich, had a huge impact to English architecture as it was the first neoclassical structure within England. Within the house, there is a Tulip staircase with flower decorations within the iron handrail, which symbolise lilies. The same lily motif symbol, is also intertwined with acanthus leaves together with royal monograms which represent the marriage of King Charles and Henrietta. Today this lily motif are viewed as symbols of love. The paintings in the Queens bedroom symbolise the Royal Navy’s history, as well as the naval battle portraits and scenes of some of the most famous English Heroes.
In the Stowe Garden, there is a pyramid at the centre of the Temple created for English worthies. Within the oval chamber, a Mercury bust was placed, this was similar to the Greek mythology’s great messenger god. Since mercury symbolised the protector of travellers and a messenger between human beings and god, the mercury symbolised security to travellers. Currently, mercury represents open mindedness, intelligence and new ideas which is well in line with the design of the Stowe gardens, its elegance and creativity.
The Kelmscott press is another epitome of symbolism, the works original impression is an author expressing himself using visual arts and literature with equal eloquence and fluency. He uses several literature tools such as poetry to write pieces with symbolic meaning in the political, social as well as the Economic world. The decorative page elements also equally tell the story symbolically with almost the same accuracy. It is evident that symbolism was and remains a crucial element to architecture, architecture serves to record and document the prevailing environments for the future. Architectural buildings of the church are more filled with symbolic elements than most buildings perhaps due to the connection between religion, the society and the bible.