Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER TWO
 

REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
 

PAINTING
SCULPTURE - Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
ARCHITECTURE - Part 1, 2, 3
 

 

ARCHITECTURE

 

Free from such concerns, Lothar Bucher was fascinated by the breadth of the longitudinal transept, his gaze magically drawn to the heights: "We cannot tell if this web floats a hundred or a thousand feet above us, whether the ceiling is flat or made up of a host of small parallel roofs, for there is no play of shadows to help our soul understand the impressions of our optic nerve. If we lower our gaze slowly downwards we encounter open-work, blue-painted girders, first at spacious intervals, then ever closer, now overlapping, now interrupted by a dazzling strip of light, finally merging into a distant background where all materiality, even line, dissolves and only colour remains. We can orient ourselves only along the side walls, by isolating a single free column - a column so slim it might be there not to carry load but simply to satisfy the eye's need for an anchor - from amongst the riot of rugs, weavings, animal skins, mirrors and a thousand other draperies, by measuring its height against a passer-by and by looking beyond it for a second and then a third."

The London Crystal Palace served as a model for the industrial exhibition in Munich in 1854. Here, too, an exhibition hall was to be quickly built, albeit characterized by "simplicity and smaller scales". Unlike the London Palace, however, it was to be left in place after the exhibition and used for further events. The Munich hall was known for its many constructional improvements, with its braced girders non-positively connected to the columns, for example. Its facades were also more convincing. Its grid system was not confused by interspersed columns whose load-bearing appearance was purely cosmetic; rather, the overall construction was clearly comprehensible. The slender lightness of the building was impressive as in London, and M. E. Schleich asked: "What is boring old stone and beam ... compared to the magical growth of these slim columns? The God that let iron grow wanted industrial exhibitions, not servants!" But even in the great exhibition halls, supporting structures were buried under a mass of decoration, superimposed stone facades and monumental portals. The use of iron in civil engineering, unconcealed and developed logically from arguments of compositional legitimacy, was restricted to the fields of bridges, lighthouses and other technical works. This schism was particularly evident in railway station architecture. Although technical and organizational requirements made specific building planning essential, station exteriors reproduced in only slightly modified form the historicizing dazzle typical of grandiose urban architecture. The interface between the grand facade and the undisguised civil engineering of the functional platform hall thus became the meeting-point of two fundamentally different structures - a problem usually carefully disguised with a variety of visual aids.

Buildings became lighter and statically easier to calculate with the replacement of brittle cast iron by rolled steel and sheet profiles and the use of rivet connections. The finished principle girders of the Munich Glass Palace were tested individually under load before installation. Consistent quality of materials made such tests unnecessary. Construction sites became pure assembly lines using prefabricated perfectly measured parts which at most required some finishing work on the site itself.

Iron architecture reached its triumphal climax at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889. In addition to the Great Hall, a Hall of Machines for industrial exhibits was built whose 115-metre span set new standards. Opposite lay the Eiffel Tower, at that time the highest construction in the world. The Hall of Machines was a pure three-hinged arch such as Johann Wilhelm Schwedler had effectively realized in 1 863 with his Berlin furnace house for the Imperial Continental Gas Association. Two arches meet at the crown joint, their feet resting in foundation basins: ceiling and walls are one. In spite of its gigantic proportions, the Paris Hall of Machines was not disquieting. Architects nevertheless clearly felt that old notions of heavy load-bearing supports had been thrown overboard.

 


Johann Wilhelm Schwedler
Imperial Continental Gas Association Building,
Berlin, 1863
Interior view during construction
 


Johann Wilhelm Schwedler
Gasometer building in Berlin, 1888-1893
View and section

Schwedler, an engineer, also constructed a new dome system for his gasometers in which all of the load-bearing parts were laid in the spheroidal roof plane. During construction, the structure was riveted together as far as the outer ring on the ground, then raised and finally joined with the supports by the lest ring. The assembled roof was hoisted over the foundation ring with the aid of hydraulic presses and the brickworkers' scaffolding was hung on the edge of the dome. As soon as the sufficient height was bricked in, the jacks were moved and the dome raised î further 80 centimetres. The roof thus gradually crept upwards on the rising walls until reaching its final height of 30 metres.

 


Charles Dutert (arch.), Contamin, Pierron and Charton (eng.)
Hall of Machines at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, 1887-1889

A large, U-shaped exhibition hall was built on the Champ de Mars for the Exposition Universelle of 1889. The arts were housed in the side wings, while the general exhibition of industry was found in the Great Hall at the top end. Immediately behind it was the Hail of Machines; the Eiffel Tower was built in front of the open courtyard at the opposite end. Next to the Tower, the Hall of Machines was the most spectacular buildinq of the exhibition. With a length of 420 metres, a ridge height of 43.5 metres and a width spar of 115 metres, it covered a surface area of 46,000 square metres without supports; to this were added side-aisles 20 metres in width.

 


William Lossow and Max Kuhne
Main Railway Station in Leipzig, 1908-1916
Platform hall under construction Dettscbes Museum, Bildsteile




Interior view of the entrance hall

 


Paul-Henri Nenot
Atheneum for a major city, 1877
Sectional view

This design was awarded first prize by the Ecole des Becux-Arts in a competition for assembly rooms, a library and a greenhouse Nenot later built the Sorbonne in Paris, and in as late as 1927 defeated Le Corbusier with his design for the Palace of the League of Nations in Geneva.

 


McKim, Mead & White
Pennsylvania Station, New York, 1902-1911




Longitudinal section

 


Jules Saulnier
Menier Chocolate Factory in Noisiel-sur-
Marne, France, 1871
Vertical elevation of the facade

As multi-storey buildings in iron already existed in England, Saulniers realization of a building with lead-bearing structural steel and brick infill is in no way the first of its kind, óåt his almost playful facade, based on Viollet-le-Duc's sketches, is rich in fantasy.

 

LABROUSTE.

A famous early example is the Bibliotheque Ste.-Genevieve in Paris by Henri Labrouste
(1801-1875). The exterior (fig. 975) represents the historicism prevailing at mid-century. It is drawn chiefly from Italian Renaissance banks, libraries, and churches. To identify the building as a library, Labrouste used the simple but ingenious device of inscribing the names of great writers around the facade. The reading room (fig. 976), on the other hand, recalls the nave of a French Gothic cathedral (compare fig. 458). But why did Labrouste choose cast-iron columns and arches, hitherto used exclusively for railroad stations? Cast iron was necessary not to provide structural support for the two barrel roofsthis could have been done using other materialsbut to complete the building's symbolic program. The library, Labrouste suggests to us, is a storehouse of something even more valuable and sacred than material wealth: the world's literature, which takes us on a journey not to faraway places but of the mind.

Labrouste chose to leave the interior iron skeleton uncovered, and to face the difficulty of relating it to the massive Renaissance revival style of the exterior of his building. If his solution does not fully integrate the two systems, it at least lets them coexist. The iron supports, shaped like Corinthian columns, are as slender as the new material permits. Their collective effect is that of a space-dividing screen, belying their structural importance. To make them weightier, Labrouste has placed them on tall pedestals of solid masonry, instead of directly on the floor. Aesthetically, the arches presented greater difficulty, since there was no way to make them look as powerful as their masonry ancestors. Here Labrouste has gone to the other extreme, perforating them with lacy scrolls as if they were pure ornament. This architectural (as against merely technical) use of exposed iron members has a fanciful and delicate quality that links it, indirectly, to the Gothic revival. Later superseded by structural steel and ferroconcrete, it is a peculiarly appealing final chapter in the history of Romantic architecture.

The authority of historic modes had to be broken if the industrial era was to produce a truly contemporary style. It nevertheless proved extraordinarily persistent. Labrouste, pioneer though he was of cast-iron construction, could not think of architectural supports as anything but columns having proper capitals and bases, rather than as metal rods or pipes. The "architecture of conspicuous display" espoused by Gamier was divorced, even more than were the previous revival styles, from the needs of the present. It was only in structures that were not considered "architecture" at all that new building materials and techniques could be explored without these inhibitions.
 


975. Henri Labrouste. Bibliotheque Ste.-Genevieve, Paris. 1843-50




Henri Labrouste. Bibliotheque Ste.-Genevieve, Paris. 1843-50





976. Henri Labrouste. Reading Room, Bibliotheque Ste.-Genevieve




Henri Labrouste
Main reading room Bibliotheque Nationale
de France in Paris, 1857-1867
 

 


Henri Labrouste

Henri Labrouste, (born May 11, 1801, Paris, France—died June 24, 1875, Fontainebleau), French architect important for his early use of iron frame construction.

Labrouste entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1819, won the Prix de Rome for architecture in 1824, and spent the period from 1825 to 1830 in Italy, after which he opened a studio in Paris.

Labrouste is primarily remembered for the two Parisian libraries he designed. The Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, built between 1843 and 1850, is still admired for the attractiveness and restraint of its decoration and for the sensitive use of exposed iron structural elements (columns and arches). Labrouste is also remembered for his second library project, the reading room (1860–67) of the Bibliothèque Nationale. Its roof consists of nine decorated metal domes supported by slender cast-iron columns.

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