Published: September 2, 2003
French design became the gold standard for the expression of power, long before Versailles stunned the world with its magnificence. Politics and architecture have been intertwined in France ever since the Romanesque evolved into the Gothic.
A cathedral’s flying buttress demonstrates that man can redirect the force of gravity through beauty. This French approach to architecture as a way to control nature places man directly in the center of the universe.
Antique design drawings of buildings and their décor communicate this sense of mastery as clearly as Louis XIV used architecture to overwhelm his opponents.
ArthiTech Gallery has assembled a collection of design drawings, antique prints, watercolors and photographs that speak of that French need for control. Drawings from the Nineteenth Century Parisian firm of Viollet-le-Duc, the most powerful architect of the time, outline schemes for Paris’ City Hall, The National Assembly, and various cathedral remodelings.
Watercolors by Elizabeth Ockwell reduce to a sinuous line the exotic meanderings of the Paris Opera House. And photographs by Mark Ballogg of the legendary Pére LaChaise cemetery reveal that a wealthy Frenchman’s grip on power extended long past death.
“Magnifique!” opens Friday, September 12, and continues through November 28 at 730 North Franklin, Suite 200 in Chicago’s River North gallery district. Hours are noon to 6 pm, Thursdays through Saturdays. For an appointment, 312-475-1290.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm