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Lecture: Architects and the Birth of Archaeology—Labrouste, Jones, Semper, Hittorff, and the Ferro-Vitreous Hut

November 13, 2014
Fullerton Hall
Free with museum admission

Join celebrated architectural historian David van Zanten as he explores the relationship of Classical antiquity to 19th century architecture. Last year, the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light started with the sheets of his fascinating and mystifying polychrome reconstruction of the Temple of Neptune at Paestum. What wasn't explored there, however, was the parallel broad and deep professional discovery of antiquity by architects of Labrouste's generation, especially Gottfried Semper, Owen Jones and Jacques-Ignace Hittorff.  

This discovery manifested itself in Jones' bright, multi-colored painting of the Crystal Palace itself as well as in the chromolithographed reconstructions of Hittorff's Architecture polychrome chez les Grecs, and Semper's theories of architectural evolution, all presented within a few months of each other in 1850-1851.  This extends our "rediscovery" of Labrouste to a more demanding problematic, namely what it meant that these architects also absorbed antiquity as an experience of color as well as form.

Reservations are not required for this program. 

Gottfried Semper. Detail of Parthenon on the Acropolis, watercolor 1833. Eidgenössisches Techniche Hochschule, Zurich.