Sunday, July 2, 2017

Roman Ornamentation

In Saint Peter's Basilica, the grand central space of the Catholic Church in Europe, no expense was spared to make it as ornate as possible. After all, the more stuff you add on, the more praiseworthy it is and the more exalted it is in a place of worship. The proliferation of ornament on the walls and domes is directly inherited from the secular buildings of imperial Rome, but here, it is a way to praise God as well as impress the followers.

This drawing of ornamental cornices and wall textures is unusually precise even for me and I wondered whether I had finished it in the studio but since it is drawn on the same page and with the same pencil as the other July 11 drawings, I guess I really did sit there for the hour it must have taken to jot this little study. I must have had a lot of patience back then. Not so much nowadays. 

Pencil on sketchbook page, 4" x 4 1/2", July 11, 1975.

1 comment:

Texchanchan said...

You captured a lot of detail, of which there is plenty to capture. If there's a surface, put something on it, evidently, and the fancier the better. I think this frame of mind has not existed since, except for a while during the Victorian era, when they were learning all you can do with cast iron and hadn't fallen into trap of believing that decoration is psychologically unnecessary.