Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza

Church of Sant'Ivo and the wings of the Palazzo della Sapienza, Roma
The church of Sant'Ivo and the wings of the Palazzo della Sapienza
Rome, April 2013

“One of the most distinctive landmarks of Rome is the dome, with its airy lantern and spiral finial, of the church of St Ivo in the Palazzo della Sapienza. The ‘Sapienza’ was the home of the University of Rome from its foundation by Pope Boniface VIII in 1303 until it was able to move to more spacious accommodation in the University City in 1935. The three-story palace, now housing the State Archives, was built by Giacomo della Porta for Pope Sixtus V in 1587. Crossing the inner courtyard between the two massive wings of the palace, we come to the church of Sant'Ivo, a Baroque chapel with a lively facade mingling concave and convex forms. The interior with its semicircular and trapezoid elements was designed by Borromini in the form of a bee, the heraldic emblem of Pope Urban VIII, a member of the noble Barberini family. The church as a whole is a masterly example of the work of Borromini, domestic architect of the Barberini family.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Memorial Wall

Memorial wall, Jüdisches Gemeindehaus, Jewish Community Center, Fasanenstraße, Charlottenburg, Berlin
Memorial wall, Jüdisches Gemeindehaus (Jewish Community Center)
Fasanenstraße, Charlottenburg
Berlin, September 2011

“On the right side of the entrance, a memorial wall shows the names of most of the concentrations camps and ghettos to which 58,000 Jews were deported from Berlin.”

Monday, July 29, 2013

Resonating Bodies #1

The lute of Resonating Bodies by Tony Cragg, Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park, Battery Park City, New York
The lute of “Resonating Bodies” by Tony Cragg, 1996
Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park, Battery Park City
New York, September 2007

See also: Resonating Bodies #2

“Created by British artist Tony Cragg, Resonating Bodies consists of a pair of bronze sculptures resembling giant musical instruments. One resembles a lute, the other, a tuba. This playful work is based on the concept that all physical bodies – including ourselves – are constantly enveloped by various energy forms from heat, light, sound, and gravity to magnetic waves, x-waves even radio and TV signals. The sculpture displays these forces with a wave-like relief on its surfaces. The work is set on the ground at the end of the tree-lined walks at the entrance to Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park. With its whimsical design and gargantuan scale, the work invites touching and interaction.”
(Public Art, Battery Park City Authority)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

La Défense du Foyer

La Défense du Foyer, Home Defence by Émile Boisseau, square d'Ajaccio, Paris
“La défense du foyer” (Home Defence) by Émile Boisseau, 1887
Square d'Ajaccio, Boulevard des Invalides / rue de Grenelle
7e arrondissement, Paris, July 2012

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Albergo Bianco

Lotto 41 or Albergo Bianco by Innocenzo Sabbatini, Garbatella, Rome
Lotto 41 or Albergo Bianco (White Hotel) by Innocenzo Sabbatini, 1928
Piazza Michele da Carbonara, Garbatella
Rome, April 2013

“Ultimately, these hotels are nothing but public dormitories, or rather, ghettos, where poor people whose houses were destroyed have to live in close quarters with other families. Basically, the internal organisation had been conceived for services located on the ground floor: storage rooms, kitchens, refectories, nurseries, clinics, welfare offices, etc. In the Red Hotel the church and primary schools were located, while the White Hotel contained the nursery. The rooms on the upper floors could house single people divided according to sex, or family units: it was an ante litteram lager but, obviously, the Media sung its praises. … After all, in a dictatorial regime the media say what the regime wants them to … we know that all too well!”

Friday, July 26, 2013

L'Italia Turrita

L'Italia turrita, The Towered Italy by Carlo Lorenzetti, Hotel Bauer-Grunwald terrace, Venice
“L'Italia turrita” (The Towered Italy) by Carlo Lorenzetti, 1898
Hotel Bauer-Grunwald terrace
Seen from the Canal Grande (Grand Canal)
Venice, September 2012

“The representation of Italia Turrita was proposed under the emperor Trajan, who wanted it to be sculpted on the Trajan’s Arch erected in Benevento in 114-117, and also on one of the two Pluteos called anaglypha, four years later. Afterwards, from 130 AD on, under the emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, Septimius Severus and Caracalla, Roman coins reproduced the allegorical representation of Italy as a dressed and towered woman who sometimes carries a cornucopia. The towered crown is the symbol of Civitas romana (Roman Citizenship), therefore the allegory shows the sovereignty of the Italian peninsula as a land of free cities and of Roman citizens to whom a proper right has been granted: the Ius Italicum.”
(Italia Turrita, Wikipedia)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

10a Chandos Street

Lettsom House, Medical Society of London, Chandos Street, Westminster, London
Lettsom House, Medical Society of London
Chandos Street, Westminster
London, October 2009

“By the mid-19th century London’s medical community congregated in the West End and Fleet Street was no longer a convenient rendezvous for Fellows of the Medical Society. Therefore, on amalgamation with the Westminster Medical Society in 1850, the Society moved to 32A George Street (now Saint George Street), Hanover Square, thence to 11 Chandos Street in March 1873. This early 19th century house belonging to the Earl of Gainsborough suited the Society admirably, and with the purchase of the freehold of numbers 10A to 12 Chandos Street in 1928, the Medical Society of London was entrenched at the heart of the medical fraternity.”
(The Medical Society of London, Postgraduate Medical Journal)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Joue-moi, je suis à toi

Play Me, I’m Yours public piano, Jardin des Plantes, Paris
‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ a public piano with the occasional player
Jardin des Plantes, 5e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

See also: Play Me, I’m Yours

“Located in public parks, bus shelters and train stations, outside galleries and markets and even on bridges and ferries the pianos are available for any member of the public to play and enjoy. Who plays them and how long they remain on the streets is up to each community. Many pianos are personalised and decorated by artists or the local community. By creating a place of exchange ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment.”
(Play Me, I’m Yours, Street Pianos)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Big Foot

Marble foot belonging to a huge statue of the Iseum, via di Santo Stefano del Cacco, Rome
A marble foot once part of a huge statue of the Iseum Campense
Via di Santo Stefano del Cacco
Rome, April 2013

“Although none of them has survived, many remains have been found, especially in the area of the Iseum (temple of Isis), among which a number of small spires (see Obelisks), and several parts belonging to huge statues. One of the district's streets, via Piè di Marmo (literally ‘Marble Foot Street’) was given its curious name after a large fragment from the aforesaid site, still standing by the crossing with via Santo Stefano del Cacco.”
(Rione IX Pigna, Virtual Roma)

Monday, July 22, 2013


Friedrichstadt-Palast, Friedrichstraße, Berlin
Friedrichstadt-Palast, Friedrichstraße
Berlin, September 2011

“Welcome to the East End, the Broadway of Berlin and the city’s hip nightlife mile. Stretching from Unter den Linden and along Friedrichstraße to Hackescher Markt, this is the district with the highest theatre density in all of Germany. And in the midst of it you will find the world’s biggest theatre stage! Reopened in 1984 and located at Friedrichstraße 107, the show palace lies in the district Berlin-Mitte at a 5-minute walking distance from the rail station Friedrichstraße. The massive structure is the last magnificent building of the German Democratic Republic, erected by the regime while it was already caught up in the process of slow disintegration, and this makes it an exceptional monument to Germany’s overcoming of its former division.”
(A modern legend, Friedrichstadt-Palast)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

William Earle Dodge

William Earle Dodge statue by John Quincy Adams Ward, Bryant Park, New York
William Earle Dodge statue by John Quincy Adams Ward
Bryant Park
New York, September 2008

“William Earle Dodge, Sr. (September 4, 1805 – February 9, 1883) was a New York businessman, referred to as one of the ‘Merchant Princes’ of Wall Street in the years leading up to the American Civil War. Dodge was also a noted abolitionist, and Native American rights activist and served as the president of the National Temperance Society from 1865 to 1883. Dodge represented New York's 8th congressional district in the United States Congress for a portion of the 39th United States Congress in 1866-1867 and was a founding member of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). His son, Charles Cleveland Dodge, was one of the youngest brigadier generals in the Union Army during the Civil War at the age of twenty-one.”
(William E. Dodge, Wikipedia)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Charles Garnier

Bust of Charles Garnier by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Palais Garnier, rue Auber, Paris
Detail of the monument to Charles Garnier by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
Palais Garnier, rue Auber, 9e arrondissement
Paris, July 2004

See also: Monument to Garnier

“Back in Paris, Garnier received few private commissions but accepted several municipal posts including that of architect of the fifth and sixth arrondissemnets. In 1861 Garnier entered and won the competition for the new Paris opera house. His design reflected the aspirations of the Second Empire with its rich coloring and decoration. From his studies of Roman pageantry, Garnier had developed a great sense of occasion and drama which when coupled with a logical floor plan was used to good effect in the opera. It quickly became known as the ‘Style Napoleon III.’”
(Charles Garnier, Great Buildings)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Great Bronze Quadriga

Great bronze quadriga by Ettore Ximenes, Palazzo di Giustizia, Palace of Justice, Rome
Great bronze quadriga by Ettore Ximenes, 1926
Palazzo di Giustizia (Palace of Justice)
Rome, April 2013

“Inspired by late Renaissance and Baroque architecture, the building is 170 meters by 155 in size and is completely covered with Travertine limestone. Above the façade looking towards the River Tiber it is surmounted by a great bronze quadriga, set there in 1926, the work of the sculptor Ettore Ximenes from Palermo.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Santo Stefano Bell Tower

Bell tower of the church of Santo Stefano, Venice
The bell tower of the church of Santo Stefano
Seen from Campo San Maurizio, San Marco
Venice, September 2012

Campanile 61m (198ft) electromechanical bells
Late Renaissance (1544) and leaning, with a newer top. On 7th August 1585 it was struck by lightning, collapsed onto nearby houses, and the bells melted. Replacements came from England, where Catholic churches were being stripped under Elizabeth I. Rebuilt in 17th and 18th Centuries The base was reinforced between 1902 and 1906 due to subsidence and consequent leaning. Still said to be unstable.”
(Santo Stefano, The Churches of Venice)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Minotaur by Michael Ayrton, St. Alphage Highwalk, City of London
“Minotaur” by Michael Ayrton, 1973
St. Alphage Highwalk, City of London
London, October 2009

“A nonconformist who challenged Picasso's reign over the art world, Ayrton found in Daedalus a richly complex story of captivity and escape, ingenuity and creativity, flight and fall, success and failure. Ayrton's own journey into the labyrinth set him on a torturous path through life and into the psyche: he came to identify himself not only with the craftsman but also with the Minotaur, representative of the bestial nature hidden within all of us. He ultimately created a new visual syntax that expanded the meaning of the labyrinth in disturbing ways for the twentieth century. The intensity of Ayrton's journey is conveyed in this beautifully produced volume comprising biography, critical analysis, historical context, and an annotated catalogue of the works, many appearing in color.”

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

7e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins

7e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins, 7th Mountain Infantry Battalion, boulevard de la Madeleine, Paris
7e bataillon de chasseurs alpins (7th Mountain Infantry Battalion)
27e brigade d'infanterie de montagne (27th Mountain Infantry Brigade)
Boulevard de la Madeleine
Paris, July 2012

Search labels: 14 juillet

“The 2012 parade was led by the Armed Forces units in Afghanistan (the Foreign Legion included), several NATO countries' armed forces, and France's UN peacekeeping units.”

Monday, July 15, 2013

Piramide Cestia

Piramide di Caio Cestio or Piramide Cestia, Pyramid of Cestius, via del Campo Boario, Rome
Piramide di Caio Cestio or Piramide Cestia (Pyramid of Cestius), Via del Campo Boario
Seen from the Cimitero acattolico (Non-Catholic Cemetery)
Rome, May 2011

“Dating from the first century BC and built as a tomb for the powerful Roman magistrate Caius Cestius this is Rome's only existing ancient Egyptian-style pyramid. Experts believe that the structure has evaded collapse over the centuries due to it being incorporated into the Aurelian walls in the years 271-275.”

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stay Free

Stay Free by Christopher Frank, East Side Gallery, Mühlenstraße, Berlin
“Stay Free” by Christopher Frank, East Side Gallery
Mühlenstraße, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Berlin Wall - Test the Rest - Bruderkuß - Without Title - Sonic Malade - Vergesst mir die Liebe nicht - Niemandsland - Many Small People - Curriculum Vitae

“In papers due to be filed at a Berlin court this week, the artists say they – and about 80 other painters who decorated the wall shortly after the borders between east and west were opened in November 1989 – were offered €3,000 (£2,700) each by Berlin council to recreate their original murals after the site was overhauled for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall two years ago. The artists were told if they refused to comply, an urban renewal firm contracted by the council would whitewash their work and get someone else to re-create – or ‘forge’, according to the aggrieved artists – the originals. It is not unlike a London borough destroying a piece of Banksy graffiti and then getting it re-created in order to keep the tourists coming.”

Saturday, July 13, 2013

General Electric Building

The crown of the General Electric Building, Lexington Avenue, New York
The crown of the General Electric Building
570 Lexington Avenue
New York, September 2008

“The undoubtedly most striking feature of this 195 m tall building is its, indeed, flamboyant top, a curious mixture of Gothic spires in limestone and brickwork with wavy, filigree style decoration and lightning bolt motifs, depicting the electricity of radio transmission waves sent by the Radio Corporation of America. At night this ‘crown’ of the building is illuminated from within, making the top look like a giant torch.”
(General Electric Building, nyc-architecture)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Peace's Quadriga

Peace riding in a triumphal chariot by François Joseph Bosio, 1828
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
Place du Carrousel, 1er arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

“It was originally surmounted by the famous horses of Saint Mark's Cathedral in Venice, which had been captured in 1798 by Napoleon. In 1815, following the Battle of Waterloo and the Bourbon restoration, France ceded the quadriga to the Austrian empire which had annexed Venice under the terms of the Congress of Vienna. The Austrians immediately returned the statuary to Venice. The horses of Saint Mark were replaced in 1828 by a quadriga sculpted by Baron François Joseph Bosio, depicting Peace riding in a triumphal chariot led by gilded Victories on both sides. The composition commemorates the Restoration of the Bourbons following Napoleon's downfall.”

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pamphilj Family

Coat-of-arms of the Pamphili family, Chiesa di Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, Church of Saint Andrew's at the Quirinal, Rome
Coat-of-arms of the Pamphili family above the entrance of
Sant'Andrea al Quirinale (Saint Andrew's at the Quirinal)
Via del Quirinale
Rome, April 2013

“Pamphilj's presentation of himself as patron is more explicit still in the interior. Above the main entrance, two angels hold up an elegant banderole affirming that Camillo built the church from its very foundations: ‘DIVO ANDREAE APOSTOLO / CAMILLUS PRINCEPS PAMPHILIUS / INNOCENTII X FRATRIS FILIUS / A FUNDAMENTIS EXTRUXIT’. The visitor is thus reminded once again - on his way out - of Camillo's crucial role in the realisation of the new church. In an entirely different fashion, the Pamphilj herald­ry is also incorporated into the rest of the building. As in the church of Sant'Agnese on Piazza Navona, it is an intrinsic part of the sculpture within the church intcrior. The Pamphilj dove nestles in the acanthus leaf of the capitals surmounting columns and pilasters. It also peers out from bencath the laterali of the side chapels, fashioned in white marble and set against a coloured semi-circular background. After centuries of absence, the Pamphilj doves have at last returned to the Quirinal Hill.”
(Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, Papers of the Netherlands Institute in Rome 1921-2002)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Boy with Frog

Boy with Frog by Charles Ray, Punta della Dogana, Venice
“Boy with Frog” by Charles Ray, 2009
Punta della Dogana
Venice, September 2012

“While the sculpture has its fans, it also has detractors. Although classically inspired and seemingly in keeping with much of the city’s art and architecture, some residents missed the lamppost, long a romantic meeting spot. François Pinault, the French luxury goods magnate and collector, commissioned Mr. Ray’s sculpture, made of white-painted stainless steel, after signing a 33-year-agreement with the city to transform the 17th-century Dogana, a former customs house, into an art museum filled with work from his vast collection. It opened in June 2009, on the eve of that year’s Venice Biennale. (Mr. Pinault also oversees the 18th-century Palazzo Grassi, which he opened as an art space in 2007.) Mr. Pinault warned Mr. Ray from the outset that the tip of the Dogana was controlled by the city and that a permit to keep it there would have to be renewed four times a year.”

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lord Raglan

Sign of the Lord Raglan pub, St Martin's Le Grand, City of London
Sign of the Lord Raglan pub, St. Martin's Le Grand
City of London
London, October 2009

“Two other items of clothing have links with the Crimean war. To protect them against the bitter cold, some soldiers persuaded wives or relatives at home to knit them head coverings that left only small holes for eyes and mouth. These became known as balaclavas, after the Crimean port that was the British operational base. Another item whose name appeared at the time was the raglan, a type of overcoat named after Lord Raglan, the British general in the Crimea. The garment was unusual in that the sleeves continued in one piece up to the neck, producing a larger, looser armhole that suited the one-armed general, hence our term raglan sleeve.”
(Cardigan, World Wide Word)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Église Sainte-Claire

Church of Sainte Claire by the architect André le Donné, place de la Porte-de-Pantin, Paris
Church of Sainte Claire, by the architect André le Donné, 1958
Place de la Porte-de-Pantin, 19e arrondissement
Paris, July 2005

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Giano by Pietro Consagra, Largo di Santa Susanna, Rome
“Giano” by Pietro Consagra, 1997
Largo di Santa Susanna
Rome, April 2013

“If you're a tourist pussy and Piazza Bologna's too far off the beaten track, we recommend Pietro Consagra's ‘Giano nel Cuore di Rome,’ available for viewing at the top of the city's financial district at the end of Largo S. Susanna. To get there, begin at Piazza della Republica and walk northwest on via Orlando, ignoring the Moses Fountain (which will no doubt be covered for repairs, anyway) on your right and proceeding on for an additional 50 meters or so, to the ‘Giano.’ Unfortunately, even our big print dictionary provides no hint of what a ‘Giano’ might be, though an urban dicitionary site offers this definition: ‘An interesting gothy type of man. Usually bigger built, but extravagently [sic] gorgeous. Often has a warm heart, but can be pushed toward aggression for the things he loves.’ You can't make this stuff up. We definitely sense some gothy thing going on here. The Zanichelli dictionary offers some help: Giano is Janus, the Roman god who managed the universe by looking forward and backward. Or, as Dianne commented, ‘it looks like gumby.’”
(Rome's Worst Public Sculptures, Rome - The Second Time)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Grillrunner

Grillrunner at the entrance of the Alexa Shopping Center, Berlin
Grillrunner at the entrance of the Alexa Shopping Center
(In background a sculpture by Mirko Siakkou-Flodin)
Berlin, September 2011

“So far, I’ve only seen them walking around in Berlin. Someone told me you used to see them selling hot dogs in every German city, but that was until local governments decided to prohibit them from selling hot dogs in this way because of matters of hygiene. Of course Berlin wouldn’t be Berlin if they wouldn’t lack the apparent general consent on abolishing grillrunners, so it’s apparently the only place in Germany where they are still allowed to sell sausages.”
(The Grillrunner, The Inscription of Light)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Eagles and Prey

Eagles and Prey by Christophe Fratin, Central Park, New York
“Eagles and Prey” by Christophe Fratin, 1850
Central Park
New York, September 2008

Eagles and Prey illustrates the animaliers’ interest in the elemental forces of nature: a helpless goat is caught in the talons of two birds of prey. The work’s rich surface texture and anatomical detail are typical of Fratin’s style. Introduced into Central Park just a year after the park’s Board of Commissioners committee formed to review new statuary, Eagles and Prey was considered by some to be an intrusion. Critic Clarence Cook felt that Fratin’s choice of subject and ‘wild, exotic depictions’ did not fit in with ‘the tranquil rural beauty of the park scenery.’ Eagles and Prey, however, outlasted such initially squeamish sentiments. The sculpture, cleaned and repaired by the Central Park Conservancy in 1992, remains an integral member of the group of 19th and early 20th century statues in and around the Mall.”
(Eagles and Prey, Central Park Conservacy)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Nessus Abducting Deianira

Nessus enlevant Déjanire, Nessus Abducting Deianira by Laurent Marqueste, Tuileries Garden, Paris
Nessus enlevant Déjanire (Nessus abducting Deianira) by Laurent Marqueste, 1892
Le Grand Carré, Tuileries Garden, 1er arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

“Once, when Deianira and Hercules were traveling, they came to the Evenus River. A centaur, Nessos, had been appointed ferryman there. As he carried Deianira across, he tried to assault her, and Hercules, hearing her screams, ran to rescue his damsel in distress. Hercules shot the centaur in the heart with one of his arrows.”
(Deianira, Perseus Project digital library)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Santi Domenico e Sisto

Church of Santi Domenico e Sisto, Saints Dominic and Sixtus, Largo Angelicum, Rome
Church of Santi Domenico e Sisto (Saints Dominic and Sixtus)
Largo Angelicum, Quirinal Hill
Rome, April 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Around Piazza San Marco

Campanile di San Marco (St Mark's Campanile), Piazzetta di San Marco
Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), Ponte della Paglia (Bridge of the Straw)
Venice, September 2012

“From the left transept, follow the signs to the campanile. Just in front of the ticket-office stands the huge statue of an angel that crowned the bell tower until it was struck by lightning in 1993. To the left of the statue, a corridor gives access to the lift that takes you up to the bell tower. The view from the top of the tower is extraordinary: the best possible panorama across Venice itself and the lagoon.”
(San Giorgio Maggiore, Time Out Venice)

Monday, July 1, 2013

The George

The George Pub, Strand, City of Westminster, London
The George on the Strand, est. 1723
213 Strand, City of Westminster
London, October 2009

“Although the design of the building appears to be 18th century it is in fact late Victorian, even the reproduction half-timbered façade. The work was commissioned by the then owner and entrepreneur Frederick Stanley in the late 1890s, following a popular Victorian trend of imitating the timbered style of several centuries earlier. Allegedly the headless ghost of a cavalier haunts the cellar.”
(The George on the Strand, official website)