Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Church of Sant'Alvise, Campo Sant'Alvise, Cannaregio, Venice
Church of Sant'Alvise, Campo Sant'Alvise
Venice, September 2013

“The barco (nuns’ choir) at the back of the church dates from the 15th Century, although the wrought-iron grill is an 18th Century addition. The nuns entered this raised gallery from the convent next door and remained unseen behind the grill for the service. A similar grill low in the right-hand wall allowed them to come down and take the sacrament. The decoration of the rest of the single-nave church dates from the 17th Century - most overwhelming, and a bit incongruous, are the vertiginous trompe l'oeil ceiling frescos by Antonio Torri and Pietro Ricchi. Ruskin hated these works, blaming Veronese for inspiring such later and lesser artists with his superior ceilings.”
(Sant'Alvise, The Churches of Venice)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Audley Mansions

Audley Mansions, Mount Street, Mayfair, London
Audley Mansions, Mount Street, Mayfair
London, September 2014

See also: Tall and Brickish

Sunday, March 29, 2015

30 Hudson Street

Goldman Sachs Tower, 30 Hudson Street, Jersey City, New Jersey
30 Hudson Street or Goldman Sachs Tower
Hudson Street, Jersey City, New Jersey
(Seen from the Staten Island ferry)
New York, September 2007

“If you stand on Eleventh Avenue in the upper Thirties and look south, the new forty-story Goldman Sachs building in Jersey City, on the other side of the Hudson, appears to be at the end of the street. The intimate connection created by the optical illusion (Manhattan starts angling eastward at about Twenty-third Street) works both ways. If you stand at the corner of Grand and Washington Streets in Jersey City, a couple of blocks from the waterfront, the river has pretty much disappeared, and the Woolworth Building looks as if it were just a short walk away. The Goldman Sachs tower, which was designed by Cesar Pelli, is the tallest skyscraper in New Jersey, and, with its graceful profile and elegant glass façade, the most beautiful. You could also say that it is one of the most important new pieces of architecture in lower Manhattan. To just about everyone except the tax authorities, the Jersey City waterfront is a part of New York. Pelli's tower is the anchor of a new city, a kind of Shanghai on the Hudson, that has sprung up over the past decade on what was once industrial land. It is an enormous complex—by far the largest cluster of skyscrapers in the region outside Manhattan.”
(Shanghai on the Hudson by Paul Golderberger, The New Yorker)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

La Prudence

Allegory of Prudence by Aimé Millet, Comptoir national d'escompte, BNP Paribas, rue Bergère, Paris
Allegory of “La Prudence” (The Prudence) by Aimé Millet, 1882
Former Comptoir national d'escompte de Paris, now BNP Paribas
Rue Bergère, 9e arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

See also: Apollon, la Poésie et la Musique

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hercules and Cacus

Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli, Piazza della Signoria, Florence
Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli, 1534
Piazza della Signoria
Florence, October 2013

“Late nineteenth-century critics, devoted to the academic concepts of idealization, harmony and decorum, often saw in the Hercules and Cacus the opposite extremes of ugliness and brutishness. Charles Perkins condemned the statue's ‘vulgarity, pretentiousness, and bad modelling’ and John Addington Symonds referred to it as ‘the wrestling bout of a porter and a coal-heaver.’ This negative approach to Bandinelli's statue is still in force. Nearly every mention of the work in recent art historical or topographical literature is accompanied by a reference to or recitation of the statue's alleged failings, no matter how gratuitious those remarks might be. Kenneth Clark says that the statue is ‘certainly the ugliest Hercules in existence,’ and Franzsepp Wiirtemberger calls it a ‘weak, botched work.’ Even the normally laconic Touring Club of Italy guide to Florence refers to the statue as ‘poco felice.’ While some critical judgments of Bandinelli's statue, such as those byJohn Pope Hennessy or Creighton Gilbert, are undoubtedly due to real evaluations of the work, I suspect that a greater number result from routine repetitions of earlier prejudices.”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Returning to Embrace

Returning to Embrace by Jon Buck, Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London
“Returning to Embrace” by Jon Buck, 1999
Cabot Square, Canary Wharf
London, September 2014

“Jon Buck’s sculpture appears to show a couple locked together, gazing into each other’s eyes. Closer examination reveals a strange fusion of forms, their bodies so far intertwined as to have become a single organism. Central to Buck’s work is an interest in our connection to the natural world and his figures depict not only men and women but also Man and Nature. Long fascinated by art outside the Western tradition, particularly African sculpture, in recent years he has been involved in the Ruwenzori Sculpture Foundation and its foundry project in Western Uganda.”
(Returning to Embrace by Jon Buck, Canary Wharf Group PLC)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Palazzo Valentini

Europa by Sandro Chia, Palazzo Valentini, Via IV Novembre, Rome
“Europa” by Sandro Chia, 2005
Palazzo Valentini, Via IV Novembre
Rome, September 2010

See also: Aeneas and Anchises

“The Palazzo's art treasures include the statue of ‘Ulysses’ by Ugo Attardi, as well as works depicting ‘Aeneas and Anchises’ and ‘Europa’, made by Sandro Chia to commemorate the 135th anniversary of the provincial administration of Rome, now located at the entrance.”
(Palazzo Valentini, Wikipedia)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Main entrance of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, rue Saint-Martin, Paris
Main entrance of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers
(National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts)
Rue Saint-Martin, 3e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

Monday, March 23, 2015

First Lunette

Transportation of the body of St Mark into the church, by unknown artist, first lunette, Basilica di San Marco, St Mark's Basilica, Venice
Transportation of the body of St Mark into the church, by unknown artist, 1270
West façade, first lunette, Basilica di San Marco (St Mark's Basilica)
Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square)
Venice, September 2013

See also: The Last Judgment

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Wallace Collection

Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London
A room of the Wallace Collection
Hertford House, Manchester Square
London, September 2014

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Christian Peter Wilhelm Beuth

Christian Peter Wilhelm Beuth by August Kiss, Schinkelplatz, Berlin
Christian Peter Wilhelm Beuth by August Kiss, 1861
Berlin, September 2011

Friday, March 20, 2015

Oiseau pour Jean-Jacques

Oiseau pour Jean-Jacques by Niki de Saint Phalle, Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris
“Oiseau pour Jean-Jacques” by Niki de Saint Phalle, 1998
Montparnasse Cemetery, 14e arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

“A mon ami Jean-Jacques, un oiseau qui s'est envolé trop tôt, Niki”
(To my friend Jean-Jacques, a bird who has flown too early, Niki)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Porta San Niccolò

Porta San Niccolò, St. Nicholas Gate, Piazza Giuseppe Poggi, Florence
Porta San Niccolò (St. Nicholas Gate)
Piazza Giuseppe Poggi
Florence, October 2013

“The Torre di San Niccolò used to be part of the old city walls that protected Florence. One of the entrance gates to the city as well as a watch station, San Niccolo is the tallest of the ancient city towers still standing today. From June to September this Medieval tower that goes back to 1324 is open for visits. Standing about 60 meters tall (about 200 feet) from the top of the crenellated terrace you get a 360° view of the city. From this unique vantage point along the river you can take in Piazzale Michelangelo's bronze David, the Florence Cathedral, Palazzo Vecchio, the town of Fiesole as well as the Ponte Vecchio and all the other bridges that span the Arno.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ronald Reagan

Statue of Ronald Reagan by Chas Fagan, Grosvenor Square, London
Statue of Ronald Reagan by Chas Fagan, 2011
Outside the U.S. Embassy, Grosvenor Square, Mayfair
London, September 2014

“The statue was commissioned by the Reagan Memorial Fund Trust. Rob Bauer, director of external affairs at the foundation, said: ‘President Reagan always referred to the United States' special relationship with Great Britain, especially his personal friendship with Baroness Thatcher. The Reagan Foundation commissioned the statue to honour that partnership and to celebrate an enduring alliance.’ Mr Reagan died in 2004 at the age of 93, having served as US president between 1981 and 1989. To acknowledge Mr Reagan's contribution to the end of the Cold War, a piece of the Berlin Wall will be installed in front of the statue.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tazza d'Oro

Tazza d'Oro coffee shop, Via degli Orfani, Rome
“Tazza d'Oro” (Golden Cup) coffee shop
Via degli Orfani, Colonna
Rome, April 2013

“La ‘Tazza d'Oro’ boasts some of the best coffee in the capital, which means it's criminally good. A specialty is the granita di caffè, a crushed-ice, sugared coffee served with a generous dollop of cream added both top and bottom.”
(Rome Encounter, Lonely Planet)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Patrolling the Seine

Police patrolling the Seine on a fast boat, seen from the Pont des Arts, Paris
Police patrolling the Seine on a fast boat
Seen from the Pont des Arts
1er arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rio di San Barnaba

Rio di San Barnaba seen from the private bridge of Ca' Rezzonico, Dorsoduro, Venice
Rio di San Barnaba seen from the private bridge of Ca' Rezzonico
In background: Ponte di San Barnaba (Bridge of Saint Barnabas)
On the left: the bell tower of the former church of San Barnaba
On the right: the bell tower of Santa Maria dei Carmini
Venice, September 2013

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Brawn Challenge

Brawn Challenge E-class lifeboat, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, London
“Brawn Challenge” E-class lifeboat of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Seen from the Tower Bridge
London, September 2014

“The English motorsport engineer and Formula One team principal presided over a ceremony which saw the new E-class lifeboat named Brawn Challenge in his honour. In 2010, Ross agreed to become the figurehead for an innovative RNLI fundraising drive entitled ‘The Brawn Lifeboat Challenge’. It involved 10 teams from some of the UK’s leading businesses pitting their entrepreneurial wits against each other in an 8-month fundraising battle to raise the £350,000 cost of a new lifeboat.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

William H. Seward

William H. Seward by Randolph Rogers, Madison Square Park, New York
William H. Seward by Randolph Rogers, 1876
Madison Square Park
New York, September 2007

“An oft told tale which Rogers did little to dispel, was that his statue of Seward was nothing more than a new head added to a copy of a sculpture of Lincoln he had made, installed a few years earlier at Fairmont Park in Philadelphia. While the two works do bear striking similarities, the size of Seward’s body appears too large, and though the proportion of the head to body seem at odds, the works are by no means identical. Seward is depicted seated, cross-legged in a large armchair, books stacked beneath, with pen and parchment at hand. The statue is situated on a large pedestal of variegated Italian marble. More than 250 subscribers, among them General Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) and Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1843–1899), contributed to the monument’s $25,000 cost.”
(William Henry Seward, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

La Faune aux enfants

La Faune aux enfants, The Faun with Cchildren by Yvonne Serruys, rue Louis Blanc, Paris
“La Faune aux enfants” (The Faun with Children) by Yvonne Serruys, 1911
Place T/10 / rue Louis Blanc, 10e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Baptism of Christ

Angel by Innocenzo Spinazzi, Jesus and John the Baptist by Andrea Sansovino, Battistero di San Giovanni, Florence
Jesus and John the Baptist by Andrea Sansovino, 1502
(On the left: Angel by Innocenzo Spinazzi, 1792)
Above the Porta del Paradiso (Gate of Paradise)
Battistero di San Giovanni (Florence Baptistery)
Piazza del Duomo
Florence, October 2013

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Bertrand Russell as “Lucidity”, by Boris Anrep, 1952
Portico of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
London, September 2014

“Between 1928 and 1933, the National Gallery commissioned Anrep to lay two mosaic pavements in the vestibule of the Main Hall to illustrate ‘The Labours of Life’ and ‘The Pleasures of Life’. In 1952, Anrep laid a third pavement, ‘The Modern Virtues’. The resulting mosaics are a celebration of everyday life, which lies underfoot in a busy public place.”
(Mosaics in the Portico, The National Gallery)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Palazzo Ossoli Fountain

Palazzo Ossoli Fountain, Piazza Capodiferro, Rome
Palazzo Ossoli Fountain
Piazza Capodiferro
Rome, April 2013

“This fountain was commissioned by the Spada family. It is in the Regola district, against the front of Palazzo Spada, which was designed by Francesco Borromini. The fountain originally a figure of a woman with Acqua Paola water emanating from her breasts. The Roman sarcophagus is a substitute: the original is in the Vatican. Borromini also designed the fountain. A figure of a lion later replaced the figure of the woman. The lion's head spouts water into the basin, and two other lion's heads spout water into the street-level pool below. An arch inside the brick wall frames the fountain. In 1700 the fountain became inactive, and the lion's heads were removed and the fountain abandoned. It was later restored by an engineer, Adolfo Pernier, using the original elements. In 1998 the present statue was made by Giuseppe Ducrot from Carrara marble. The model for the statue was a 17th-century work that depicted a nymph whose nipples were water springs.”
(Marvin Pulvers, Roman Fountains)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Two Swans

Two swans with a duck, quai d'Orléans, Île Saint-Louis, Paris
Two swans with a duck, quai d'Orléans
Île Saint-Louis, 4e arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rio de l'Alboro

Private bridge, Rio de l'Alboro, Rio de le Ostreghe, Venice
Private bridge with the Grand Canal in background
Rio de l'Alboro (Rio de le Ostreghe), San Marco
Venice, September 2013

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tall and Brickish

Audley Mansions, Mount Street, Mayfair, London
Audley Mansions by John Thomas Wimperis, 1884-86
Mount Street, Mayfair
London, September 2014

“Bradley and Pevsner's only comment on the building is that it is ‘tall and brickish,’ but one could also apply their description of the style of a nearby building by this same speculator-architect as ‘go-anywhere’.”
(J.T. Wimperis, The Victorian Web)

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Lebensalter, Südbrunnen, Ages of life, South Fountain by Waldemar Grzimek, Hartmut Bonk, Fee Franck and Christian Höpfner, Wittenbergplatz, Berlin
“Lebensalter” or “Südbrunnen” (Ages of life - South Fountain) by Waldemar Grzimek
Wittenbergplatz, Schöneberg
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Lebensalter - Südbrunnen

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Le Porteur de viande

Le Porteur de viande, The Meat Porter by Albert Bouquillon, Parc Georges-Brassens, Paris
“Le Porteur de viande” (The Meat Porter) by Albert Bouquillon, 1991
Parc Georges-Brassens, 15e arrondissement
Paris, July 2014

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Zodiac Wheel

Opus sectile zodiac, basilica of San Miniato al Monte, St. Minias on the Mountain, viale dei Colli, Florence
The wheel of the zodiac from the opus sectile pavement
San Miniato al Monte (St. Minias on the Mountain)
Viale dei Colli
Florence, April 2014

See also: San Miniato al Monte - Inside San Miniato

Opus sectile is an art technique popularized in the ancient and medieval Roman world where materials were cut and inlaid into walls and floors to make a picture or pattern. Common materials were marble, mother of pearl, and glass. The materials were cut in thin pieces, polished, then trimmed further according to a chosen pattern. Unlike tessellated mosaic techniques, where the placement of very small uniformly sized pieces forms a picture, opus sectile pieces are much larger and can be shaped to define large parts of the design.”
(Opus sectile, Wikipedia)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winged Figure

Winged Figure by Barbara Hepworth, John Lewis department store, Holles Street at Oxford Street, London
Winged Figure” by Barbara Hepworth, 1963
John Lewis department store
Holles Street at Oxford Street
London, September 2015

“In 1961 John Lewis commissioned the Yorkshire-born artist to create a work that evoked common interest and ownership. Over the past 50 years the artwork has become part of the Oxford Street landscape, since it was unveiled to the public in 1963. Placed 13 feet above the busy cross-section between Holles Street and Oxford Street, it is estimated that the sculpture is seen by 200 million people a year.”
(John Lewis Oxford Street and The Hepworth Wakefield celebrate 50 years of Winged Figure, Hepworth Wakefield)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sant’Isidoro a Capo le Case

Sant’Isidoro a Capo le Case, Via degli Artisti, Rome
Sant’Isidoro a Capo le Case
Via degli Artisti
Rome, May 2012

“Sant’Isidoro a Capo le Case is a Franciscan monastic complex and college in the Ludovisi district on the Pincian Hill in Rome. Its church building is the Irish national church in Rome. It contains the Cappella Da Sylva, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who also designed the funerary monument of his son Paolo Valentino Bernini in it.”