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Talks & Ideas

Parenthèse (histoire/architecture): Unessential colours

Thursday 3 November 2016 17:30-19:00

To celebrate the year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016, we are delighted to welcome Basile Baudez, lecturer in history and University Paris Sorbonne for a talk on a history of colour in French architectural drawings from 16th to 19th Centuries.

Architectural historians have focused on the history of drawing as one of project design tools. By applying the methods of art history, this conference traces colour as a key player in the long history of rivalry and exchange between European traditions in architectural drawing and practice.

While Italian Renaissance drawings were largely monochrome and developed their conventions under pressure from engravers, the seventeenth-century European situation presents a stark contrast between a colourful German and Dutch world around architect-painters’ designs that influenced French and Spanish draughtsmanship and a still largely monochrome tradition in Italy and England. At the end of Louis XIV’s reign, French architects adopted a series of colour conventions taken from the engineers, largely for informational purposes. In the middle of the eighteenth century, however, a colour revolution took place, one in which a new generation of architects who were working alongside painters developed a wide chromatic range that was no longer limited to informing the worker but to persuading academic juries and gain commissions.

This eighteenth-century French employment of colour laid the foundation for Beaux-Arts architectural drawings in the first half of the nineteenth century, at a moment when English architectural drawings, too, adopted colour in response to the English watercolour movement.

Talk in French by Basile Baudez
90 mins (incl. Q&A)
PLEASE BOOK IN ADVANCE : 0131 225 5366 or info ifecosse.org.uk

image: Un escalier de palais, par Emmanuel Brune, coupe longitudinale, 1863 (Paris, ENSBA)

Institut Français Écosse 2022