Prof Sabine Frommel
Models, that were conserved in churches, palaces or public buildings, had an afterlife, that is almost unstudied. A lot of painted architectural representations in pictures, drawings and inlays seem connected to them, because it would have been easier to assimilate models in reduced scale into an illusionistic space than using the drawings and sketches produced by observing realized buildings. Furthermore, the model permits different perceptions of space and volume: one can look at it from various points of view and appreciate it from below and above, frontally or diagonally, and so choose the best angle for the two-dimensional representation. One can even move the model into another light setting to rediscover some of its specificities. The painter can decide to document it faithfully or to use it for further invention or variation. In any case, he can check precisely the effect of volume and space and fit it in a convincing way to the painted episodes and its figures.
Painted models could also refer to architectural competitions – where an important number of models had been produced – which invited artists and citizens to opine about new architectural patterns and debates. After the winning project had been announced, the others lingered around without purpose. The owner could collect their model to recycle the materials, but in other cases anyone could take it away and make other use of them.
A painted model allowed the artist to evoke an event in a precise geographical place, or to represent a new construction or restoration. It is also possible that painter-architects referred to their own projects. For instance, the church presented in the drawing of The presentation of the Virgin in the temple from 1332-1338 (Paris, Louvre) of Taddeo Gaddi resembles an architectural model in scale. The internal space – both structure and volume – are clearly visible and allow an excellent understanding of the whole edifice. It seems to be linked to the competitive climate in Florence during this period and could refer to a project proposal for Santa Maria del Fiore: it may be that the painter aimed to eternalize his proposal and feign a place among the eventual participants.
Painting offered also a suitable medium to experiment with centralized churches, a favoured subject during the Renaissance. The buildings in Perugino’s The key handover to Saint Peter (Sixtine Chapel), the Betrothal of the Virgin of Raphael or the circular church in the centre of the ideal city of Giuliano da Sangallo (Urbino) seem to be painted according to an architectural model, referring perhaps to projects drawn by these artists. Sangallo conceived a similar project for a mausoleum about 1504, and it seems that there was a complex process of mutual assimilation between drawing, model and adoption in painting.
Representations of models could also assume a political significance. The tapestry of Dante Squilli according to drawings of Stradano shows Lorenzo de Medici beside the model of his Villa at Poggio a Caiano, discussing it with the architect Giuliano da Sangallo. The patron, the duke of Tuscany, wanted to remember the culture of his illustrious ancestor – a significant promoter of the renewal of architectural typologies and patterns – and the important tradition of the dynasty.
Another theme that was highly appreciated, also for official programs, was the festive presentation or handover of an architectural model from the architect to the patron, like Brunelleschi and Ghiberti present the model of San Lorenzo to Cosimo the Elder (Florence, Palazzo Vecchio) or Domenico Passignano’s Michelangelo presents the model of Saint Peters of Paul IV to (Florence, Casa Buonarotti), Giambologna Buontalenti presents the model of the façade of the cathedral of Florence to the Grant Duke Francesco de’ Medici (Museo degli Argenti). In such cases it symbolizes in an emphatic manner the qualities inherent in every architectural project: prosperity, future and esprit d’entreprise. The models shown in such paintings often were lost. Sometimes they don’t correspond to definitive version of the project and allow us to understand previous states of the projects. These various testimonies have never been taken into consideration in a coherent manner and are suitable for deepening our knowledge of the function of architectural models in the modern period too.
- Fabrizio Ballabio and Alessandro Conti, ‘Sentimental Education’, AA Files, No. 73 (2016) 129-13.
- Mathieu Berteloot and Véronique Patteeuw, ‘Form / Formless. Peter Zumthor’s Models’,OASE, Vol. 91 (2013), 83–92.
- Edward Bottoms, ‘The Royal Architectural Museum in the Light of New Documentary Evidence’, Journal of the History of Collections 1(2007) 115-139.
- Stefano Brusaporci, Mario Centofanti, and Vittorio Lucchese, ‘Architectural Heritage and 3D Models’ in P. Di Giamberardino, D. Iacoviello, R. N. Jorge, J. M. R. S. Tavares, eds. Computational Modeling of Objects Presented in Images: Fundamentals, Methods and Applications (New York, 2014) 31–49
- Peter Carroll, ‘On models’, Building Material, No. 15 (Autumn 2006) 16–17.
- Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine, La maquette : un outil au service du projet architectural : actes du colloque qui s’est tenu les 20-21 mai 2011 à la Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine (Paris, 2015).
- Helen Dorey, ‘Sir John Soane’s Model Room’, Perspecta 41 (2008), 46, 26, 92-93, 170-171.
- John Elsner, ‘A Collector’s Model of Desire: The House and Museum of Sir John Soane’, in J. Elsner and R.Cardinal eds., The Cultures of Collecting (London, 1994) pp. 155-176.
- Teresa Fankhänel, ‘OMA – House at Checkpoint Charlie’, in Oliver Elser, and Peter Cachola Schmal eds., Das Architektur Modell: Werkzeug, Fetisch, kleine Utopie – The Architectural Model: Tool, Fetish, Small Utopia (Frankfurt am Main, 2012) pp.72–75.
- Kenneth Frampton and Silvio Kolbowski, eds., Idea as Model (New York, 1980).
- Sabine Frommel, (ed) Les Maquettes d’architecture (Paris, 2015).
- James Griesemer, ‘3-D Models in Philosophical Perspective’, in S. Chadarevian and N. Hopwood eds., Models: The Third Dimension of Science (Redwood City, CA, 2004) pp.433–442.
- Robert Harbison, Thirteen Ways: Theoretical Investigations in Architecture (Cambridge, Mass., 1997).
- Tim Knox, ‘Cockerell’s Model for Langton: A House for the Dorsetshire Nimrod’, The Georgian Group Journal 3 (1993) 62-67.
- Valentin Kockel, ‘Plaster Models and Plaster Casts of Classical Architecture and its Decoration’, in R. Frederiksen and E. Marchand eds., Plaster Casts: Making, Collecting and Displaying from Classical Antiquity to the Present(Berlin / New York, 2010) pp.419–434.
- Fiona Leslie, ‘Inside Outside: Changing Attitudes Towards Architectural Models in the Museums at South Kensington’, Architectural History, 47 (2004), 159-200.
- Amanda Lillie and Mauro Mussolin, ‘The Wooden Models of Palazzo Strozzi as Flexible Instruments in the Design Process’, in Amedeo Belluzzi, Caroline Elam, Francesco Paolo Fiore, eds. Giuliano da Sangallo (Milan, 2017) pp.210–229.
- Henry A. Millon, ‘Models in Renaissance Architecture,’ in H. A. Millon and V. Magnago Lampugnani, eds., Italian Renaissance Architecture: from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo. (London: 1994; reprinted w/o catalogue 1996).
- Karen Moon, Modelling Messages. The Architect and the Model (New York, 2005).
- Mark Morris, Models: Architecture and the Miniature (London, 2006).
- Mark Morris, ‘Worlds Collide: Reality to Model to Reality’, in A. Higgott and T. Wray eds., Camera Constructs: Photography, Architecture and the Modern City (London, 2012) pp.179-194.
- Tom Porter and John Neale, Architectural Supermodels (London, 2000).
- John Physick and Michael Darby, ‘The Victorian Architectural Model’ in J. Physick and M. Darby, Marble Halls: Drawings and Models for Victorian Secular Buildings (London, 1973).
- Albert Smith, Architectural Model as Machine (Amsterdam, 2004).
- Simona Valeriani, ‘Three-dimensional Models as ‘in-between-objects’: The Creation of in-between Knowledge in Early Modern Architectural Practice’, History of Technology 31 (2011) 26-46.
- Thomas Weaver, ‘Model-maker Grimm’, AA Files, Vol.73 (2016) 94–100.
- Reinhard Wendler, Das Modell zwischen Kunst und Wissenschaft (Munich, 2013)
- John Wilton-Ely, ‘The Architectural Models of Sir John Soane: A Catalogue’, Architectural History 12 (1969) 5-38 + 81-101.
Musée des Plans-reliefs –