Architecture in Paintings

I’ve always been fascinated by art. Going to museums has been my favourite Sunday activity for ages, i find confort in museums. As architecture is always playing in a secind plane in my brain, I cannot help thinking about it when it comes to art. I now pay closer attention to contructive details in paintings, the role of architecture in a certain work of art.

I’ve mentioned it a couple times in this blog, but for me, architecture is a form of art, maybe the most meaningful one, as in some way or another, there are always references to architecture in other forms of art; today I am focusing on direct references to architecture in paintings. I will be doing a route by the History of Art, chronologically.

6 Examples of architecture in paintings - Sheet4
The School of Athens, Raphael

The Renaissance was the time where perspective was invented (don’t get me wrong, perspective existed before, it was just that nobody used it correctly). With this new tool, artists could represent more accurately reality, with proportion and symmetry, which ruled renaissance art, paintings were usually made with buildings framing the main scene. Architecture was also used to put into practice perspective rules, creating an armonious painting, representing the perfectly built construction.

In this work in particular, we can appreciate perpective, with concentric archs that get progressively smaller. An arch also serves as the frame that gives the composition stability and centres the main action and scene.

This use of architecture to frame or use perspective slowly changes over time. Now it is not a backgroung element, it slowly drags itself to the main plane. Perspective rules are left behind in benefit of expression. Take as an example this De Chirico painting, where architeecture gives us a weird impression. This square looks familiar but odd at the same time. We are used to classical shapes like the roman archs used in the painting; but the incorrect perspective, the contrast between the lightness if the building and the shadows, and the proportions of the buildings arouse an alarm in our brain. With all of this I want to explain that during surrealism (and metaphisic art, like this one), architecture is used as a form if expression, a vehicle to create a weird dreamy scape.

the same goes for this René Magritte’s work, architecture takes us back to a dream, the space between sleep and awakeness.

During the 20 century art diversifies so much that is is impossible to group it all in a same current. This paintings you can see below are by David Hockney, a Pop artist. In his works, architecture is like any other object belonging to the american pop culture. To Warhol, pop culture was represented in his paintings by soup cans, star icons, and coca cola; to hockney, they were the L.A typicall homes, pools, low familiar houses. So, architecture is once again used with a purpose, represent american culture.