architecture

365 Days of Art: December 31 – Brunelleschi Wins Competition to Top Duomo with Lantern

December 31, 1436 Wardens for the Santa Maria Fiore cathedral meet in Florence to award the winner of a competition to top the Duomo with a lantern. There are five entries, and Brunelleschi wins. This is a like an Oscar-winner having to audition for a bit part, though: Brunelleschi has already built the duomo, inventing

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Technical drawing of various gears and machinery shown from different angles.

365 Days of Art: December 7 – Judges Consider Brunelleschi’s Proposal for Duomo

December 7, 1418 Judges consider the model that Brunelleschi submits for the competition to build a Duomo for Florence’s cathedral. His proposal includes not only building techniques to make such a large structure possible (a self-supporting shell with a rib structure, and using brick laid in rotating herringbone patterns) but also the use of machines

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Three similar paintings depict a man nearly enclosed by a transparent structure, which is situated within a larger empty room.

365 Days of Art: November 12 – Art Forger Convicted, Replica of David Installed on Roof as Originally Intended, Bacon Sets Auction Record

November 12, 1947 Han van Meegeren, one of the most famous art forgers ever, is convicted of fraud and sentenced to a just one year in prison. He never serves any time, since he dies of a heart attack on December 30, before going to prison. November 12, 2010 A fiberglass replica of David is

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365 Days of Art: October 10 – Leonardo Shows Three Paintings to Possible Patron, Watts Towers Kill Stress Test

October 10, 1517 Leonardo shows three of his paintings to the Cardinal of Aragon: Portrait of a Florentine Lady commissioned by Giuliano de’ Medici, Young St. John the Baptist, and St. Anne. October 10, 1959 Before the planned demolition of Watts Towers, a DIY art project created over 34 years by one man without the

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Aerial view of Duomo in Florence, Italy.

365 Days of Art: August 19 – Art Competition to Design Duomo is Announced

August 19, 1418 An art competition is announced in Florence to design a dome over the unfinished cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The reason it has been incomplete for 140 years, since 1296, is because current technology (centering and buttressing) can’t yet bridge a span that large without collapsing. This is an ingenious problem,

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

365 Days of Art: August 14 – Construction Begins on the Not-Yet-Leaning Tower of Pisa

August 14, 1173 Construction begins on the Tower of Pisa. They don’t know it at the time, but the work won’t be completed for 199 years! At this point, the foundation and first floor are begun, but are poorly thought out and executed. The soil is unstable, and the foundation only measures three meters; together,

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The winged, headless statue of Nike of Samothrace.

365 Days of Art: April 15 – Brunelleschi Dies, Da Vinci is Born, Nike of Samothrace is Unearthed, Impressionists Exhibit Together, and Thomas Hart Benton Reveals Himself to Be a Fool (Again)

April 15, 1446 Filippo Brunelleschi, father of Renaissance architecture and engineer of the Duomo, dies. April 15, 1452 Leonardo da Vinci is born. April 15, 1863 An excavation on the Greek island of Samothrace unearthed a winged female statue carved from white marble, known as the Nike of Samothrace, or Winged Victory of Samothrace. It’s

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Raphael's painting of his lover, La Fornarina.

365 Days of Art: April 6 – Raphael Dies; Cracks Appear in Vatican Walls

April 6, 1520 Raphael dies at age 37, after a night in which he “indulged in more than his usual excess” according to the biographer Vasari. The excess in question was not only the usual suspects, but particularly Raphael’s mistress Margherita Luti, known as La Fornarina (the baker’s daughter). Vasari alleges that Raphael didn’t tell

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Aerial view of Duomo in Florence, Italy.

365 Days of Art: April 5 – Lightning Strikes Duomo; Portends Medici Death

April 5, 1492 The Duomo of Santa Maria de Fiore is struck by lightning, causing several tons of marble to fall to the street on the north side of cupola, in the direction of Villa Careggi. This is the home of Lorenzo de’ Medici, grandson of Cosimo de’ Medici, whose patronage made the Duomo possible.

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Aerial view of Duomo in Florence, Italy.

365 Days of Art: March 25 – Brunelleschi’s Duomo is Consecrated by Pope

March 25, 1436 The finished Duomo (dome), designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flowers) is consecrated. Pope Eugenius, along with seven cardinals, 37 bishops, art patron Cosimo d’Medici, and nine members of the Florentine government, dedicated the Cathedral and its dome to Mary. In Catholicism,

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

365 Days of Art: February 27 – Italy Requests Aid for Leaning Tower of Pisa

February 27, 1964 The government of Italy requested aid in preventing the Tower of Pisa from falling over, as the slant of the famously leaning tower had continued to grow over the years. It was considered important to stop subsequent leaning while retaining the current tilt; it wouldn’t do for this tourist attraction to suddenly

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