'The Classical Orders: Myth, Meaning and Beauty in the Drawings of Sir John Soane' at the Tchoban Foundation

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'The Classical Orders: Myth, Meaning and Beauty in the Drawings of Sir John Soane' at the Tchoban Foundation
Sir John Soane’s Office, Royal Academy lecture drawing, The Primitive Hut. Pencil, pen and coloured wash on laid paper.

BERLIN.- This new temporary loan exhibition at the Museum for Architectural Drawing is the fourth cooperation project with Sir John Soane Museum in London and is dedicated to a series of remarkable drawings produced by John Soane (1753 – 1837) and his Office. Soane was the leading neo-classical architect in late Georgian Britain, and many of the drawings included were produced for his lectures given as Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts between 1809 and 1820 to illustrate classical architectural orders. The orders are a series of architectural styles developed in the ancient Greece and adopted by the Romans. For Soane, a proper understanding of the three primary ancient orders – Doric, Ionic and Corinthian - was central to the practice of architecture. This exhibition uses the extensive architectural drawings collection from Sir John Soane’s Museum in London to introduce the classical orders, explore the legends behind their origins and examine their use in Soane’s work.

The classical orders derive from ancient temple architecture, in particular its use of columns and entablature to support the roof. The different orders are distinguished by the ways in which the columns, with their bases, shafts and capitals, and entablature are decorated. Although the only classical treatise on architecture to survive from antiquity – the Roman architect Vitruvius’ De Architectura (On Architecture), c.25 BC – lists just four orders, most writers on architecture list five: The Tuscan order, the Doric order, the Ionic order, the Corinthian order and the Composite order.

The exhibition consists of 30 loans from Sir John Soane Museum.

The curators of the exhibition at the Museum for Architectural Drawing are Louise Stewart (Sir John Soane’s Museum) and Nadejda Bartels (Museum for Architectural Drawing).

Sir John Soane’s house and collection at No. 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields has been a national museum since the early nineteenth century. Designed by renowned architect Sir John Soane and filled with his world-class collection of paintings, sculpture, artefacts and models, the Museum retains the same fabric and design as at the time of Soane’s death in 1837. Today, the Museum encourages access to Soane’s legacy in its broadest sense: architecture and design, creative originality, a commitment to learning and enquiry, and the connections between past and present that the Museum and its collections reveal.

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