Architecture on Display: Palladio in NYC

Palladio-arch The collection of drawings by architecture legend Andrea Palladio at the Morgan Library & Museum is a true architectural treat. I was lucky enough to be able to slip away from the office and attend the press preview last Thursday, April 1 (April Fool’s Day no less) to catch a peek.

The Palladio and His Legacy: A Transatlantic Journey exhibition, which is making it’s New York debut, features 31 of the architect’s original drawings from the Royal Institute of British Architects, along with rare architectural texts, to depict Palladio’s career and personal journey through design. The drawings center on ancient Roman architecture, which Palladio studied during his multiple trips to Italy, and highlight his dedication to studying the principles of proportion and stylistic beauty.

Palladio was convinced (and rightly so) that by studying antiquity, he could solve practical design problems of the times. One such example is the need to expand column shafts, which were used to support roofs and overhangs. In one of his drawings, Palldio depicts how the Roman’s were able to extend the shaft with leaf detailing (seen on Corinthian style columns) to add support above the portico.

What really fascinated me (not already being familiar with Palladio in the least) is the vast influence this architect had on American architecture. The exhibit featured small models of buildings from colonial times to the present day that represent American Palladianism, such as the Pantheon, Villa Rotunda, and Jefferson's unrealized design for the White House.

The exhibit is open to the public and will run through August 1. Lecture and discussions on the exhibit will be held periodically, with a schedual available at

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