41, Como, Cathedral, transept, studies of interior

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Inscribed ‘COMO CATHEDRAL/TRANCEPT [sic] INTERIOR’, with other notes in pencil, 230x160mm.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore, constructed in white marble, was begun in the gothic style in 1396 but remodelled from 1486 by the Lombard Renaissance architects Tomaso Rodari of Maroggia (fl. 1487-1526) and Cristoforo Solari (1460-1527). Rodari designed the choir and transepts which were modified by Solari but completed during the sixteenth - seventeenth centuries.

In his diary Mackintosh noted: ‘Como Cathedral very good…Trancepts [sic] & chancel very good renaissance work.’ ('Diary', 26 June). Throughout his Italian tour Mackintosh exhibited a preference for early Renaissance work over later, more developed, classicism. He shared this preference with the Glasgow architect and historian William James Anderson (c.1863-1900), the previous winner of the Alexander Thomson Scholarship. Like Anderson he probably admired Como Cathedral for its ‘restraint’, a characteristic, according to the latter, of the ‘true architect’.

Mackintosh’s drawing: profile of cornice (top left); bay of transept (left centre); oculus of upper storey transept window (top centre right); baluster from upper storey (top right); plan of upper storey window (centre right); plan of transept/choir (bottom right).

The arcading of the upper storey window was a possible source for the interior of the upper storey of Mackintosh’s 1892 Soane Medallion competition ‘Design for a Chapter House’.

Other sketches from the Cathedral

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