42, Como, Cathedral, north transept, studies of exterior

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Inscribed ‘COMO CATHEDRAL/EXTERIOR OF TRANCEPT [sic]’, 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 by the Lombard Renaissance architects Tomaso Rodari of Maroggia (fl. 1487-1526) and Cristoforo Solari (1460-1527) from 1486. Rodari designed the choir and transepts which were modified by Solari but completed during the sixteenth - seventeenth centuries. The previous Alexander Thomson scholarship holder, William James Anderson, felt that they demonstrated the ‘restraint of the true architect’ in their control of the elements of the design in its use of ‘deep buttresses…corbelled-out figures, fanciful pinnacles’; remarking on how the ‘massive solidity and simplicity of the lower part of the building’ was opposed to ‘the delicate richness of the sky-line’ (‘The Architecture of the Renaissance in Italy’, 3rd ed. (London: Batsford, 1901) pp. 53-4).

Mackintosh’s drawing: roof of transept (top left); profile and elevational detail of upper part of main cornice (middle left); profile and elevational detail of lower part of main cornice (bottom left); bay of transept (top centre); profile of moulding around uppermost circular window (top right); profile and elevational detail of string course above main cornice (upper right centre); profile of moulding of sill under arcaded windows (lower right centre); sculptured figure on main cornice (bottom right).

This drawing, including the figure sculpture, was the major source for the exterior of Mackintosh’s ‘Design for a Chapter House’, entered for the R.I.B.A. Soane Medallion Competition of 1892.

Other sketches from the Cathedral

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