Architecture and Ornamentation drawings from the National Library of the XIX century

Proyecto de edificio monumental (ca.1800-1830)
Monumental Building project (ca.1800-1830)

This new exhibition of the National Library – curated by Pedro Moleón and Isabel García-Toraño – is articulated in seven different sections: Personalities, Academy (which is divided into three sections: Classical Orders, Architecture and Perspective and Obtaining the title of architect in The Royal Academy of San Fernando), The Journey (divided in turn into Spain Journey and Travelling outside Spain), Funerary Architectures, Projects to be Built, Drawings of Ornamentation and The Library Palace and National Museums. In the presentation, Pedro Moleón explained that

“in the assembly of the exhibition, each time the sections change, the color changes. We associate each of the parts of the exhibition with a particular color”.

The BNE [National Library] had no official direct relationship with any activity linked to architecture or architects, since its foundational purpose was another. However, its Department of Fine Arts and Cartography has an important collection of architectural and ornamentation drawings, which comes from archives and private collections, legacies, donations and purchases. In relation to the Nineteenth Century, the complete history of Spanish architecture of that century cannot be built with this background of drawings, but the set of plans preserved here complements in a very significant way the one that is typical of other institutions.

In the first section of the exhibition, the main architects who were active in Madrid  during the first third of the 19th century are shown, whose works have a direct relationship with the monarchs they served. In the second – the cycle called Academies – and according to Pedro Moleón’s words,

“works that are all related to the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando’s life in Madrid, the place where future architects were trained, where they received their degree, and where moreover – especially since 1786 – a control over all projects that were related to public buildings was exercised: theaters, museums … “.

The area dedicated to The Journey comprises a collection of works that, according to Isabel García-Toraño explains,

“shows the importance that the trip had in the Nineteenth Century”.

On the one hand, the Tour of Spain,

“in which architects and painters gave testimony of how the country was at that time, artistic and documentary testimony of the state of our monuments, image of the great deterioration after the confiscations that took place in the XIX century”.

And, on the other hand, the Travel outside Spain, since

“the trip to Italy, as cradle of the Antiquity, was forced for the formation of the architects”.

Below is the section Funerary Architectures, which features drawings of mausoleums, pantheons, chambers, crypts and tomb chapels; and Projects to be Built. Finally, you can see the sections of Drawings of Ornamentation, which is based on projects with ornamental proposals; and Library Palace and National Museums, which focuses on the plans and architectural projects of the building that today houses the National Library.

The Arquia Foundation and the Friends of the BNE Foundation have collaborated in the exhibition. It is part of a research project that gives continuity to the catalogs of drawings of architecture and ornamentation of the XVI, XVII and XVIII centuries – preserved in the Library, already made and published – and implies the edition of a new XIX century catalog in 2016. It is the culmination of a tudy and cataloging project that began in 1991.

Dates.- From October 28th to January 22nd 2017.
Tuesday to Saturday from 10 to 20 h.
Sunday and holidays from 10 to 14 h.
Last pass half an hour before closing.

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