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Architectural Renderings with Inherent Beauty

BU Art Gallery show chronicles centuries of artistry


In the slide show above, historic representations are celebrated for their style, as well as their functionality.

Federal, Victorian, Arts and Crafts, International. Each historic period reflects changing styles and tastes in home building, and each home becomes a time capsule.

The crafts of home building and architecture keep evolving, says Keith Morgan. The efficiency of technology has replaced the artistry of architectural renderings. That artistry of the past, shown in hand-drawn examples, color added with brushes and pencils, lines the walls of the Boston University Art Gallery at the Stone Gallery through January 17, 2010.

Drawing Toward Home: Designs for Domestic Architecture from Historic New England features 100 drawings of houses selected from the collections of Historic New England, the country’s oldest and largest regional heritage organization. The drawings celebrate Boston-area houses still standing, and also represent the only remaining artifacts from homes that have met the wrecking ball. They range from the late 18th through the 20th centuries, from estates and modest single-family houses to summer cottages and multifamily dwellings.

“This exhibition gives students a laboratory of images,” says Morgan, director of architecture studies in the College of Arts & Sciences art history department, who will give a gallery talk today, Wednesday, December 2, at 4 p.m. at the gallery. “Rather than seeing digitized images in a dark room, these are real objects.”

The exhibition celebrates Historic New England’s centennial year, which begins in January, and the American and New England Studies Program’s 40th year on campus. Along with a gallery talk by Lorna Condon, Historic New England curator of library archives, on Tuesday, December 15, at 4 p.m., also at the gallery, a campus symposium in January will bring together curators to discuss the role of architecture.

Drawing Toward Home: A Symposium on Designs for Domestic Architecture from Historic New England will be held January 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the George Sherman Union Conference Auditorium, second floor, 775 Commonwealth Ave. Key scholars involved with Drawing Toward Home will share their research, including the exhibition’s chief curator, James F. O’Gorman, a Wellesley College professor emeritus, who will give an overview lecture. Christopher Monkhouse, Eloise W. Martin curator of European decorative arts at the Art Institute of Chicago, will discuss the history of the exhibition of architectural drawings in New England. Lorna Condon, Historic New England curator of library archives, will talk about the role of collecting architectural drawings in the organization. Debora Mayer, Harvard’s Helen Glaser senior paper conservator, who prepared the drawings for exhibition, will share the challenge of maintaining architectural records. The symposium, sponsored by the Boston University Humanities Foundation, is free and open to the public.

Drawing Toward Home is on display at the BU Art Gallery through January 17, 2010, and is free and open to the public. The BUAG, 855 Commonwealth Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; it is closed for all BU holidays, as well as during winter intersession.

Kim Cornuelle can be reached at kcornuel@bu.edu.

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