Comparison of the Guggenheim Museum, New York and the National Gallery, London

Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
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Throughout history, galleries have exhibited originative architectural signifier at its best. In fact the architecture of many galleries can be considered to be a piece of art itself. Both the Guggenheim Museum in New York, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the National Gallery in London, designed by William Wilkins, are indispensable edifices in architectural history. Despite being stylistically in resistance the aim of both these constructions is to expose adult male 's extreme originative accomplishments. By comparing and contrasting their economic, cultural, political and historical fortunes, I will analyze the architectural similarities and differences between the National Gallery, a gallery of the nineteenth century and the Guggenheim, a gallery of the twentieth century.

The National Gallery and the Guggenheim museum were designed and built in several cultural conditions that immensely influenced their development and building. The art and civilization of 1960 's New York was blossoming into a period of booming Modernism and Minimalism. The Guggenheim Museum presents a brilliant rendering of the architectural manners of its epoch with 'it 's snail- like exterior and coiling incline inside ( Wilkinson 2009 ) . The Guggenheim separated itself from New York 's conventional constructions of 'skyscrapers and brownstones, of consecutive avenues and rectangular metropolis blocks, this is a construction based on circles and spirals ' ( Wilkinson 2009 ) . The Guggenheim museum was built to house the Guggenheim aggregation and was designed to be an iconic museum 'unlike any other ' ( Wilkinson 2009 ) , nevertheless, the National Gallery in London was ab initio built as a position symbol. In the early 19th century, king George IV recognised that art galleries were being built and opened to the populace in legion European metropoliss. In 1824 George Iv, non desiring the state to look inferior, persuaded the English authorities to buy, the first abode of The National Gallery, the house of the merely deceased art aggregator John Julius Angerstein. Angerstein 's House was ridiculed by the imperativeness due to the size of the edifice in comparing to other European Galleries of its epoch. Therefore, in 1831 it was determined by Parliament to build a new edifice for the National Gallery on the site of the King 's Mews in Charing Cross, on Trafalgar Square.

The location of the construction is a important factor for both undertakings. During the eighteenth century there was a huge societal and cultural divide between the citizens of London. The site of King 's Mews in Charing Cross, on Trafalgar Square was chiefly selected to enable the National Gallery to be accessed by citizens of all societal categories. Situated between the affluent West End and low-level countries to the E, the location was highly of import to the undertaking. However, due to a barracks and a workhouse being located straight behind the Kings Mews, the site simply allowed the construction to be one room in breadth. Besides the porticoes on the eastern and western surfaces of the facade were erected to let entree to the public right of manner that ran through the edifice significantly impacting its design. On the other manus, Frank Lloyd Wright was clearly displeased by New York being the location for the Guggenheim as "to Wright the metropolis was overbuilt, overpopulated, and lacked architectural virtue" ( Drutt 2014 ) . Wright was more accustomed to planing architecture for distant countries of the United States as about all of his old edifices had non been located in the hum of a big metropolis. Nevertheless, Wright decided on the current site of Fifth Avenue between 88th and 89th Streets as its propinquity to Central Park was indispensable. Wright believed that Central Park was every bit near as you could acquire to the natural universe in New York and that it offered a sanctuary from the bunco and hustle of the metropolis.

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There is a immense contrast in exterior architectural design and manner between the outsides of Wilkins and Wrights constructions. Willard huntington wrights is non merely placed close to the most natural portion of New York but besides draws its inspiration from nature. 'The Guggenheim Museum is an incarnation of Wright 's efforts to render the built-in malleability of organic signifiers in architecture ' ( Drutt 2014 ) . The exterior focal point of the museum is a strengthened concrete spiral, smaller at the underside and broadening towards the top making a in writing, shell like exterior swirling towards the sky. Wright 's construction appears to be reminiscent of an upside-down zikkurat as the shell like outside of this Guggenheim is similar to the consecutive phases of the Mesopotamian temples that day of the month back from the 3rd millenary B.C. This may be due to Rebays petition for Wright to construct a "temple of the humanistic disciplines" as referenced by Jane Turner in the Grove Dictionary of Art. Or possibly Wright even took inspiration from the Tower of Babel due to the spiritual referencing in his instructions. Furthermore, William Wilkins design besides looks back in clip for inspiration with its neo-classical columns and stick outing portico. Wilkins construction is influenced by the Classical period of Greek and Roman architecture. This typical manner is clearly present in the galleys munificent portico, a porch taking to the entryway of the edifice covered by a roof held up by columns. The Galleries columns are carved with a fluted ( grooved ) shaft and excessive decorations that flare upwards and resemble leaf and flowers, such as the acanthus leaves, all typical characteristics of a Corinthian column. Wilkins hoped his construction to be a "Temple of the Arts, fostering modern-day art through historical illustration". However, the committee was blighted by frugalness and via media and therefore the eventful construction was, about on all histories, considered a failure. Willard huntington wrights edifice, however, was a great success. His apposition of the gyrating focal point with the sweeping canopy that extends above the entryway truly expresses Wright 's alone perceptual experience on modernist architecture 's rigorous geometry.

The inside of these edifices reinforces the architectural manners of their epoch. While the National Gallery was being designed in the early nineteenth century Neo-classical architecture was in manner. The Neoclassic manner consumes this edifice from the high ceilings to the cosmetic trim on the walls, reflecting the regal, classical manner of art work on show in the gallery. Even when sing the edifice today we can still detect the wonderful refined inside informations of the inside of the rotunda. This cardinal characteristic of the edifice reminded me of the Vatican Gallery in Rome with its gold leaved carvings, delicate mosaics and interior Corinthian marble columns, giving this breath taking room a Romanesque feel. On the other manus, the Guggenheims inside is merely every bit dramatic as its outside and is clearly influenced by the bold modern art that was traveling on show in the gallery. The spiral of his exterior construction is mirrored in the built-in 400m coiling rotunda, a kind of modernist version of the colossal staircases found in refined and epicurean American constructions. When planing the Guggenheim, Wright decided to take an unconventional attack to gallery design by taking visitants to the top of the coiling construction in the lift and allow them get down walking down towards the issue of the gallery, forestalling them from holding to.retrace their journey and walk back down the coiling when go forthing. The artworks themselves are displayed in separate sections along the uninterrupted incline, "divided like the membranes in citrous fruit fruit, with self-contained yet mutualist subdivisions" ( Drutt 2014 ) besides comparable to "a nautilus shell, with uninterrupted infinites fluxing freely one into another". ( Drutt 2014 ) . However, some critics have complained that the organic form of the edifice did non accommodate its intent. The coiling stairway forced the visitants to ever see the graphics from an angle and the walls were reasonably low for a museum blockading several of the pictures from being displayed right. On the other manus, the terrazzo floors o f the unfastened rotunda allows visitants to unambiguously see several subdivisions of work on different degrees and from different angles. Additionally both the Guggenheim and the National Gallery boast a dome on top of their edifices, an architectural design dating back to the epoch of Classical Roman architecture, such as the pantheon. Although both domes are made out of glass to convey visible radiation into the edifices, Frank Lloyd Wright use this big sweep of glass to do the construction experience unfastened to the elements and nature and to farther set up a sense of tranquility in such a helter-skelter metropolis.

Time both evolves and takes it 's toll on architectural constructions. Both the Guggenheim and the National Gallery have had their just portion of extensions and redevelopments. During the 2nd universe war the gallery sustained serious harm from the London bombardment foraies, go forthing many of the exhibition suites necessitating extended fix. The construction had to finally travel under Restoration when it re-opened after the war, chiefly to reconstruct suites and to take the Tarpaulin and corrugated Fe that had been used as a last resort to replace subdivisions of the roof. In 1965 the Guggenheim was besides renovated, nevertheless, this was non due to damage but to suit the museums spread outing lasting aggregation in the little rotunda. On the other manus, Wrights original program for a tower was n't realized until the Restoration and extension of 1968, finishing Wright 's vision 35 old ages after get downing building. The National Gallery besides acquired an extension in 1991 designed in by postmodernist designers, Robert VenturiandDenise Scott Brown. This edifice in comparing with the deluxe embroidery of the original construction, was much plainer and simpler taking evident inspiration from Dulwich Picture Gallery. The Gallery was designed to make a focal point by alining the Galleries to make an extending corridor, ornamented with columns that draws the oculus to the focal point. Nevertheless, the monetary value of Waless disliked the extension abundantly and openly made a address comparing it to a "monstrouscarbuncleon the face of a much-loved and elegant friend ". Furthermore, in 1992 the Guggenheim was renovated once more due to miss of insularity doing condensation jobs. This was fixed by repairing strips of C fiber inside the concrete construction of this edifice to organize an shield of protection. Harmonizing to Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times, due to the hapless quality of building the edifice was "stripped of every bit many as 11 beds of pigment, and experts conducted a 17-month study of 1000s of clefts of changing magnitude in the frontage".

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Comparison of the Guggenheim Museum, New York and the National Gallery, London. (2017, Jul 10). Retrieved from

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