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  • Throughout his career, Thomas Malton specialized in topographical views and perspective drawings such as this view of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The prominent role of architects in the establishment of the Royal Academy in 1768 brought new attention to architectural drawing and the vital role of the draftsman in translating plans and elevations into perspectival renderings. Trained at the Royal Academy, Malton was highly skilled in the mathematical complexities and optical accommodations required for perspective drawings, providing some illustrations for his father’s treatise on perspective. He hoped to be elected an associate of the Royal Academy as an architect. He never executed a building and, having the misfortune to stand for election at the same time as John Soane, was rejected by the Academy. In a bid to establish his credentials as an artist and gain acceptance to the Academy as a painter, Malton turned his eye to the city around him, publishing the aquatint series “A Picturesque Tour Through the Cities of London and Westminster”, exhibiting watercolors in tandem with this project. This view of St. Paul’s was one of a suite of views of the cathedral exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1797; the aquatint version followed in 1798. Malton admired Wren’s design, devoting eight plates to St. Paul’s and commenting: “The dome is a stupendous work, that cannot be viewed without surprize and delight, as the happiest and boldest production of architecture in England” (Malton, 1792, p. 68). He also probably appreciated the challenges presented to his skills by Wren’s design. To convey the vast grandeur of the structure, which acts as classical basilica, tourist attraction, and society promenade, he deployed the convention known as “scena per angolo” to construct perspective along one or more diagonals rather than along a central axis.
?:PX_curatorial_comment
  • Throughout his career, Thomas Malton specialized in topographical views and perspective drawings such as this view of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The prominent role of architects in the establishment of the Royal Academy in 1768 brought new attention to architectural drawing and the vital role of the draftsman in translating plans and elevations into perspectival renderings. Trained at the Royal Academy, Malton was highly skilled in the mathematical complexities and optical accommodations required for perspective drawings, providing some illustrations for his father’s treatise on perspective. He hoped to be elected an associate of the Royal Academy as an architect. He never executed a building and, having the misfortune to stand for election at the same time as John Soane, was rejected by the Academy. In a bid to establish his credentials as an artist and gain acceptance to the Academy as a painter, Malton turned his eye to the city around him, publishing the aquatint series “A Picturesque Tour Through the Cities of London and Westminster”, exhibiting watercolors in tandem with this project. This view of St. Paul’s was one of a suite of views of the cathedral exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1797; the aquatint version followed in 1798. Malton admired Wren’s design, devoting eight plates to St. Paul’s and commenting: “The dome is a stupendous work, that cannot be viewed without surprize and delight, as the happiest and boldest production of architecture in England” (Malton, 1792, p. 68). He also probably appreciated the challenges presented to his skills by Wren’s design. To convey the vast grandeur of the structure, which acts as classical basilica, tourist attraction, and society promenade, he deployed the convention known as “scena per angolo” to construct perspective along one or more diagonals rather than along a central axis.
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  • Bibliograpic reference ::
  • Dimension height :: 66.7cm
  • Dimension width :: 91.8cm
  • Exhibition :: An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy
  • Exhibition :: Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art
  • Exhibition :: The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century
  • Located in :: Not on view
  • Located in :: YCBA, 222, C 6, M
  • Located in :: Yale Center for British Art
  • Object type :: drawing
  • Object type :: watercolor
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  • ...
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  • Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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?:label
  • Interior of St. Paul's Cathedral
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