Built in Baltimore, inspired by Italy

The Baltimore Sun

Andrea Palladio was born 500 years ago and practiced architecture in Italy, but his influence is felt widely in America today.

His masterpieces, such as the Villa Rotunda and the Villa Emo, have inspired designers of estates, churches and meeting halls around the country, including the Homewood Museum in Baltimore.

"Build in such a manner and with such proportions," he said, "so that all the parts together may convey a sweet harmony to the eye of the beholders."

The architect's lasting influence is the subject of Harmony to the Eyes, Charting Palladio's Architecture From Rome to Baltimore, an exhibition that opened this month at the George Peabody Library, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place.

Featuring hand-colored maps, original prints and first editions of rare architectural treatises, the exhibition was organized by the Sheridan Libraries and Homewood Museum at the Johns Hopkins University to mark the 500th anniversary of Palladio's birth in 1508. It runs through June 17 as part of the Baltimore Festival of Maps celebration that coincides with Maps: Finding Our Place in the World, an exhibit that opened this month at the Walters Art Museum.

Hopkins also has organized a daylong symposium on Palladio featuring an international panel of scholars, starting at 9:30 a.m. April 11 in the Walters' Graham Auditorium.

Born in Padua, Italy, Palladio gained attention for his architectural work and writings during the Renaissance. Generations of architects have made pilgrimages to tour Palladian villas, palaces and churches in Italy.

"Palladio is widely considered the most influential architect in Western history," said Judith Proffitt, program coordinator at the Homewood Musuem and co-curator of the exhibition along with Peabody Library research fellow Danielle Culpepper.

The exhibit highlights Palladian-inspired landmarks in Baltimore, including Homewood, Mount Clare Mansion near Carroll Park and Hampton Mansion in Towson, Proffitt said.

"The neoclassical look of these buildings, especially the prominent, columned front porticos and symmetrical massing of the structures, comes to us directly from the work of Palladio," she said.

Hopkins has a large and impressive collection of objects that help trace Palladio's legacy. Much of it was amassed by Baltimore architect Laurence Hall Fowler and is part of the Sheridan Libraries' special collections. It is housed at Evergreen, a Hopkins-owned museum and library in North Baltimore.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held at Peabody Library at 6 p.m. March 26. An illustrated lecture by Proffitt and Culpepper will begin at 7 p.m. The exhibition can be seen free of charge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

The April 11 symposium, made possible in part by the Center for Palladian Studies in America and a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, will bring scholars from Europe and America to Baltimore to discuss current research on Palladio and his impact on architecture. Registration information is available at www.museums.jhu.edu/symposium.

Larry Reich award

Two community leaders will receive the annual Larry Reich Award during a public ceremony at 6:45 p.m. Thursday at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St.

Ed Rutkowski, founder of the Patterson Park Community Development Corp., and Betty Bland-Thomas, head of the Sharp-Leadenhall Community Association, are this year's recipients of the award, which is sponsored by the Neighborhood Design Center and the city Department of Planning.

Named for a former director of the city Planning Department, the Reich award recognizes people for work that reflects a commitment to community-based planning and design in Baltimore.

Downtown balance

Kirby Fowler, director of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, will discuss the balance between historic preservation and new construction during a free public forum at noon Wednesday at the Johns Hopkins University's Downtown Center, at Charles and Fayette streets.

"A Delicate Balance: Preserving Downtown's Authenticity While Welcoming Modernity," is the title of Fowler's talk, which will begin the Baltimore Architecture Foundation's spring forum series.

Winans mansion tour

The former Ross Winans Mansion at 1217 St. Paul St., designed by architect Stanford White and owned by Agora Inc. publishing company, will be open for a rare public tour from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 13.

The tour coincides with the annual meeting of the Gwynns Falls Trail Council, an affiliate of the Parks and People Foundation, and is free to all council members. Nonmembers can take the tour by joining the council at the door for $20.

Adam Blumenthal, executive director of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation, will speak about the house, and Guy W. Hager, a director of the Parks & People Foundation, will talk about the Winans family. Registration information is available from the council at 410-448-5663, ext. 113.


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