The Mazza Collection: Art From and Inspired By the Greatest Structures in History

A Project of the Art Institute of Chicago

This 1835 watercolor by John Constable depicts the Stonehenge monument in Salisbury Plain, England. Note the tall standing stones in the center of the work, an excellent example of post and lintel.
This 1836 oil-on-paper-on-board painting by John Constable depicts Stonehenge in its greater environment. Note how the standing stones are sharply contrasted with the sky, forming a skyline silhouette.
From the storerooms of the great temple ziggurat in Chogha Zanbil, Iran. The exact use of this earthenware object is unclear, but is is thought to have had some architectural purpose. With inscription.
One of the best-known works of Babylonian architecture. This is the inner gate of the city and features reliefs of different animals symbolic of various gods. The gate is coated in lapis lazuli.
Created from gyspsum alabaster, this is a stone representation of a mythical creature that protected Assyrian leaders. These were placed on either side of the entrance to the palace to inspire awe.
This 1862 photograph by Francis Bedford depicts the Sphinx and Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. This picture shows the landmarks in relatively stable condition, as they were when built, though decay is apparent.
A depiction of the Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Amon Karnak, which is famous for its columns. "Watercolor and gouache with scratching out and graphite on moderately thick, slightly textured, beige wove paper"
The wall relief comes from the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, the first female leader of Egypt. It depicts two sailors of the Royal Egyptian Navy. When placed with the rest of the wall, they lead a procession.
This 1897 photograph of the Lion Gate at Mycenae in Greece provides an excellent viewpoint from which to observe the corbelled arch of the gate.
This lithograph print provides an excellent view of the entire Lion Gate in the context of its larger environment. The humans in the print provide a scale by which the size of the gate can be measured.
This 1865 print from the Greek photographer Dimitrios Constantin shows the decaying structures of the Acropolis. Note the Parthenon, still mostly intact, and the large stone walls of the fortress.
This room displays some of the highlights of Greek Hellenistic architecture from all three capitals, Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian. Most notable is the facade from the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis
Part of the decorated parapet that surrounded the temple of Athena Nike, this relief is a staple of sculpture of the time. Note the folds in the robes and the realism they bring to the relief.
This watercolor shows the Temple of Athena Nike in 1877, just after Greece had freed itself from the Ottoman Empire. Note the Ionic Columns and the people loitering around the temple, they can be used as scale.
These heads come from the back metope of the Parthenon, a scene which depicted a battle between centaurs and the Lapiths.
This Architectural Relief comes from the Art Institute's own collection. Made from terracotta, like most Etruscan architecture, this relief depicts two battling gods and a Giant.
This 1864 plaster cast of Trajan's column in Rome captures the essence of the original quite well. The spiral registers of the column contain relief which depict Trajan's victories and glories.
This scale model of the Flavian Amphitheatre (Colosseum) shows it as a complete structure, with poles mounted on top to afix the sunshade. Note the different orders on different levels and concrete construction.
This painting is specially designed to give a more complete view of the interior of the Pantheon than is possible from inside. The painting offers a clear view of the coffered ceiling and oculus.
This drawing looks down the nave of the Basilica-planned Old St. Peter's. Attention has been paid to minute architectural details, and the apse and cross at the end of the nave are clearly visible.
This drawing shows St. Peter's on Holy Thursday. Close examination reveals Corinthian columns and other architectural details.
This 1906 oil on canvas shows some architectural aspects of the Hagia Sophia. Note the domes and geometric designs of Islamic art, the building was originally a mosque. Byzantine blending of East and West.
1874 side view of the Taj Mahal, the grandest work of Islamic architecture.
1898 photo of the Taj Mahal, the grandest work of Islamic architecture.
This drawing allows for a closer study of the architectural design of the Taj Mahal. Note the minarets and other Islamic design cues.
Modern photo of the Taj Mahal, showing the Islamic design points still intact.
This very detailed goldwork purse of the Ottonian period in Europe was placed in Palatine Chapel of Aachen in Germany during coronation celebrations.
This piece of illuminated manuscript depicts St. Michael, the patron saint of St. Michael’s of Hildesheim Church in Germany, fighting demons as part of the battle predicted in the book of Revelations.
This Watercolor over pencil heightened with gum arabic was created in 1800. The work depicts the Durham Cathedral in England, which was designed to double as a fortress. The Cathedral is a masterpiece of Romanequse design.
This oil on canvas pictures the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Note the Gothic design points and the enormity of the cathedral, as manifested by the way it dwarfs the people standing before it.
This painting does a good job of capturing the essence of the Gothic interior.
This photo provides a view of the Gothic design details of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Rheims, France.
View depicting the dome of St. Peter's in the distance.