Transience

Our summer study abroad program in Florence focused a lot on the intersection of art and architecture. The first half of the program was a combined studio with both art and architecture students that was focused on drawing and sketching on site in an expressive way, whereas during the second half, we were separated by art and architecture programs. 

The architecture program was a group project, in which our site was a cemetery called Cimitero dei Pinti. We began by selecting a tombstone that we were most interested in.

My group, consisting of two other students and I, selected a tomb with a large terracotta statue of two people holding one another. 

We believed these figures to be the biblical characters, Abraham and his son Isaac. Isaac not only appears to be dead, but is beginning to fragment, and the fallen pieces have been piled around the statue itself. We wanted to keep the vivacity of the still statue and preserve the active aspects in memory of someone who has passed.  

To depict this statue of isaac and abraham, we began with a wash of colors derived from the changing light on the statue. we tried to emulate the fragmentation of the statue by integrating various elements of a person’s life in the wash, including a map of Squarzini cav paolo’s place of birth, place of death, fragments of an italian birth certificate, and elements of human anatomy to create a “timeline” from death to birth, of a still yet whole tomb statue, bridging the gap between place of birth and place of death. the fragments in our figure drawings suggest the disintegrating nature of human life as time passes. 

For the final design portfolio, we tried to incorporate similar qualities from the original three drawings, by using a watercolor wash. We also produced some monoprints that we thought resembled body movements, and overlaid them in plan and section. Our final proposal was an installation of fabric that was draped across the entire cemetery, allowing for peace and quiet in self-reflection of those in memory.