At the Royal Academy

Peter Campbell

Visiting architectural exhibitions is not a substitute for seeing real buildings, and the larger and more colourful pieces in Andrea Palladio: His Life and Legacy (at the Royal Academy until 13 April) are not central to an understanding of his work. There are portraits, including a fine El Greco that may or may not be of the architect; there is Bassano’s Tower of Babel, showing masons, bricklayers, plasterers and carpenters at work; there are views made by Canaletto a couple of hundred years later that show Palladio’s Venetian buildings. There is an elegant set of drawing instruments and even a few moulded bricks of the kind Palladio’s columns were built with.

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