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Art Design History

Historic Lithograph Reveals Anamorphic Views of Razed Bank of Philadelphia

February 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Horizontorium” (1832), hand-colored lithograph, 22.5 x 16.5 inches

In 1832, artist John Jesse Barker added depth to a drawing by Philadelphia-based William G. Mason to create an optical illusion titled “Horizontorium.” Part of a tradition of anamorphic works, this depiction of the Bank of Philadelphia is one of the two surviving works looking at the historic financial building designed by architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. At the time, it was the unofficial bank of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that sat at the southwest corner of Fourth and Chestnut streets. The structure was razed in 1836.

Horizontoriums became popular throughout England and France in the 18th century, although this piece is the only one known to be made in America. Viewers would set the lithograph on a flat surface and perpendicularly position their face at the center of the work (note the semicircle on this lithograph suggesting a spot for a chin) to peer over the image. The sharp angle would produce a distorted perspective that appears to project the building and its passersby upward. Sometimes, viewers even would peek through a small hole carved out of paper or cardboard to block out their peripheral vision and give the work a more distinct look. (via Graphic Arts Collection, The Morning News)

“Horizontorium” (1832), hand-colored lithograph, 22.5 x 16.5 inches

“Horizontorium” (1832), hand-colored lithograph, 22.5 x 16.5 inches

“Horizontorium” (1832), hand-colored lithograph, 22.5 x 16.5 inches

“Horizontorium” (1832), hand-colored lithograph, 22.5 x 16.5 inches

 

 



Art

A Gargantuan Purple Sea Monster Lurks Inside a Two-Story Warehouse at Philadelphia's Navy Yard

October 8, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Image via Conrad Benner / Streets Dept

Twenty inflatable tentacles extend from the roof and several windows of a two-story warehouse in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, making it appear as if sea monsters have attacked the former naval storehouse in an installation titled Sea Monsters HERE. The massive work is the largest inflatable sculpture ever created by UK-based artists Filthy Luker (previously) and Pedro Estrellas. It was produced in partnership with Group X, an anonymous collective of local artists and curators, and the Navy Yard which extends along the Delaware River.

The purple tentacles range from 32 to 40 feet, and curl upwards to reveal green suction cups lining their inner surface. Luker and Estrellas have been collaborating on inflatable sculptures since 1996, you can see more of their recent works on Instagram and their website, Designs in AirSea Monsters HERE will be on view both day and night through November 16, 2018. You can view a video tour of the installation in a video produced by Foxx below.