I was at the Brooklyn College library recently and I happened to notice a certain sign that contained a very familiar symbol… That’s right, there is a fasces in the picture! The woman in the seal of Kings County, NY bears a fasces because it represents power and authority, and both of those connotations are desirable to align oneself with, especially when it comes to the symbol of a place. Everyone wants to believe that their hometown is powerful and strong, and the fasces present in the image representative of the place hints that this is the case.
This seal can be found in the BC library, near the help desk. It’s funny how many connections to class can be found right in front of us if we look closely. How many of us have walked past this very plaque without noticing she is carrying something dating back to imperial Roman statements of power?
-Chaya, team Venus
This is a painting I found in the staircase of the Brooklyn College Student Center. It perfectly represents the use of the system of linear perspective to create the illusion of a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. Below is a copy of the above image with the orthogonals traced in green and then the main lines extended to demonstrate the vanishing point.
The orthogonals are the lines that would be parallel were you actually to stand in that scene and measure them. Instead, when seen from a certain angle, they seem to converge on a single point. As you can see, this technique is very effective at tricking the eye and mind into thinking there is depth to the image.
The painting was set on the wall against the staircase so that as you descend the stairs, the vanishing point becomes eye level for you. This is how linear perspective works best, like we discussed regarding how Massacio’s painting of the Trinity was set at eye level for maximum effort.
-Chaya Ovits, team Venus
our very own Ingersoll
I was walking around campus and thinking about this assignment when I noticed that pretty much every building on Brooklyn College’s campus has elements of Greek and/or Roman architectural design. In the 4 pictures above, you can see an arcade of arches (Ingersoll), arches with column designs between them and a pediment above (Roosevelt), an arch-shaped window and columns setting off the windows (library), and arches supporting a structure topped by a dome (library tower).
Greek temples used columns very often, since they relied on post-lintel architecture. The Romans began using arches (and, by extension, domes) because they allowed more stability and more open indoor space. Modern day architecture doesn’t need to rely on domes or columns to hold up our ceilings, but we still use elements like this in specific contexts.
Classical architecture is very popular for inspiration when it comes to buildings that need to have a certain gravitas. The structure of columns and arches lends that kind of weight, a way of hinting that this too is old and respectable. College campuses and governmental facilities often have similar features to the temples of old because it subtly implies importance. The design elements are no longer strictly functional; we use them because we like how they look and what they mean. By recreating these ideas in brick instead of marble or concrete, we prove that we don’t need them but choose to include them for the aesthetic benefits.
-Chaya Ovits, team Venus