Rome observed

December 12, 2013 8:45 AM

Arthur Nead

The many moods and faces of Rome, the Eternal City, are the subject of Roma Osservata (Rome Observed), a new book of drawings and essays by Tulane University architecture professor and artist Errol Barron.


"Piazza of the Knights of Malta" is one of the drawings in Roma Osservata, a new book of drawings and essays by Tulane architecture professor and artist Errol Barron.

Tapped by Kenneth Schwartz, dean of the Tulane School of Architecture, to teach for the school's Rome Study Abroad Program in 2011 and 2012, Barron took advantage of the opportunity to draw daily in Rome's historic center.

"I woke up at around six and was out by seven," Barron says. "I have a little folding bicycle and would get a delicious coffee and go to different places each day — two places in the morning, then two more in the afternoon." 

Barron's drawings feature a mix of buildings and spaces ranging from the monumental to the intimate. His bicycle is sometimes recorded, as are pedestrians and urban fauna, sculptures, architectural details and unusual perspectives of historic buildings. 

"Drawing connects you to real experience," Barron says, adding, "It's very important for young people to have contact with great works, with what architects have done in the past." 

Barron's next project is a book about the Tulane uptown campus. 

"I teach an introductory architecture course and I like using the campus as a teaching tool," he says. "All the buildings have antecedents and it's fun to trace those. I think it's the mark of an educated person to understand where things come from, and why they are the way they are, and, by extension, why we are what we are."

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu