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“Some, if not most of my moving aesthetic experiences have been in buildings,” claims the Turner Prize-winning British artist Grayson Perry, who believes these interactions with architecture played a key role in helping to define his creative direction.
In this regard, Perry is similar to many artists who draw inspiration from the built environment. So, what sorts of ideas do artists like to borrow from architecture, and how do concepts applied to buildings translate into fine art, music or sculpture?
Perry, who is best known for his decorative ceramics, feels that religious architecture in particular has profoundly influenced both his own work, and that of generations of artists before him. “For me the very template of how we look at art was laid down in such buildings,” he explains. “We make pilgrimages to special places and admire the special objects loaded with significance and emotion [within them].”
There is certainly evidence that the construction of religious buildings over the centuries helped artistic movements develop, both because of the money lavished on their construction and decoration, and the resulting visual spectacle they provided. The Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings of Prague, for instance, are known to have inspired the elaborate compositions of Mozart and Beethoven, who both visited the city in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. […]