Art and architecture have a profound relationship. Some artists are inspired by architecture and mold architecture into paintings, while on the other hand, some architects get influenced by a certain style of architecture in painting and reshape it into a building and the cycle goes on. One can not work without others but goes on simultaneously hand in hand. No room is complete without the painting and no painting is complete without the background and the background plays rhythm. The collaboration between art and architecture is almost ideal, but it takes a creative person to ensure that they fit together and blend in the right way.

Let’s look at some examples of architecture in painting:

1. Fountain in the Courtyard of a Palace | Architecture in Paintings

This painting was painted by a renowned Netherlandish painter, architect, engineer, and designer Hans Vredeman de Vries. He was renowned in his lifetime for his mastery of illusionary architectural decoration. They were widely spread in northern Europe and had a great influence on architecture and decoration.

The key subject of the drawing is the architectural structure characterized by a triple arcade backed by Corinthian columns. The bases of the pillars flanking the central arcade are adorned with lion masks and strapwork decorations. The central arcade, from which the eye is directed by the lines of perspective, leads to the courtyard in the background. In the forehead to the right, a section of the fountain is portrayed, distinguished by a putto that straddles a lion and lifts a tazza from which the waterfalls.

6 Examples of architecture in paintings - Sheet1
Architecture in paintings ©Lancashire County Museum Service

2. Ecce Homo

The artist of this beautiful painting is Antonio Ciseri. This is the most remarkable of Ciseri’s sacred works and was first exhibited in the artist’s studio shortly after his death. In an analytical, positivist approach, Ciseri explains the moment when Pontius Pilate, leaning down from the balcony of the palace to the audience below him, gave up both Christ and Barabbas for sentencing. The inclusion of Roman centurions, as well as other details such as antique clothes and architectural props, give this scene a sense of historical accuracy. The artist has shown the intricate details of the architecture in the painting which includes the carving on the middle column as well as the foot of chairs.

6 Examples of architecture in paintings - Sheet2
Architecture in paintings ©

3. Café Terrace at Night | Architecture in Paintings

Café Terrace at Night is an oil painting by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh in 1888. It is now known as the Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum and later was entitled the Coffeehouse in the evening. He looked south to the artificially lit terrace of the famous coffee house, as well as to the imposed darkness of the rue du Palais, which led to a building frame and beyond that structure, to the tower of the former church that is now the Musée Lapidaire. Towards the right, Van Gogh alluded to a lighted store and several branches of the trees around the site, but he ignored the ruins of the Roman monuments just beside this little shop.

6 Examples of architecture in paintings - Sheet3
Architecture in paintings ©

4. The School of Athens

The School of Athens (Italian: Scuola di Atene) is a fresco by the Renaissance Italian artist Raphael. It was painted as part of Raphael’s commission to decorate the rooms. The artwork is noteworthy for its precise perspective projection, which Raphael learned from Leonardo da Vinci. The architecture incorporates Roman elements, but the general semi-circular setting of Plato and Aristotle at its core may be a connection to the circumspect of Pythagoras.


5. The Oath of the Horatii

This french painting was painted by Jacques-Louis David. The Oath of the Horatii is the first masterpiece of a new style that breaks from the rococo style. The composition is large and plain, with life-size figures arranged in a frieze in the foreground, like the Roman sarcophagi and the Greek vases. The figures are separated by wide empty spaces seen head-on in a stage-like setting. David stresses the geometry of the space. The harsh, slanting light brings relief to the figures, and their contrasting characters are conveyed in various ways. He offers the men energetic bodies made of straight lines and dresses them in bright colors, whilst the women are all sinuous curves and silent colors. Across Europe, art became a blueprint for a modern form of art later known as neoclassicism.


6. Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple | Architecture in Paintings

This work was part of an altarpiece painted for the church in Urbino, and the painted area on the top shows the outline of the original case. The young Virgin is at the forefront, clad in blue. The precise topic of this panel remains in doubt, as the Virgin neither scales the steps of the temple nor is received by the High Priest, features usually used in the representations of the Presentation. Fra Carnevale, a Dominican friar, was influenced by ancient Roman architecture and sculpture, as well as the modern science of linear perspective, which enabled the artist to establish the illusion of deep space on a flat surface. The artist has impressively presented the beauty of roman architecture with all the details throughout the column, cornices, arches, wall cladding.




Divya Singh Rathore is a graduate in Architecture who believes in learning through exploration. For her, architecture is creative freedom and a way to connect to the people. She wants to amalgamate her passion for writing with her architectural practice and share it with the world.