Another oval building and revisiting work from 2004

February 4, 2021 | 7 Comments

Thanks to Alison’s comment on my recent San Carlo sketch I did a little research on Bernini’s Sant Andrea al Quirinale. It’s amazing that these two Baroque oval churches by rivals Borromini and Bernini are so close to each other – located on the same road. In 2019 when I was in Rome prior to the Palladian Odyssey tours, Mike Botton and I went from San Carlo to Sant Andrea and then visited the Pantheon in one morning and it was great to compare all three like that.

I strongly prefer Borromini’s building, but S. Andrea has a lot of amazing design features. I really like the facade but not so keen on all the red marble, gold and sculpture inside. Too over the top! So it was nice to do a simple line drawing of the interior so that I could describe the architectural design with all the richness of the materials and decorations. (It’s interesting that I didn’t sketch S. Andrea at all during my 9 day sketching visit to Rome in 2010.)

As a result of doing this page last night I spent a little time this morning going through some old work. Some of you will remember the architectural drawings I did from a trip to the UK in 2000 (see here, here and here)… well I did the same for my visit trip to Rome and Florence in 2004, once again creating a number of drawings to describe the design of every building I visited – including elevations like this one…




and notated plans…

and a few simple diagrams to describe the main volumes.

But I didn’t just do these drawings, I added them into my ‘photo album’ along with my photos and lots of text describing each building I visited.

Here are the pages of S. Andrea.



There are a lot of direct quotes from wonderful architectural books included in these pages and as this was created as a personal photo album a lot of these are not properly referenced. So I’m just sharing these pages in low res to respect copyright but I trust that you can get a feel for the overall composition. I was really into overlapping and overlaying elements back then. Lots of experimental layouts, hey?

Wow! two Baroque themed articles in a week. It’s just like the good old days! But don’t worry, it’s not my plan to swamp you with Baroque architecture.

Hmm, it could be fun if you let me know of any favourite buildings you would like me to research and sketch. Just like the ‘Building of the Week’ challenge I did inside the Buildings course last year.



  • Mihaela SAVU says:

    What an interesting post today! Thank you so much! It felt like traveling with you AND learning more about creating beautiful journal pages! Excellent, thank you again, Liz!

  • Arlene Lennox says:

    How much more you get from the experience of visiting these building by drawing details and by being an architect! I have only been to the Pantheon and that was awe-inspiring.

  • Alison says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I recently started a little informal study of Baroque architecture since I live in Rome and all of the museums have been closed for so long. Much of the time I have been here we have been under travel restrictions. The churches have been open and are incredible by themselves and house a lot of amazing art.

    By study I mean I’m watching YouTube videos and I’ve started reading one book. 🙂 I first heard about these beautiful little churches in this video . Today I bought this book by Denis McNamara . It’s a small book and an easy entry into church architecture.

  • Alison says:

    P.S. I also prefer Borromini. So much of the Baroque is just too much. But I think that was the point.

  • Sylvie Jalbert says:

    Did you ever sketch the Taj Mahal, in India? I wonder how you would interprete this fabulous Moyen Orient building.
    One of your student in Sketchbook Design,

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Sylvie! (I know who you are – no need to explain 🙂 )
      No, I’ve never sketched it – great suggestion. thanks!

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