Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles and the Conflict of Ideals
October 19, 2019 - January 19, 2020
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence, was also the most important architectural thinker of the young republic. His designs for the Virginia State House, the University of Virginia and his home at Monticello established a new standard for America. Jefferson sought to convey ideals of liberty and democracy with architecture rooted in the classical tradition and the models of the Renaissance master Andrea Palladio. Through his travels in the colonies and Europe and his extensive library, he engaged with contemporary ideas of architectural design. Yet, at the same moment, the creation of these monuments was founded on the economic and social institution of slavery. The inherent conflict is inescapable. The Chrysler Museum of Art will examine these facets of Jefferson’s architectural formation and practice to foster a new and fuller understanding of his accomplishments.