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Object Timeline

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1911

  • We acquired this object.

1991

2014

2020

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Drawing, Triumphal Arch with the Royal Swedish Coat of Arms

This is a Drawing. It was created by Louis-Gustave Taraval and made for (as the client) Adolphus Frederick, King of Sweden. We acquired it in 1911. Its medium is pen and black ink, brush and gray, green wash, watercolor, graphite on white laid paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

A grand triumphal arch looms against a cloudy sky, its stately silhouette surmounted by a victor’s chariot. Below, diminutive figures gesture in admiration at the Neoclassical edifice. This careful pen and ink design by the Swedish artist Louise-Gustave Taraval was likely made to commemorate the victories of King Adolphus Frederick of Sweden against Prussia. The tradition of erecting triumphal arches to celebrate military success originated in the Roman Republic. The practice regained popularity in the eighteenth century, as great numbers of artists and designers traveled to Italy where they absorbed architectural lessons from the ancient world. The triple arch of Taraval’s design has precedents in Rome’s Arch of Septimius Severus (AD 203), and the Arch of Constantine (AD 312). Court pageantry could use archways as focal point for parades, fireworks and other festivities. Although Taraval was a court architect for Louis XV of France, he made several designs for Swedish court activities. The design of the arch features the triple crown of the Swedish coat of arms and on the keystone is the symbol for the Order of the Polar Star, a chivalric order created by the King of Sweden in 1748.

This object was donated by Advisory Council.

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Cite this object as

Drawing, Triumphal Arch with the Royal Swedish Coat of Arms; Louis-Gustave Taraval (French, 1738 – 1794); France; pen and black ink, brush and gray, green wash, watercolor, graphite on white laid paper; 1911-28-282

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibitions Hewitt Sisters Collect and The Cooper-Hewitt Collections: A Design Resource.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18171131/ |title=Drawing, Triumphal Arch with the Royal Swedish Coat of Arms |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=3 April 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>