These drawings of Europe’s most famous buildings are stunning—then you see how big they really are

By Kat Piper, Epoch Times
March 14, 2018 5:15 pm Last Updated: March 17, 2018 5:08 pm

Walking through an urban area you can’t help but be aware of the buildings that surround you, but when was the last time you stopped to really appreciate the details?

It’s often only when you visit somewhere on vacation that you pause to purposefully gaze up at the architecture and soak in the history and culture.

Not so for architect and photographer Lorenzo Concas.

Growing up in Florence, Italy, a city overflowing with historical buildings, Concas couldn’t help but be inspired by the beauty around him—which he now captures in exquisitely detailed ink drawings.

Concas’s drawings of the historical buildings of Europe are extraordinary studies in perspective and light.

Giotto’s Bell Tower, part of the Florence Cathedral complex, Florence. (Courtesy Lorenzo Concas)

“I live in Florence, considered the cradle of Renaissance art and architecture,” Concas told The Epoch Times in an email. “I am fascinated by the details, the proportions, the harmony of the spaces, and the symmetries.”

Beginning in the 15th century, Renaissance architecture aimed to revive aspects of ancient Greek and Roman art and culture: The strict symmetry, proportion, geometry, and regularity of Classical antiquity.

In the Renaissance, harmony and proportion were thought to be the ultimate expressions of beauty.

Dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Florence. (Courtesy Lorenzo Concas)
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, Florence. (Courtesy Lorenzo Concas)

The recognizable features of Classical architecture—columns, semi-circular arches, tunnel vaults, and domes—can all be seen in the buildings of Florence and other European cities from this time.

Concas skillfully renders the architectural forms using only black and grey fineliner and marker pens, constructing small (about as wide as the length of a pen) but intricate images of the historical buildings from varying perspectives.

“With the small format I can work better on the details and shadows,” he said.

Cologne Cathedral, Germany. (Courtesy Lorenzo Concas)

Preceding the Renaissance was the Gothic period, with much greater ornamentation, pointed arches, and lack of strict adherence to Classical proportionality, often emphasizing instead the vertical.

There are many examples of Gothic architecture preserved in the churches of Europe.

Beauvais Cathedral, France. (Courtesy Lorenzo Concas)

Each stroke of Concas’s pen expresses how the light falls on the architectural features, and the way the shadows are cast. This knowledge of light is no doubt also used in his work as a lighting designer.

As a professional photographer, Concas often works from his own photographs to create his architectural drawings.

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Florence. (Courtesy Lorenzo Concas)

As well as the architecture of Florence, Concas has drawn other famous landmarks.


The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France. (Courtesy Lorenzo Concas)

From the medieval Gothic cathedral of Notre-Dame in France, to the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London, England, and the world-renowned lines of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The 1700s and 1800s saw a revival in Classical architectural styles, so while there might not be original Renaissance buildings in the United States, you can still see many fine examples embracing the same concepts—The White House and Lincoln Memorial, for example.

So the next time you’re wandering through town, take a closer look around and you might be pleasantly surprised by the beauty in the detail.