Standish Cupola, Winthrop House, Harvard

Cambridge, MA

The iconic color domes of Harvard’s residence halls along Memorial Drive, Cambridge are distinctive landmarks for each house-dormitory of the College. The Standish cupola, with its electric cobalt blue color, is one orienting landmark for students and visitors coming to Harvard Square and the main campus. This vista, through majestic autumn trees, features the weather vane atop the vivid dome and decorative, crenelated and arched cupola, rising above the traditional brick structure of Winthrop House. The near merging of the branches, leaves, brick facade, windows, roof tops and chimney support and frame the focus of the asymmetrically positioned dome; all set off by a softer blue of the sky. The palette is basically a warm frame for a cool focal point – with browns, greens, reds, yellows, and grays contrasting the blues of the dome and sky. The piece was begun as demo watercolor during a showing at Boston’s Liberty Hotel, and finished in studio.

Frank M. Costantino