Irving Penn: Cranium Architecture

19 June - 20 September 2013

Hamiltons proudly presented Cranium Architecture, an exhibition of photographs by legendary photographer Irving Penn. The largest exposition of this series for over two decades, the show offered the viewer a rare chance to see these extraordinary images en masse.


Cranium Architecture sees Penn create a beautiful, absorbing study of animal skulls from the collection of the Narodni National Museum in Prague. From gorilla to giraffe, the photographer treats each subject with fastidious equality - zooming in or moving away to ensure that all the skulls are the same size and placing them in a simple white background. Abstracting the objects in this manner is disorientating and challenges the viewer to look at them in a different way. As the series' title suggests we are encouraged to view each skull as a unique but familiar construction, created by the powerful yet sensitive hand of nature, to house the most precious of organs - that which defines and directs us, both physically and mentally.


To accompany the exhibition, a catalogue raisonné, including an essay by renowned photography critic Francis Hodgson, was published by Hamiltons Gallery, in collaboration with The Irving Penn Foundation.