L | Scherpenheuvel

  Sanderusplan 1661 Lauwers Copyright: © Public Domain  

Motifs and Contexts of a Multi-Scale Building Ensemble in the Age of the Confessional Wars

The Belgian pilgrimage site of Scherpenheuvel, founded shortly after 1600 by the Spanish archdukes Albrecht and Isabella, is rooted in an ideal project that combines urban planning, garden architecture, architecture and pictorial decoration into a unified work of art. Based on this current research topic of the Chair of Architectural History, the lecture gives an overview on architectural developments around the year 1600, which not only covers the south Netherlands, but also powerful developments and models in Italy and Spain.

The focus thus lies on a time in which the Catholic authorities in their confrontation with Protestantism struggled for power and interpretive sovereignty and in which the early absolutist rulers appropriated religious cults and objects and instrumentalized them for the consolidation and centralization of their rule within the framework of sacred building programmes.

The Catholic Reform – especially after the conclusion of the Council of Trent in 1563 – triggered efforts to sacralize the city and landscape. It also lead to a new appreciation of the veneration of relics and images of grace, which resulted in new developments in sacred buildings and pilgrimage architecture. Against the background of the religious conflicts and the ubiquitous experience of war, which shaped the landscape, city and architecture around 1600, the lecture also covers the ways in which fortress construction became charged with meaning and demonstrates the fusion of the concepts of the ideal city and the ideal fortress.

In addition, one focus of the lecture is to provide an overview of the issues and working methods of architectural history research. In particular, you will gain an insight into the methods and knowledge potentials of historical building research on the built object.



History and Theory 1b (2019 Examination Regulations)
History and Theory 2 (2011 Examination Regulations)
M.Sc. | 2nd semester


Regular date: Wednesdays, 4:30pm to 6pm, live via Zoom on the following dates:

April 21, 2021 | The research project Scherpenheuvel: Questions, methods and project results – part 1
May 5, 2021 | The research project Scherpenheuvel: Questions, methods and project results – part 2
May 19, 2021 | Unification of the land and consolidation of power: The architectural programme of the archdukes Albrecht and Isabella in the Southern Netherlands
June 2, 21 | Belfry versus church facade: Tradition and innovation in the sacred architecture of the Southern Netherlands around 1600
June 9, 2021 | Image of a united Christian world: S. Maria Maggiore and the reorganization of Rome under Pope Sixtus V
June 16, 2021 | The Italian tradition of centralized Marian pilgrimage sites
June 23, 2021 | Composure, irradiation, dominance: The shape of the dome and its centralizing gesture
July 7, 2021 | Stations on the way to the portrait of mercy: The Sacro Monte di Varese
July 14, 2021 | Fear of war and utopia of peace: Levels of meaning in fortress construction
July 21, 2021 | Catholic ideal and universal architecture: Philip II's Escorial


Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anke Naujokat