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.



History and Theory (New Examination Regulations)
History and Theory II (Old Examination Regulations)
M.Sc. | 2nd semester


Regular date: Mondays, 4:30pm to 6pm, until further notice via moodle
Additional information: Instead of 14 one-hour lecture dates, there are ten dates of 70 minutes each

April 20, 2020 | Scherpenheuvel Part 1: The star-shaped hortus conclusus and the heptagonal ideal city
April 27, 2020 | Scherpenheuvel Part 2: The heptagonal domed church and the iconography of its interior
May 4, 2020 | Unification of the land and consolidation of power: The architectural programme of the archdukes Albrecht and Isabella in the Southern Netherlands
May 11, 2020 | Image of a united Christian world: The reorganization of Rome under Pope Sixtus V
May 25, 2020 | Exalting the locus sanctus: The Italian tradition of centralized Marian pilgrimage sites
June 8, 2020 | Stations on the way to the portrait of mercy: The Sacro Monte di Varese
June 15, 2020 | Composure, irratdiation, dominance: The shape of the dome and its centralizing gesture
June 22, 2020 | Belfry versus church facade: Tradition and innovation in the sacred architecture of the Southern Netherlands around 1600
June 29, 2020 | Fear of war and utopia of peace: Levels of meaning in fortress construction
July 6, 2020 | Catholic ideal and universal architecture: Philip II's Escorial


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


Important Change

Dear students,

due to the current situation, the modalities for the exams "History and Theory 2" and "History and Theory 1b" will be changed this semester. Instead of the oral exam there will be a "written paper with time limit". It will be handed in via moodle and the time required for completion is expected to be 120 minutes. The examination date is August 24, 2020. Please make sure that you are registered for HaT 2 or HaT 1b in moodle. The exact time and further details on the content will be announced shortly. 

Kind regards

Chairs of Architectural History, Architectural Theory and Art History