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
M. Sc. | 2nd semester


Regular date: Wednesdays, 4:30 to 6pm, Otto-Fuchs-Hörsaal 1385|003

April 12, 2023 | Scherpenheuvel I – The star-shaped concentric ideal project (1604-1617): Healing and Rebirth of the Spanish Netherlands under the Regent Couple Albrecht and Isabella.
April 19, 2023 | Rome as the catholic capital: Santa Maria Maggiore and the reorganization of Rome under Pope Sixtus V
April 26, 2023 | The Italian tradition of centralized Marian pilgrimage sites
May 10, 2023 | Composure, irradiation, dominance: The architectural element of the dome and its centralizing gesture
May 17, 2023 | Fear of war and utopia of peace: Levels of meaning in fortress construction
May 24, 2023 | Scherpenheuvel II – Façade, dome and tower (from 1618): The reinterpretation of the pilgrimage ensemble as a symbolic building of the Immaculata Religio and its defense by the Habsburgs.
June 14, 2023 | Catholic ideal and universal architecture: Philip II's Escorial
June 21, 2023 | Façade, portico altar and Tower: Staging the Catholic triumph in the Jesuit Church of Antwerp
June 28, 2023 | Rosary Corridor and Hermitage (from 1624): Scherpenheuvel as Isabella's retreat and private devotional landscape
July 5, 2023 | The station buildings of the Sacri Monti: New forms of veneration of relics and the Virgin Mary after the Tridentinum
July 12, 2023 | Consolidation of reign and religion: The profane and sacral architectural programme of the archdukes Albrecht and Isabella in the Southern Netherlands


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