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.

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 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 II
M.Sc. | 2nd semester


Regular date: Mondays, 10:30am to 12 noon, RWTH Main Building, Lecture Hall II (1010 | 201)
Additional information: Instead of 14 one-hour lecture dates, there are ten dates of 70 minutes each

April 1 and 8, 2019 | Scherpenheuvel Part 1: The star-shaped hortus conclusus and the heptagonal ideal city
April 29, 2019 | Scherpenheuvel Part 2: The heptagonal domed church and the iconography of its interior
May 6, 2019 | Unification of the land and consolidation of power: The architectural programme of the archdukes Albrecht and Isabella in the Southern Netherlands
May 13, 2019 | Image of a united Christian world: The reorganization of Rome under Pope Sixtus V
May 20, 2019 | Exalting the locus sanctus: The Italian tradition of centralized Marian pilgrimage sites
May 27, 2019 | Stations on the way to the portrait of mercy: The Sacro Monte di Varese
June 17, 2019 | Composure, irratdiation, dominance: The shape of the dome and its centralizing gesture
June 24, 2019 | Belfry versus church facade: Tradition and innovation in the sacred architecture of the Southern Netherlands around 1600
July 1, 2019 | Fear of war and utopia of peace: Levels of meaning in fortress construction
July 8, 2019 | Catholic ideal and universal architecture: Philip II's Escorial


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