Society of Architectural Historians (SAH)
69th Annual International Conference
Pasadena/Los Angeles, CA – April 6-10, 2016
The Quest for an Appropriate Past in Early Modern Europe
Thinking about the creation of ‘national styles’ in architecture, most people will refer to the 19th century: the period of the rise of national states and the attempt to codify specific geographically and nationally defined identities, based on models from a glorious past. Nevertheless, five hundred years before this era, humanist scholars, artists, monarchs and other political leaders all over Europe had already charged themselves with a comparable task. In late medieval and early modern Europe, c.1400–1700, authority was formally based on lineage, and in all countries political ambitions and geographical claims were supported by true or false historical reasons. Architecture was also used to express these ideas of national or local history and that history’s oldest roots in the distant past. In this session we invite explorations concerning strategies of the use of these sources for the construction of new local or ‘national’ identities in architecture (c. 1400-1700).
In their quest for an appropriate past architects and patrons did not only focus upon the iconic remains of classical Rome. In many places in Europe they also seeked to use their ‘own’ antiquity as a source for contemporary design. Meanwhile the concept of the Rome-centred Renaissance has been seriously challenged. Recent scholarship has stressed the important role assumed by non-Central Italian antiquities in the genesis of ‘Antique’ architecture. Moreover, the definition of the ‘Antique’ has turned out to be far more elastic and encompasses more than ‘Rome’. We invite papers that reconsider the pivotal role assumed by local antiquities both of true antique (or pre-historic) origin, as well as those of later date that were regarded as antique.
- Konrad Ottenheym
Utrecht University (The Netherlands)
- Martijn van Beek
VU University Amsterdam (The Netherlands)