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Document Details :
Title: Contrareformatie en barok (Counter Reformation and Baroque)
Subtitle: Traditie en vernieuwing in 17de-eeuwse kerkarchitectuur in de Nederlanden (Tradition and Renewal in 17th-century Church Architecture in the Low Contries)
Author(s): SNAET, Joris , BAISIER, Claire
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Interieurgeschiedenis en Design
Volume: 33 Date: 2004
The Counter Reformation is traditionally considered the period in which a rich and triumphalist ‘Baroque’ architecture, inspired by Italian examples, held sway in the Low Countries. This study reveals, however, that the Counter Reformation had a more limited influence on religious architecture than is generally supposed. Ideals of poverty and simplicity, traditionally associated with the Protestant approach to church design, was, for instance, highly prevalent in some young CounterReform orders, including the Capuchins and, initially, the Jesuits. The first churches set up by these orders in the Low Countries were very sober in conception, with no sense of a ‘Baroque’ formal language. At the same time, the layout of these churches did show characteristics that can be related to contemporary Italian developments within the domain of religious architecture. In the course of the 17th century, we also see many other architectural traditions continuing a significant, ‘unbroken’ existence in parallel with ‘Baroque’ building practices. These traditions are seen on the one hand in the finishing of church interiors (for instance in the white chalking of the interiors and the use of glass windows), and on the other in the use of certain floor plans by mainly older orders, incorporating characteristics from the order’s own particular ‘traditional’ building tradition. In the course of the 17th century, the Gothic style maintained a significant presence, in a way suggesting not only a purely technical explanation, but also a ‘conscious’ reference to time-honoured images of religious architecture.