Perceptions of Architecture in Early Modern Europe

Conference at Durham University, 5 November 2016

ledoux-eyeKimberley Skelton has organized a fascinating conference on architecture and the early modern viewer with ten papers to be presented on topics ranging across Europe from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Maurice Howard will deliver the keynote address, speaking on “Buildings Observed in Early Modern England.” I am delighted to be participating with my talk entitled “Inside Out: Situating the Theatine Interior.” It examines a mid-eighteenth-century guidebook to the houses of the Theatine order written specifically for the members of the order.

The complete conference program may be consulted on the website of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Durham University, or as a PDF download with the registration form. The registration deadline is 26 October 2016.

* * *

From the conference description:

Across discourses and media, early modern Europeans encountered advice about and models for interacting with the built environment around them. Architects scattered brief instructions for designing a viewer’s experience throughout their treatises, poets narrated imagined tours of house and estate, and artists who composed prints and paintings of buildings located viewers at particular vantage points. Simultaneously, philosophers and scientists debated human perception of the physical world at large – for example, explanation first by Aristotelian Scholastics and then mechanistic philosophers of how particle vibrations acted upon the human senses to create mental images of objects. Such architectural, philosophical, and scientific discussions had their echoes in self-reflective viewing of buildings by travellers who described in their journals the buildings that they visited.

* * *

prospectus_pontis_novi_versus_pontis_-_btv1b6948990z
From my presentation: Georg Balthasar Probst, Vüe du Pont Neuf, vers le pont Royal, a Paris, 1740.
Source: Gallica / Bibliothèque nationale de France