Today, I would like to introduce the upcoming series “Architecture: A Stroll Through the Epochs,” in which we’ll present the beauty and complexity of Europe’s architectural heritage of centuries past in the weeks and months to come.
At the Gentleman’s Gazette we aspire to grasp the essence of each topic we bring you, and to draw out the salient points from the sheer volume of available information. In the case of this topic, the history of western architecture, we could provide you with the equivalent of an academic textbook, but that would not be an easily accessible approach for the majority of our readers.
Therefore, this series has been aptly named “a stroll through the epochs,” because we will only touch on the key characteristics of each architectural period, presenting you with all the information you need to develop what Leon Battista Alberti defined as “concinnitas.” The ability to recognize the inherent beauty of a building and, without necessarily being able to name the rational cause of its beauty, to be touched and moved by it.
At the same time, for those who would like to immerse themselves deeper in this fascinating world, we will provide sources, be it links to online content, recommended books or other third party materials we consider worth your attention. With their help, you may even achieve the second stage of “concinnitas,”.where you will be able to comprehend the technical and aesthetic adequacy of a building by its proper elements, their proportions and its overall composition.
So whether you want to remain a flâneur in the truest sense — as Charles Baudelaire put it a “passionate spectator”, who subconsciously demands to only be indirectly and unintentionally affected by a particular design he experiences only in passing — or if you aspire to be thoroughly at home in the world, like a true Gentleman, you will find all the information you need in this series.
In these articles you will find a brief treatise on the historical events of each epoch and the features that define its characteristic style. Illustrative examples of buildings sacral, secular and residential will help highlight each epoch’s crowning achievements, and the biographies of noteworthy builders and architects will appear throughout.
Now you will rightfully demand to know which architectural epochs and their prevailing style we are actually going to visit and I shall gladly oblige. They shall be:
- Romanesque Architecture (Picture: Romanesque Architecture – Basilica Sacré-Cœur in Paray-le-Monial)
- Gothic Architecture (Picture: Gothic Architecture – Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres in Chartres)
- Renaissance Architecture (Picture: Renaissance Architecture – Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence)
- Baroque Architecture (Picture: Baroque Architecture – Church of the Gesú in Rome)
- Neoclassical Architecture (Picture: Neoclassical Architecture – La Madeleine in Paris)
- Modern Architecture (Picture: Modern Architecture – Home Insurance Building in Chicago)
- Postmodern Architecture (Picture: Postmodern Architecture – German Chancellery in Berlin (Copyright Manfred Brückels)
Those among you who already have a certain knowledge of the architectural world will no doubt have noticed a number of omissions. Most obvious amongst them the architecture of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, but there is a good reason for that. This series is meant to provide you with knowledge that you can actually put to use in your daily life, either just to please yourself, to educate others around you or to present yourself as well educated to any person which whom want to leave a positive impression.
Unlike the remnants of the ancient times — which you will only ever encounter if you happen to be following in the footsteps of the characters in an Agatha Christie novel, or in but a few cities in the world — the epochs we will cover have left their respective architectural representations among us and remain very profoundly part of our everyday lives. That is reason they have been chosen for this series.
Yet should this first series find favor with you, our readership, we will certainly try to bring to you a second series that will highlight all the epochs and regions of the world we have omitted so far.
We hope this short introduction has piqued your curiosity. Welcome to the fascinating world of architecture.
Register of illustrations
Romanesque Architecture – Basilica Sacré-Cœur in Paray-le-Monial: PD
Gothic Architecture – Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres in Chartres: PD
Renaissance Architecture – Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence: PD
Baroque Architecture – Church of the Gesú in Rome: PD
Neoclassical Architecture – La Madeleine in Paris: Jebulon
Modern Architecture – Home Insurance Building in Chicago: PD
Postmodern Architecture – German Chancellery in Berlin (Copyright Manfred Brückels): Manfred Brückels