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2008 | 7 | 47-58

Article title

ST. PETER'S CHURCH WEST FACADE AND TOWER - A NEW DECORATIVE PARADIGM IN THE 17TH CENTURY ARCHITECTURE OF RIGA AND LATVIA (Sv. Petera baznicas tornis un fasade - jauna dekorativa paradigma Rigas 17. gs. otras puses sakralaja arhitektura)


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Riga St. Peter's Church is an architectural monument that dominates the present-day panorama of Riga. We are accustomed to ascribe the laconic designation of Baroque to the 17th century St. Peter's Church tower and restored fa├žade, but for the today's art historian this term seems too general and insufficient from the viewpoint of formal analysis. A time has come to return to this phenomenon of Riga architecture to reassess the traditional assumptions and provide a wider stylistic description. The year 1675 when Rupert Bindenschu was appointed the Master Builder of the city marks a new era in the Riga 17th century architecture. Riga's architectural landscape in this period can be typified as international, but activities of Dutch architects in Eastern Baltic region had a direct influence upon the local art phenomena. The fresh classical trends taken over from Holland introduced by Bindenschu in Riga architecture significantly changed the city's character. Bindenschu is the first to introduce in Riga the contemporary standards of Northern European classical style - first the colossal order and all related aesthetic system. It is important to modify the idea of this architect as the introducer of Baroque in Riga, as his principles and style cannot be formally defined by the term 'Baroque architecture'. His style is based on a well-considered system of smooth planes with plastic Baroque accents, a result of mastering leading architectural tendencies of Northern Europe.


  • Anna Ancane, Institute of Art History of the Latvian Academy of Art, Akademijas laukums 1-160, Riga LV-1050, Latvia


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