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2008 | 7 | 31-46

Article title

RECATHOLISATION OF EASTERN LATVIA: INFLUENCES UPON THE HERITAGE OF CHURCH ARCHITECTURE AND ART (Austrumlatvijas rekatolizacija un tas ietekmetais baznicu arhitekturas un makslas mantojums)


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Changes in confessional structure and influences should be taken into account by scholars dealing with culture and art. This heritage, in its turn, is an important reflection of the processes going on in cultural history, the actually tangible and analysable entity of phenomena in architecture and art both in particular regions and in Latvia in general. Largely because of this we can speak of regional specificity in Latvia's artistic culture that is rooted in history but retains its significance till our days. These differences stand out quite clearly in various regions of Latvia. The origins of peculiar traits are complicate enough to be reduced to confessions of religion. Still this aspect coincides with the culture researcher Andrejs Johansons' thesis on the process of acculturalisation and the role of church in the regional life in Latvia. It has influenced the ideas of the variation: the familiar and the alien (different) in cross-regional assessment. These differences in Latvia have been historically conditioned by two processes - Reformation and recatholisation. They had not passed by Eastern Latvia as well (meaning the present territory of Latgale and partly Augszeme). The 16th century Reformation involved the entire territory of Latvia, but recatholisation was most successful in this particular part of Latvia. The 17th-18th century artistic heritage reflects and largely typifies precisely this difference of sacred culture, creating a sort of paradigm already then: tradition in the choice of church building prototypes (specific spatial solutions), typical furnishing of premises (involving the masters of fine and applied arts), and a certain tradition in selection of artistic impulses.


  • Ruta Kaminska, State Inspection for Heritage Protection, Maza Pils iela 19, Riga LV-1050, Latvia


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