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2007 | 8 | 5-14

Article title

THE MOST PROMINENT EXAMPLES OF DUTCH CLASSICIST ARCHITECTURE IN RIGA: REUTERN HOUSE (Holandiesu klasicisma arhitekturas spilgtakie piemeri Riga: Reiterna nams)


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Stylistic description of the most excellent examples of Riga 17th century architecture in art literature, including Reutern House, is often limited to ascribing them to Baroque. When describing the style, one should refrain from strict classifications as both classicised Baroque and Classicism of the Baroque epoch may be involved. Nevertheless, remembering the typical formal features of Dutch Classicist or Palladian architecture, it would be more appropriate to consider it as a specific Northern European phenomenon, a very pronounced expression of Classicism within the chronological boundaries of Baroque. Compared with the works of Northern Dutch classicists, one of the typical features of Reutern House is the emphasised contrast between the smooth, classicist-type façade solution and the finish of the entrance portals. Reutern House was a quite ambitious project for the 17th century Riga town environment; it can be described as an outstanding example of Dutch Classicism, coinciding with Philips Vingboons' and Pieter Post's architectonic heritage and similar architecture in Stockholm, Reval (Tallinn) and Narva. The local specificity of Riga Palladianism consists in the presence of definitely Baroque elements in the façade finish - more than in Holland itself. The innovative contribution of master Rupert Bindenschu to the new-style dwelling houses should not be underestimated. Bindenschu's style was strongly influenced by the Dutch architects' constructive principles. The town's cultural environment was largely shaped by its links with Sweden and the political and economical background, but in Bindenschu's case, it seems direct links with the Dutch architectural heritage were involved.


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


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