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2005 | 4 | 5-20

Article title

THE TYPOLOGY OF JESUIT BRICK-BUILT TWIN-TOWER CHURCHES IN THE TERRITORY OF SOUTHERN LATVIA (Jezuitu divtornu mura baznicu tipologija Dienvidlatvijas teritorija)


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Many Catholic spiritual orders, the missionaries of Societas Jesu among them, have left significant imprints in the heritage of Latvia's art and enriched the region's culture with original features. The followers of this religious movement were active in the territory of Latvia since the late 16th century under the auspices of the province of Lithuania. Consequently, thanks to the advantage of the political situation and the backing of patrons, three churches of significant size and architectural qualities were built at the end of the 17th and during the 18th century: Skaistkalne (1692), Daugavpils (1737-1747), and Ilukste (1754-1769) as well as a chain of other smaller ones. Unfortunately, in the context of political history, we can see not only the birth of sacred buildings but also their tragic fate - the various wars had major and irreversible effects on this part of Latvia's cultural heritage. The common feature of all three objects is that they were inspired by one religious organization and built in a comparatively short period of time; they are also of the same architectonic type - three-aisled churches whose main facade was marked by two towers. However the churches were constructed differently - the Skaistkalne and Ilukste churches were basilicas, whereas the Daugavpils Church was a hall type of building. A detailed analysis of the plans of the buildings and careful examination of the individual features (main facade, side walls, apse, interior) as well as the decorative elements, leads to the conclusion that though all three objects are of the same architectonic type, they are completely different in their construction and arrangement. In the context of the Societas Jesu movement the question arises about a Jesuit style: does the language of architectonic forms allow us to ascertain some features characteristic of this order? In reality, the Society's architecture demonstrated a great variety of stylistic features.


  • Kristine Ogle, Latvian Academy of Art, Kalpaka bulvaris 13, Riga LV-1867, Latvia


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Publication order reference


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