POST-GOTHIC ELEMENTS IN LATVIA'S SACRAL ARCHITECTURE IN THE 16TH AND 17TH CENTURIES (Pecgotika Latvijas sakralaja arhitektura 16.- 17. gadsimta)
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Post-Gothicism in Latvian architecture in parallel to Mannerism in visual and applied arts is interpreted as a specific branch of the late Renaissance and Baroque period, with a definite group of form-related elements which repeat the aesthetics of the previous stylistic system. In Latvian building culture, forms of this type are most often found in sacral architecture, in buildings which were put up between the 1580s and the 1660s. Building traditions which were indebted to the architecture of the late Gothic style disappeared at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, when the Reformation caused a serious break in the structure of religious culture. The return of stylized Gothic forms in Renaissance and Baroque artistic systems, therefore, cannot be seen as a direct continuation of the traditions of Gothic style. The Latvian word 'pecgotika', or 'Post-Gothicism', which derives from the German 'Nachgotik', describes this phenomenon with all due accuracy, as far as this author is concerned. Post-Gothic elements in Latvian sacral architecture can be found at the morphological level, i.e., as a stylized application of specific constructive and decorative architectural details. These consciously utilized 'quotes' from the Gothic lexicon in each instance involve the repeating of or emphasis on a concrete element. The stylization of Gothic elements in the architecture of churches is inviolably woven together with the artistic systems of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. This allows us to say that Post-Gothicism in the Latvian building arts did not shape an independent style. Rather, it was a stylistic breakaway, a branch which took an aestheticizing approach toward the several of the formal decorative techniques which were used in the already-gone artistic system of the past.
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