International symposium organized by Basile Baudez and Adrián Almoguera Centre André Chastel, Paris
Conference languages: English, French, Italian
Since the publication of Nikolaus Pevsner’s History of Building Types in 1976, architectural historians have been alert to the importance of typologies for rethinking their discipline. As analyzed by Werner Szambien or Jacques Lucan, thinking through types allowed for the articulation of concepts of convenance, character and composition in both public and private commissions. Along with metropolitan churches and royal basilicas, in ancien régime Europe princely palaces represented the most prestigious program an architect could expect. For a period in which the divine right of kings was being called into question, however, what happened to the physical structures of royal or princely power, symbol of political authority and dynastic seats? Did the national models of the Escorial, Versailles, Het Loo or Saint James palaces still hold, even in light of new models made available through the publication of archeological discoveries in Rome or Split? The second half of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century represent a moment of intense construction or reconstruction of the principal European palaces, from Caserta to Buckingham Palace, Saint-Petersburg to Lisbon, Versailles to Coblenz. This trend, addressed by Percier and Fontaine in their Résidences des souverains de France, d’Allemagne, de Russie, etc. (1833), took place in a Europe that was undergoing political developments that altogether changed the nature and symbolic structure of princely power.
This symposium, focused on Europe from roughly 1750 to 1850, aims to interrogate the manner in which architects and their patrons integrated the changing concepts of character in architecture and symbolic place of dynastic palaces, reconciling them with theory and/or practice through rethinking issues of distribution, construction, environmental situation, décor, function, reuse of interpretations of printed or drawn sources.