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[CESCM]

French organization founded in Poitiers in 1953. The Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale (CECSM) is affiliated with the Université de Poitiers, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. The founders, among them historian Edmond-René Labande and art historian René Crozet, began CESCM as a month-long interdisciplinary study of medieval civilization, inviting foreign students to participate. CESCM has since developed into a permanent organization but maintains the international and interdisciplinary focus of its founders.

CESCM continues to hold its formative summer session, known as ‘Les Semaines d’études médiévales’, and invites advanced graduate students of all nationalities. The summer session spans two weeks and includes sessions on a variety of topics, each conducted by a member or affiliate of CESCM. CESCM supports collaborative research groups and regularly holds colloquia attended by the international scholarly community.

Since 1958 CECSM has published ...

Article

Barry Bergdoll

(b Marseille, Nov 26, 1787; d Marseille, Feb 8, 1879).

French architect and writer. The designer of many of the principal public buildings of Marseille, he also published the first accurate records of the Islamic monuments of Cairo, North Africa and the Middle East—a central interest of mid-19th-century architectural theorists and ornamentalists.

After studying both engineering and drawing in Marseille, Coste began his career in 1804 as site inspector and draughtsman for the Neo-classicist Michel-Robert Penchaud, a municipal and departmental architect, for whom he worked for a decade. In 1814, on the recommendation of the architects Percier & Fontaine, he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the ateliers of Antoine-Laurent-Thomas Vaudoyer and Jean-Baptiste Labadye (1777–1850). An encounter in Paris with the geographer Jombert, who had been a member of the scientific mission that accompanied Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, was to influence his subsequent career. In 1817 Jombert recommended Coste to Muhammad ‛Ali, Khedive of Egypt (...

Article

Peter Boutourline Young

(b Milan, 1739; d Milan, 1825).

Italian scientist, philosopher, writer and architect. His early education took place in Milan, Monza, Rome and Naples between 1756 and 1765. Having joined the Barnabite order in 1756, he became a member of the regular clergy of S Paolo, Milan. In 1766 he was appointed professor-in-ordinary of mathematics at the Università di S Alessandro in Milan, where he also taught chemistry, mineralogy and canon law, and in 1772 he became professor of natural history. While best known for his work in geology and natural history, he is also remembered for his treatise Dell’architettura: Dialoghi (1770), which includes all the plans of the church of S Giuseppe at Seregno. Pini himself designed the Neo-classical interior of the church, which was completed by Giulio Galliori (1715–95). The treatise is arranged in the form of two Socratic dialogues by mathematics students in Milan and Longone. The first deals with the dome and the centrally planned church. The students exchange opinions on the mathematical calculation of domes, arches and vaults; Francesco Borromini is praised for his great technical ability, while his successors, in particular the French, are condemned for being responsible for ‘depraving the good taste of architecture’. The students conclude that intrinsic beauty is to be found in simple geometric shapes and that architecture can derive examples from the classical repertory. The second dialogue deals with fortifications and is of considerable importance for the study of the engineer ...

Article

Tapati Guha-Thakurta

[Raja, Rama]

(b Tanjore, c. 1790; d Mysore, 1833).

Indian writer. His posthumously published work, Essay on the Architecture of the Hindus (published for the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1834), was a pioneering attempt at acquainting the West with the ancient Hindu ‘science’ of architecture, through a translation of some surviving fragments of Sanskrit treatises. Coming from an aristocratic but impoverished family of Karnataka, Ram Raz rose from the position of clerk to that of Head English Master at the College of Fort St George, Madras, eventually becoming a local judge and magistrate at Bangalore. His translation from Marathi into English of an indigenous code of revenue regulations brought him to the attention of Richard Clarke, a British official of the Madras government. It was under Clarke’s initiative that he turned his linguistic skills towards the elucidation of the ancient temple architecture of south India. While the British turned to a ‘Hindu’ to uncode the age-old precepts ‘locked’ in the Sanskrit language, Ram Raz himself had to rely on traditional Brahman scholars and on the practising craftsmen of the ‘Cammata’ clan of Thanjavur in deciphering the abstruse language and technical vocabulary of the texts. Highlighting the difficulties of his study, he noted the gap in communication between the Brahmans, with their closely guarded high knowledge, and the working ‘lower orders’ of artisans; the result was that the original theories were either lost or vastly distorted....