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Abbey of Saint-Germain (Auxerre)  

Barbara A. Watkinson

The former Benedictine abbey church of St Germain in Auxerre, France, now comprises the remains of a Carolingian crypt, a Gothic choir and transepts, and the four eastern bays of the nave; the western nave bays and the Carolingian westwork were destroyed in the early 19th century. A detached 12th-century bell-tower also survives. The medieval history of the abbey is dominated by the cult of St Germanus, the second bishop of Auxerre (reg 418–48), who was born in the town and was an important figure in the Church’s campaign against the Pelagian heresy.

St Germanus’s tomb lay below the level of the main apse of the Merovingian church built c. 493–533 by Queen Clotilde, wife of Clovis I (reg 481–511). Between 841 and 859 Conrad, Comte d’Auxerre, the uncle of Emperor Charles the Bald, decided to enhance the structure, and a contemporary description mentions the ‘admirable unit of crypts’ organized around the semi-subterranean confessio containing Germanus’s remains. In this form of ‘outer crypt’ the confessio formed the nucleus of a small aisled, vaulted chamber surrounded by a corridor leading to small chapels in echelon. Attached to the crypt at the east was a circular oratory that was part of the same building programme. This elaborate arrangement, which provided access to the tomb on important feast days, reflects the growing importance of the cult of relics in the Carolingian period....


Académie des Beaux-Arts (Paris)  

Paul Duro

Academy of fine arts in Paris, France, founded in 1795. It assimilated most of the functions of the disbanded Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Its role included directing the grands prix competitions; distributing honours in a séance publique held in October; composing a Dictionnaire des beaux-arts; directing the Académie de France; forming the jury of the Salon in the 19th century; and, with little legitimate authority, exercising its influence over the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. As well as its concern with painting and sculpture, it took over the function of the Académie Royale d’Architecture, suppressed in 1793.

Two years after the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture had been abolished (8 August 1793), the Convention Nationale resurrected the principle of an academy of fine art. On 25 October 1795 the Troisième Classe (Littérature et Beaux-Arts) of the Institut National was formed. The Classe was divided into eight sections, sections five and six concerning painting and sculpture, and including ...


Académie Royale d’Architecture (Paris)  

Richard Cleary

Academy of architecture in Paris, France, which played a central role in shaping architectural theory and pedagogy in Europe and the Americas from the late 17th century to the mid-20th. Although it was suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution and subsequently absorbed by the Académie des Beaux-Arts of the Institut de France, its traditions were preserved and disseminated widely by the architectural section of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1968, when the French government thoroughly reorganized architectural education.

The Académie Royale d’Architecture was founded in 1671 by Louis XIV (see Bourbon, House of family, §I, (8)), under the advice of his minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, as part of a policy gathering artistic, scientific and humanistic inquiry under direct royal control. Its charge was to set aesthetic and technical standards of excellence for architectural practice by elaborating a doctrine, establishing a school and reviewing projects for buildings and other structures. These tasks furthered the Crown’s interests by supplanting the independence of the builders’ guilds and by dedicating a pool of experts to the creation of an architecture glorifying the monarchy....


Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture  

Paul Duro

[Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture]

Academy of fine arts in Paris, France, founded in 1648 during the reign of Louis XIV (reg 1643–1715; see Bourbon, House of family, §I, (8)) and abolished by the revolutionary Convention Nationale in 1793. It transformed art production in France from a craft-based activity to a profession that enjoyed the respect of monarchy and state, and won the envy of foreign rivals. Its principal activities centred on its art school, the Ecole Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which taught art theory and drawing; the Académie de France in Rome, which gave winners of the Prix de Rome competition the opportunity to study the classical tradition at first hand; the conférences, which publicly debated current issues in art theory; and the Salons, exhibitions of members’ work that served to increase the public profile of the institution.

Before the Académie’s foundation in 1648, the guildsmen of the Corporation of St Luke (also known as the Communauté des Maîtres Peintres et Sculpteurs de Paris or the Maîtrise) had enjoyed the right of monopoly over art production. Only the ...


Accademia del Disegno  

Z. Waźbiński


Academy of artists in Florence, Italy. The Accademia was based on the Compagnia di S Luca (founded 1349), an association of artists of a religious character, and was constituted in 1563 largely at the instigation of Giorgio Vasari. Its numbers increased in 1571 when more artists broke away from the Arte dei Medici e Speziali (founded 13th century) and the masons’ guild (founded 1236). The enlarged institution became the sole officially recognized professional body representing Florentine artists, and the school of art (see Academy, §2). In its final legal form, established in 1585, it comprised the Compagnia and the Accademia sensu stricto, and it was administered on behalf of the court by a Luogotenente (lieutenant) drawn from a distinguished Florentine family. The Accademia survived in this form until it was replaced in 1784 by the Accademia di Belle Arti, founded by Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany....



John Camp and Reinhard Stupperich


In ancient Greek the term acropolis means simply the ‘upper or higher city’ or ‘citadel’, although in general usage it has become firmly associated with the unparalleled architectural and sculptural ensemble of the Classical Athenian Acropolis.

First inhabited and fortified in the Bronze Age (c. 1550–c. 1050 bc), the Acropolis was by the Archaic period (c. 700–480 bc) given over largely to cult activity, primarily the worship of Athena. The earliest remains of cult buildings may date to the 8th and the 7th century bc, but it was not until the 6th century bc that the Acropolis was adorned with monumental architecture.

The impetus for the first major building phase on the Acropolis seems to have been the Peisistratid family, who ruled Athens as tyrants (absolute, but not necessarily despotic, rulers; see Peisistratos), and was apparently connected with their reorganization of the Panathenaic festival in honour of Athena around 566 ...


African American architecture  

Amber N. Wiley

[Afro-American architectureBlack architecture]

Term used to describe the built environment as shaped by members of the African diaspora in the United States. This includes enslaved and free people, from the first European colonial settlements to the present day. This entry is geographically specific to the margins of the USA, with attention paid to the connections between West and Central Africa, the Americas, and Europe due to the transatlantic slave trade.

Enslaved Africans carried their building knowledge with them to lands colonized by Europeans. Given the tropical nature of the Caribbean and American South, enslaved peoples used their localized material knowledge—incorporating tabby, palmetto leaves, wattle and daub, and rammed earth (pisé)—to create shelter suited for the climate and environment. Both colonizers and enslaved peoples adapted these building traditions to their new homes.

Highly skilled artisans and craftsmen, both free and enslaved, worked on buildings of all kinds in the antebellum period. In his 1912...



John Camp and José Dörig


The Agora was the large open square north-west of the Acropolis that constituted the civic and commercial centre of Classical Athens. It was reserved for public functions, meetings, theatrical events, festivals, markets, elections, and the like. During the Bronze Age and Iron Age it had been used for habitation and as a burial-ground, and its use as the civic centre seems to date from the mid-6th century bc, when the first public buildings were erected along its west side. By the end of the 6th century bc its limits were clearly defined by boundary stones, and a great street, known as the Panathenaic Way, ran diagonally through the square, leading from the city gate in the west to the Acropolis. The ancient site has been excavated under the direction of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens since 1931.

Though few structures were set up within the square itself, one exception was the Altar of the Twelve Gods, erected by the younger ...


Åkirkeby, Å kirke  

Lars-Olof Albertson

[Aakirkeby] [Aa church]

Romanesque church in the village of Åkirkeby on the island Bornholm, Denmark. The church, dedicated to St Hans, was constructed in the second half of the 12th century and is the largest church on Bornholm. The oldest parts are the apse, the choir, and the lowest part of the nave. The upper part of the nave and the tower were later additions. The porch dates from the first half of the 13th century and is one of the oldest in Denmark. A greenish sandstone and brownish slate were used for the walls. The nave was constructed with two arcade walls, one running in the middle of the nave from the triumph wall to the tower wall, the other one running from the south entrance to the north entrance. Both were removed during restoration in 1874. In the Middle Ages the church belonged to the chapter at Lund Cathedral and was the seat for one of the canons and was also known as ‘Kapitalskirken’ or the Chapter Church....


Al-Azhar Mosque  

Bernard O'Kane


Mosque in Cairo, Egypt. The mosque known as al-Azhar (‘the Radiant’) was begun in ad 970 as the principal mosque of al-Qahira (see fig.). Completed in 972, it was made a teaching institution in 988–9, and its present renown is due to the prestige of its almost unbroken tradition as an educational centre. The original mosque was a rectangle (c. 85×70 m) with arcades on three sides of a court. There was no arcade opposite the qibla, but there may have been a monumental portal like that at the earlier mosque built by the Fatimids at Mahdia in Tunisia or the later Cairene mosque of al-Hakim. At the centre of the qibla side a raised transept on paired columns leads to a dome over the mihrab bay, an arrangement recalling Mahdia, and domes cover the back corners of the hypostyle prayer-hall, otherwise covered with a flat wooden roof (...


Alahan Monastery  

Mary Gough

[Koca Kalesi]

Early Christian monastery on the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains in Isauria, part of the Roman province of Cilicia in south-western Turkey. It is some 300 m above the main road between Silifke (anc. Seleucia) and Konya (anc. Iconium), 21 km north of Mut (anc. Claudiopolis). From two funerary inscriptions, pottery and coins, the monastery may be securely dated to the reigns of two Isaurian emperors, Leo (reg ad 457–74) and Zeno (reg 474–91).

The monastery was originally founded in a series of caves in a limestone outcrop at the west end of a narrow mountain ledge. The largest of these caves contained two rock-cut churches. The ledge was later enlarged by quarrying to the north and by the construction of a retaining wall to the south. The earliest building, immediately to the east of the caves, was the three-aisled Basilica. It was originally lavishly decorated, both inside and out, with architectural sculpture in a flowing naturalistic style, including plant forms, birds and fishes; figures occur only on the jambs and lintel of the main doorway between the narthex and the central aisle. On the west side of the lintel is a head of Christ set in a circle supported by angels, and at each end of the lintel and on the doorposts are four busts in high relief, possibly of the Evangelists. On the inner faces of the jambs are full-length figures of the archangels Michael and Gabriel in flat relief, while on the underside of the lintel is a remarkable relief of the four ...


Alcázar of Seville  

Ana Marín Fidalgo

Although outside the Roman walls, the site was an important stronghold in Seville, Spain, from an early date. A Palaeo-Christian basilica was built there, probably encircled by a walled precinct (destr. ad 844). The Dar al-Imara (913–14), the original nucleus of the Alcázar, was built over the old basilica by the Umayyad ruler Abd al-Rahman III (reg 912–61) and was enlarged in the 11th century by a series of fortified walls extending towards the west, which resulted in a new palace complex called Alcázar al-Mubarak, or El Bendito. Part of this building was called al-Turayya, or the Salón del Trono (the present Salón de Embajadores). In the 12th century a military precinct was constructed towards the south, marking the boundary of an area that became the orchards and inner gardens of the Alcázar. During this period two courtyards and the Patio de los Yesos were built within the old precincts....


Aleksandr Nevsky Monastery  

(St Petersburg)

Monastery in St Petersburg, Russia. The monastery was founded in 1710 by Peter I on the River Neva c. 2 km from the city centre, where, according to legend, Aleksandr Nevsky, Prince of Novgorod (reg 1236–63), defeated the Swedish forces in 1240. It is situated at the end of the Nevsky Prospekt leading from the Admiralty (see St Petersburg §I, 3). The first design (1717) by Domenico Trezzini was for a central cathedral surrounded by blocks of monks’ cells. Between this complex and the Neva was to be a formal garden and the household court. Trezzini’s cells on the north side of the site were built in the 1720s; those on the south, built in the 1740s, were designed by Trezzini’s son Pietro Antonio Trezzini (b 1710). Domenico Trezzini’s church of the Annunciation (1717–22) was erected in the north wing (now a museum of urban sculpture). The cathedral was begun ...


‛Ali Qapu Palace  

Eugenio Galdieri

[‛Alī Qāpū](Isfahan)

Palace in Isfahan, Iran. Situated in the middle of the western side of the Royal Maidan (see fig.), the ‛Ali Qapu (Lofty Gate) was begun by ‛Abbas I c. 1597 as a simple entrance hall for the royal palace complex but was gradually modified and extended until it reached its present form c. 1660 under ‛Abbas II. Its function evolved from a guard house to an audience hall and later an official tribune from which to inspect military manoeuvres and games held in the maidan below. The building consists of a main block with a tower and a lower extension crowned by a raised columnar hall (Pers. tālār). The towered section (20 m sq., h. 33 m) is subdivided into five levels. Because of the differing elevations of the rooms, the floors had different layouts, and many of the structural elements lack continuity from one floor to the next. The main supporting structures, which are heavy and massive on the lower floors, become lighter towards the top, fading into hollow pilasters on the third floor and ending as a network of thin arches that support and cover the Music Room (...



F. B. Sear and Zilah Quezado Deckker

Building or precinct with tiers of seats surrounding a central space used for public spectacles.

F. B. Sear

The Roman amphitheatre differs from a theatre in that it is elliptical in shape, has seats all round the arena and was used either for gladiatorial games or for contests between men and beasts. Under the arena floor were cages for the animals, and rooms and movable platforms for the props and scenery. Spectators were protected from the sun by a canvas awning suspended on ropes that were attached to masts around the top of the outer wall and secured to bollards at ground-level.

During the earlier Republican period gladiatorial games at Rome were held either in the Circus Maximus or in the Forum Romanum, with the spectators seated on temporary wooden benches. The senatorial ban on permanent theatres also applied to amphitheatres, with the result that even during the late Republic only temporary amphitheatres were erected at Rome, such as the one built by the senator ...


Amsterdam Royal Palace  

H. J. Zantkuijl

[Koninklijk Paleis]

What is now the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) on the Dam was originally Amsterdam’s town hall (Stadhuis). It had long been intended to replace the existing town hall with one more indicative of Amsterdam’s power and wealth, and many medieval houses were demolished to make way for it. In 1647 Jacob van Campen designed the monumental building, which was begun in 1648. Daniël Stalpaert was appointed city architect and supervised the building work, taking control of the project when van Campen withdrew in 1654 because of a disagreement with his assistants.

The outbreak of war with England in 1653 imposed financial restrictions on the project, but these were lifted in 1655 when it was decided to carry out the original designs. The front of the building faces the Dam; the ground plan is 80×57.5 m; the height to the top of the dome is 52 m. The building is a rectangular block with two internal courtyards. Three bays project at each corner, together with the seven central bays of the long façades. The corners are emphasized by transverse roofs. Above the basement are two main floors divided by a horizontal cornice. Each of the main floors has two levels of windows, defined by a giant order of pilasters, Composite for the lower and Corinthian for the upper level, following Vincenzo Scamozzi’s book of orders ...


Andlau, abbey church  

Robert Will

Former Benedictine convent of nuns, dedicated to St Saviour, in Alsace, France. Founded in the 9th century, it was suppressed at the Revolution in 1789. The west tower and the nave with tribunes were rebuilt in the 17th century, but the crypt and western block survive and contain important Romanesque remains. The sculptural decoration, executed in sandstone from the Vosges, is concentrated on the façade block.

The finest work is found on the portal, which is abundantly decorated with low-relief sculpture. The door-frame belongs to the 11th-century church, but the sculptures are contemporary with the construction of the westwork in 1140. Their iconography is linked to the theme of paradise, a term used in medieval times to denote both the parvis in front of a church and the entrance porch. Standing out in the centre of the tympanum, Christ confers a key on St Peter and a book on St Paul. The scene takes place in a celestial garden, reminiscent of Early Christian decorative backgrounds, but here the trees are emphasized and the traditional scheme is combined with other allegorical subjects: the climbing of a heavenly tree and bird-hunting. On the lintel is the story of Adam and Eve, from the Creation of Eve to the Expulsion. The Lamentation of Adam and Eve, represented on the extreme right, is exceptional in the region and is derived from Byzantine iconography. Each of the pilasters flanking the jambs bears five superimposed niches, sheltering Abbey benefactors and their spouses, designated by name. The lowest niches are supported by atlas figures. Over the porch arch are three groups in high relief: the keystone bears Christ treading a dragon under his feet, flanked by Samson opening the lion’s mouth (right) and David victorious over Goliath (left)....


Angers Castle  

Pascale Charron

Castle in Angers, France. Around 850, in response to the Viking invasions, Odo, Count of Anjou, built his residence on the south-west of the rocky promontory dominating the River Maine. This building was probably a simple wooden fortress, the castle being essentially a ceremonial site, described in surviving documents as ‘aula’ (hall). The residential buildings occupied at least a quarter of the present castle site and lay mainly against the Gallo-Roman fortification. The hall, built on the earlier terrace, had adjoining rooms overlooking the Maine.

The earliest surviving remains date from the transformation of the castle in the 11th and 13th centuries. The first building to be erected outside the Gallo-Roman fortification was the St Laud Chapel (1150). Traces of the foundations of a donjon (8×11 m) and of a tower (3×4 m) are visible. Linked by a passage, they must have constituted the fortified gate-house of the count’s castle. The castle fell to Philip II (...


Antwerp Stadhuis  

Jan van Roey

[City Hall]

The earliest city government of Antwerp, Belgium (12th century) presumably met in the house of one of the aldermen. In the 13th and 14th centuries, however, municipal government was housed in the Broodhuis (destr.), a residence of the Dukes of Brabant. When Antwerp returned to the rule of Brabant in the early 15th century (see Antwerp §I, 1), the municipal government was given its own aldermen’s hall, south of the current town hall. Although relatively modest, it nevertheless demonstrated the city’s growing importance. Owing to the vast increase in population after 1500, plans were made c. 1540–41 for a larger and more imposing town hall, to be built by Domien de Waghemakere in Gothic style on the south side of the Grote Markt. Political and military circumstances, however, required that the materials and money that had already been collected were used to build the new fortifications (see...


Aranjuez Palace  

J. J. Martín González

Spanish palace that stands beside the rivers Tagus and Jarama in the province of Madrid, 47 km south of the capital. It was intended as a spring and summer residence for the royal family and is renowned for its gardens and fountains. The summer residence built at Aranjuez in 1387 by Lorenzo Suárez de Figueroa, Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, became royal property under Ferdinand II, King of Aragon, and Isabella, Queen of Castile and León. In the reign of Charles V improvements were carried out by Luis de Vega (from c. 1537) and the palace was extensively enlarged by Philip II. The chapel was designed by Juan Bautista de Toledo and completed by Jerónimo Gili and Juan de Herrera. It was built in a combination of white stone from Colmenar de Oreja and brick, giving a two-toned effect that was adopted for the rest of the palace. In ...