The Romanesque Revival: Religion, Politics, and Transnational Exchange

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University Park 2003 Hardcover First printing Near Fine in near fine jacket First edition, 2003. Quarto, cloth-backed boards in dust jacket, 362 pp., illustrated, clean unmarked ... text, Near Fine book in Near Fine dust jacket, a bit of discoloration to the pages, minor soiling to the dust jacket. Dust jacket housed in archival dust jacket protector. Read more Show Less

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Overview

During the nineteenth century, as the rapid growth of industry transformed life in both America and Europe, many new churches and public buildings were designed in an imposing style based upon medieval and early Christian models. Kathleen Curran's book traces the origins of this phenomenon, known either as the Rundbogenstil or Romanesque Revival, in Rome, Karlsruhe, and the Munich of Ludwig I and charts its spread from Germany to London and the United States, where it shaped the design of such landmarks as Trinity Church in Boston and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Drawing on extensive archival research and wide reading in the theological and political literature of the period, Curran sets Romanesque Revival architecture in the context of debates on the roles church and state should and could play in modern society. Her book also breaks new ground by bringing to the fore the figures—diplomats, theologians, educational reformers, clergymen, and rulers—who supported Romanesque Revival architecture in large part because of the style's many associations with the staunch faith and communal solidarity of the early Christian era. The Romanesque Revival is both comprehensive in scope and richly detailed. Even as it tracks the transnational movement of people and ideas, it situates key buildings in new patterns of urban development and explores their ideological implications and aesthetic refinements. The numerous illustrations include drawings and nineteenth-century photographs that have never before been reproduced.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a splendidly researched, engaging account, which fills a real gap in the literature and will be of genuine value to anyone interested in nineteenth-century architecture.”
—William Whyte, Ecclesiastical History

“The animating thesis of Curran's book is that the international Romanesque-revival movement in Germany, England, and the United States was driven largely by the efforts of political and religious leaders to remake both sacred and secular institutions in the face of the social challenges precipitated by the Industrial Revolution. In bringing these influences to light, Curran addresses a gap in the current scholarship, particularly with respect to the Romanesque in the the United States, and she offers a host of tantalizing suggestions that should guide new scholarship for some time to come.”
—Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Winterthur Portfolio

“Curran's primary achievement in this book lies in the richness of the intellectual, historical, religious, and social influences she relates to the erecting of new buildings in the Romanesque style. By unraveling the connections among the religious, political, educational, and social issues of the time as well as the personal relationships among several key players, Curran reminds readers that the study of architecture is, at its best, the study of human interaction and meaning creation. The meanings and ideas negotiated in a variety of public and religious settings during this period were deemed by architects, artists, scholars, and clients alike to be well expressed by the construction of new buildings that featured the Romanesque style. Architectural style, rather than being the focus of the study, is used by the author as a lens through which to examine various networks of thought and ideas within which the architecture played a part.”
—Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Winterthur Portfolio

“Oddly enough, this exemplary study is the first comprehensive work on the Romanesque Revival in architecture and mural painting that originated in the early 19th century in Germany, where it was known as the Rundbogenstil or round arch style.”
—T.J. McCormick, emeritus, Choice

“This method of investigation holds enormous promise for the study of architecture as well as promise for the study of architecture as well as material culture generally, and Curran's work significantly advances our knowledge of the issues and debates associated with the Romanesque.”
—Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Winterthur Portfolio

“Notwithstanding this German bias, Kathleen Curran’s book is a fine achievement. It contains original material on almost every page and Curran reinterprets some of the well-known themes in fresh terms. The text reads like the fruit of a lifetime’s scholarly experience, yet is clear and thoroughly engrossing. The Romanesque Revival is well-documented, beautifully illustrated, and contains with a wide range of previously unpublished plans, drawings and photographs.”
—J. B. Bullen, The Art Book

“By offering a number of new contexts in which to consider Romanesque architecture, she has raised important questions and invited debates that will engage scholars for quite some time. Thus, she has rendered an important service to the field. Her work on the German contexts of the Rundbogenstil is clearly the major contribution of the study, and here her primary research is of enormous value. Her forays into the English and American use of the Romanesque are suggestive and light the way to further questions for scholars to explore. In addition, the sheer physical beauty of the book–with its sharply focused black and white illustrations, excellent color plates, glossy paper, and exceptional layout–makes it all the more valuable to students, scholars, and architects alike. The Romanesque Revival stands as a seminal treatment of this important architectural style and a model for unraveling the complicated processes through which architecture participates in the cultural negotiation of meaning.”
—Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Winterthur Portfolio

“Curran’s hypotheses invite a host of further investigations. What is more important, she has raised the bar substantially for the range of cultural, political, and religious factors that must be weighed to explain the complex issues of meaning in the use of historical style in nineteenth-century architecture. Her book should be considered an obligatory sequel to Michael Lewis’ brilliant The Politics of German Gothic Revival, which shares some of the same protagonists.”
—Barry Bergdoll, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271022154
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Series: Buildings, Landscapes, and Societies, #2
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Curran is Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Trinity College.

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Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Heinrich Hübsch and the German Rundbogenstil

2. Ludwig I’s Munich: Historicist Urbanism and the Rundbogenstil

3. Friedrich Wilhelm III and the Prussian Civil-Servant State

4. Friedrich Wilhelm IV and the Prusso-Christian State

5. The Romanesque Revival and Victorian Religion

6. The Romanesque Revival and National Education in America

7. The Romanesque Revival and Protestant Patronage in America

Manuscript Sources

Bibliography

Index

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