Classicism and the East: receptions of the oriental in European architecture

Friday 4th July 2014, Durham University, Department of Classics & Ancient History

Where studies of Italian Renaissance architecture have focused on the impact of the antique, they have been directed at the influence of western Roman buildings, particularly those in Italy and southern France, and neglected the role played in Renaissance designs by buildings of the ancient East of Greek, Roman and other ancient cultures. It is also some three to four decades since the work of Margaret Lyttelton, Anthony Blunt and William MacDonald began to explore the possible links between the early modern baroque and its ancient counterpart, most clearly seen in the buildings of the eastern Roman empire, and the impact of the architecture of non-classical cultures of the ancient East on European classicism remains to be investigated. How far was European classicism nurtured by a dialogue with the ancient East, not just Greek and Roman buildings, but the ancient oriental architecture? Bringing together the interests of Durham’s two classical research centres, the Durham Centre for Classical Reception (DCCR) and the Centre for the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (CAMNE), this one-day workshop will reconsider the legacy of the ancient architecture of the eastern Mediterranean for the architecture of early modern Europe. A final open-panel session “Reconfiguring the Baroque” will explore stylistic relations between ancient architecture with “baroque” characteristics and its early modern counterpart and discuss the possible development of a research network grant application on the baroque in ancient and early modern culture.

Programme:

10.00 Welcome

10.15 Introduction (Edmund Thomas)

10.30-1.00: Session 1: Renaissance looks East:
10.30-11.30 Peter Fane-Saunders (Durham), Diodorus Siculus and Renaissance Architecture
11.30-12.00 Coffee
12.00-1.00 Margaret Daly Davis (Florence), Sebastiano Serlio’s Terzo libro on the Antiquities and its fortuna: Recording and Reconstructing Ancient Architecture in the East

1.00-2.00 Lunch

2.00-5.30: Session 2: Orientalising the “Baroque”:
2.00-3.00 Edmund Thomas (Durham), Baalbek and the European Baroque
3.00-4.00 Vaughan Hart (Bath), Wren and Tyrian architecture

4.00-4.30 Tea

4.30-5.30: Session 3: Looking forward: Reconfiguring the “Baroque”, stylistic links between ancient and modern in architecture, art, literature and music:

4.30-5.30 Panel: chaired by Edmund Thomas (Durham) with response by Andrew Hopkins (L’Aquila)

There is no charge for attendance at the conference, but, to help with organising numbers for catering, anyone wishing to attend the conference is requested to contact me as soon as possible and by Friday 27th June. There are a small number of en suite rooms available at a reasonable charge, and anyone requiring overnight accommodation is asked to contact me to make a reservation.

Edmund Thomas
e.v.thomas@durham.ac.uk

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