Monday, December 9, 2013

Fête galante

Fête galante: French term literally meaning courtship party

This term is used to describe a style of painting which was many famous by Antoine Watteau, one of the most influential French painters of the early 18th century. The term was coined to its affiliation with the style at the Academy of 1717. Watteau's receptions piece , "The Embarkation for the Island of Cythera", was described as representing "une fête galante".

"The Embarkation for the Island of Cythera"

This style was typically associated with showing men and women in elegant attire in a natural setting who seemed to be playing joyfully. These type of paintings were typically sponsored by private patrons rather than the government; hey didn't provide the morally educational paintings that they desired.

"The Dance" by imitator, Jean Baptiste Pater


Norfolk House in St. Jame's Square

Norfolk House is in far right of St. Jame's Square
This building was constructed in 1722 for the Duke of Norfolk, and remained under the ownership of the Dukes of Norfolk until 1938 when it became an office building. This royal residence turned office served as location for many senior officers during the Second World War. Today, two plaques on the exterior offer acknowledgement for its role during the war.

The interior was fully refitted to fit the purposes of all the offices but before completely tearing it down, some of the interior rooms were relocated such as the Music Room designed by Giovanni Battista Borra.

The Norfolk House Music Room, now on display in the British Galleries, contains the same paneling and the doorways as the original room did. It was located in the North West corner of the royal residence which took up the whole first floor. Strong French influence is evident in the decorations.


San Roque Church

The San Roque Church is located in Lisbon, and was the earliest Jesuit church in Portugal. This church served as the home church in Portugal for over 200 years, before the Jesuits were expelled. In 1755 there was a terrible earthquake in Lisbon, but the San Roque Church was one of the few buildings to survive with minor damages. 
Decor within the church reflected both the Society of Jesus and the respective brotherhoods or confraternities.  The church began as ideas of the Catholic Reformation, but then began to respond to the efforts of the Church gaining the attention of the faithful. The decor of the church ranged from Mannerist, to Baroque, to Roman Baroque.  

Some decor elements include:
Interior of San Roque Church
Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament


Ceiling Medallion

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Galicia, Spain.  The cathedral is both a burial place of Saint James the Greater, and a destination of the Way of Saint James, a pilgrimage route since the Early Middle Ages.  The styles of the cathedral include Romanesque with later Gothic and Baroque additions.  Each facade with its adjacent squares make up an urban plaza. Some features of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela include:
Cathedral of Santiago
de Compostela
The Portico da Gloria: a Romanesque portico designed by Master Mateo.  Three round arches respond to the three naves of the church.  The central arch, which is twice as large as the others, has a tympanum and is divided by a central column (a mullion).
Portico da Gloria
Tympanum: arrangement based on the description of Christ that John makes in the Book of Revelations.

Mullion: Figure of St. James as patron of the basilica. Capital above the head represents the temptations of Christ. Capital below the feet represents figures of the Holy Trinity.

Church Our Lady of the Conception

"Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora da Conceição" translated from Portuguese means parish church of our lady of conception. This church is located in Ouro Preto, Brazil along with the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi designed by Aleijadinho. The designer of this church was his father, Manuel Francisco Lisboa. Construction of it took place between 1727 and 1746.

It is said that many important figures of the city are buried there, including Aleijadinho and his father. This church is known famously for its 8 lavishly decorated altars. The altar pieces consist of both baroque and rococo elements. They used to be covered in gold, but are now painted over. The altar is also decorated with plant motifs, full of curves and whimsical elements which give it the rococo feel.

360 View:,-5.60,75.0


Granada Cathedral

Granada Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Incarnation, is located in Granada, Spain.  The construction of the church occurred when the Spanish Renaissance designs were replacing the Gothic style so some of the construction of the cathedral had to wait in order to follow this newer style.  Something unique about this church is that there are five naves instead of the typical one.  Another unique element was the circular capilla mayor rather than the semicircular apse.  It is believed that this was influenced by the Italian idea for circular perfect buildings.
Granada Cathedral
Interior of Granada Cathedral
Alonzo Cano, also known as Alonso Cano, was a Spanish painter, architect, and sculptor.  He was the architect for the Granada Cathedral.
Alonzo Cano

Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk

The Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk was designed by Jan Blazej Santini Aichl, a Czech-Italian architect.  The combination of Gothic and Baroque styles were used in the design of this church.  The church was a shrine for St. John of Nepomuk.  St. John of Nepomuk was a martyr who died in 1393.  A follower of St. John, Abbot Vaclav Vejmiuva, of the Cistercian Abbey nearby had the church constructed.
The church was to be a place of pilgrimage from the beginning of the design.  The cloister around the chapel was based on a ten-point star plan that was completed in 1769.  The main importance in the design of this church is that there is a lot of symbolism within the complex, with an example of the number five reoccurring often.
Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk
Pilgrimage Church of
St. John of Nepomuk

Religious Symbolism

St. Francis of Assisi Church

The Church of St. Francis of Assisi, designed by Antonio Francisco Lisboa, was erected in 1766 in the city of Ouro Preto in Brazil. Aleijadinho, as he was more famously known, took 29 years building this church. It wasn't completed until the end of the 19th century.

A prominent feature of the church is that of the statue of Our Lady of Conception and a medallion that shows Saint Francis made out of soapstone. The facade is curvilinear in form and also has cylindrical towers.

The interior of the church also consisted of much detailing, a lot of it being plated in gold wood peices. The detailing in the side altars are what give this church some rococo characteristics; angels, flowers and thorns that are painted in white and gold. The interior decorations include one of Manuel da Costa Ataide's most famous paintings called, "Our Lady of Angels".

360 View:,0.90,92.8


El Escorial Palace

The El Escorial Palace, also known as Escorial, is located northwest of Madrid, Spain.  This palace is one of the historical Spanish royal sites and has many functions.  Within the palace, there is a monastery, royal palace, museum, and school.  The Escorial was originally for the Hieronymite monks, but is now a monastery for the Order of St. Augustine.  The Escorial was designed by Juan Bautista de Toledo.  Juan Bautista de Toledo spent the majority of his architecture career working in Rome.

The Escorial is located at the foot of mt. Abantos in Sierra de Guadarrama.  This is an odd location, but was chosen none the less by King Philip II of Spain.  The building began being constructed in 1563.  When Juan Bautista de Toledo died in 1567, King Philip II appointed Juan de Herrera to help finish it.  The building was finally completed in 1584.
Vista aerea del Monasterio de El Escorial.jpg
El Escorial
First Floor plan

Catherine Palace

Catherine Palace is a palace located southeast of St. Petersburg, Russia.  The main style present in the palace is the Rococo style. The palace started when Catherine I of Russia asked the German architect, Johann Friedrich Braunstein, to design a residence for herself in 1717.  The palace was expanded in 1733. In 1752, Catherine I of Russia decided she was unhappy with the residence and told the architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, to tear it down and redesign a larger one.  Over 100 kilograms of gold were used in the construction of the new palace.
South side of Catherine Palace

South side of Catherine Palace

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

The Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Pondicherry and Cuddalore was consecrated in 1791. It is also known as "Samba Kovil" which can be translated in a corrupted form as "Saint Paul's Kovil". "Kovil" means church so this church is being attributed to Saint Paul.

The church was demolished 3 separate times, first in 1693 by the Dutch, then again around 1730, and in 1761 by the British. Each of the times, the church was built again in the same location. It was originally established by the Jesuit Fathers who came to the French colony of Pondicherry  in 1689.
Louis XIV, King of France at the time was the patron for the erection of the first church before it was demolished by the Dutch.


Convent de San Esteban

Convent de San Esteban is a Dominican monastery located in Salamanca.  The facade consists of the front of the church and the adjacent monastery portico.  The church's entry is an example of the style known as plateresque.  Plateresque means "in the manner of a silversmith" and is a modification of Gothic spatial concepts and a blend of decorative components.  Renaissance Italian loggias were the inspiration for the portico of the monastery.  The church has a Latin cross plan with a single nave.  Both Gothic and Renaissance styles are present in the church.  The Gothic remains in the lower parts, and the Renaissance in the dome and presbytery.
Convent de San Esteban


Click here for a video of the Convent de San Esteban

Basilica of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel

The Basilica of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel was consecrated in 1627 but not considered a minor basilica until 1922. The city of Scherpenheuvel has a long history of pilgrimage, this basilica being one of the most visited.

The location of where this basilica is located is based on an old tale about an oak tree on top of a hill. Based on the legend, a small shepherd boy tried to take the small statue of the Virgin Mary, but when he tried to pick it up, he was frozen in his tracks. When his master realized that he hadn't come home, he came looking for him. It wasn't until he placed the statue back in its' location that the boy could move again.

As the legend spread, so did the popularity of this location for pilgrimage. In 1602, Godfried Van Thienwinkel, the pastor of Zichem, built a wooden chapel next to this oak tree. He himself had been healed miraculously by his visit to this site.



Palace Church

Palace Church was designed by Jose Benito de Churriguera (1665-1725).  Jose Benito de Churriguera was a Spanish architect and sculptor of the Late-Baroque to Rococo style. Churriguera has a specific style on his facade designs that have been described as obsessive.  This style description has led to the word churrigueresque and has been influenced by high decorations of Moorish architecture.  Jose Benito de Churriguera, along with his two brothers Joaquin and Alberto, were seen as leading architects of the time.
Palacio de Nuevo Baztán.jpg
Palace Church
The Palace Church is located in Madrid, Spain and is a palace linked with a church.  This church's interior is a prime example of Jose Benito de Churriguera's churrigueresque style.  The palace is associated with the Goyeneche family.

Jakob Prandtauer

Jakob Prandtauer (1660-1726) was an Austrian Baroque architect who was trained as a stonesman. One of his famous works is the Kremsmunster Abbey.  Kremsmunster Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located in Kremsmunster, Upper Austria.  The monastery was founded in 777 by Tassilo III.  The monastery suffered a lot during the Napoleonic wars and was slow to recover. 
Kremsmunster Abbey Church
Mathematical Tower with
Astronomical Observatories

Abbey Church Interior

Jakob Prandtauer also designed the Melk Abbey, a Benedictine monastery located in Austria.  This monastery is among one of the world's most famous monastic sites.
Melk Abbey
Click here for a video of the Melk Abbey

Francois Mansart

Francois Mansart (1598-1666) was a French architect.  He is known for introducing France to classicism in Baroque architecture.  The mansard roof was named after him because he typically used a four-sided, double slope gambrel roof with windows on the steeper lower slope.  This roof was able to create additional habitable space. Mansart was originally not trained to be an architect, he grew up being trained as a stonemason and as a sculptor.  He learned all of his architecture skills in Salomon de Brosse's studio.

Francois Mansart

The best preserved example of his work:

Chateau de Maisons

Click here for a video about the Chateau de Maisons

Church of the Society of Jesus

The Church of the Society of Jesus is located in Quito, Ecuador.  This church is well known for its large central nave which is decorated in gold leaf, gilded plaster and wood carvings.  Being inspired by two Roman Jesuit churches, it is one of the most significant works of Spanish Baroque architecture located in South America.  
The floor plan creates a Latin cross, consisting of central, northern, and southern arms.  It also has the traditional nave, transept, crossing, sacristy and chapel.  The facade was carved entirely out of Ecuadorian andesite stone by Venancio Gandolfi, finished in .
File:La Compañía en Quito Ecuador.JPG
Interior of La Compania with gold leaf finish

File:La Compañía, Quito - 5.jpg
High altar of La Compania

File:Iglesia La Compania, Quito, Ecuador.JPG
La Compania

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)

Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian architect and artist who worked mainly in Rome, Italy.  He was credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture of his time and was the leading sculptor of his age.  He was known for a wide range of ability, being able to show dramatic narratives all the way to showing intense psychological states and grand sculptures.  With these skills, he was known as a successor of Michelangelo. During Bernini's career, he was given many important commissions which many were under the papacy.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, self-portrait, c1623.jpg
Here are some of his works:

St. Peter's Square
St Sebastian (Gianlorenzo Bernini).JPG
Saint Sebastian

Fontana del Quattro Fiumi

Sao Francisco Church and Convent

The Sao Francisco Church and Convent is located in Salvador and is a very important colonial monument in Brazil.  The Friars that began this church started in 1587, but it was destroyed during the Dutch invasions of Bahia in the early 17th century.  Father Vincente das Chagas began the new convent in 1686.  The church took decades to build and was finished by 1755.

Sao Francisco Church

The nave of this church stands out among other Northeast Brazil churches because it has three aisles, whereas most only have one.  Three lateral chapels are located on each of these aisles.  The floor plan of the Sao Francisco Church and Convent are influenced by  the Sao Francisco Church of Oporto.  The main facade had influence of Mannerist architecture.  It has three portals, two flanking towers, and elaborate volutes.
Nave of the church

Bernini's Scala Regia

The Scala Regia is a ceremonial staircase leading from the narthex of St. Peter's Basilica to the papal apartments in Vatican City.  The staircase was built by Antonio da Sangallo in the early 16th century, and was restored by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1663 to 1666.  The area dedicated for the stairs was very narrow, so Bernini had trouble designing.  He reverted back to optical illusions because he did not want the stairway to seem small.  The optical illusion he used was perspectival diminution in which the objects appear different that what they are.  As you ascend the stairs of the Scala Regia, the walls become more narrow, the column diameters are smaller, and the distance the columns are from the walls is much shorter.
Scala Regia

Jan Santini Aichel

Jan Santini Aichel (1677-1723) was a Czech architect that stylizes in Baroque Gothic architecture.  A major influence for him was Francesco Borromini, which is apparent in Aichel's star-shaped forms and complex symbolism. He died at a young age of 46, and therefore some of his works remain unfinished.

Here are a few of his works:

File:Plasy, Czech town - monastery, large hall.jpg
Interior of the Cistercian
Monastery in Plasy

Monastery Church of the Assumption
of Virgin Mary

File:Zvole-kostel svateho Vaclava.jpeg
Church of St. Wenceslas in Zvole