The Most Prominent Examples of Dutch Classicist Architecture in Riga: Reutern House Cover Image
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Holandiešu klasicisma arhitektūras spilgtākie piemēri Rīgā: Reiterna nams
The Most Prominent Examples of Dutch Classicist Architecture in Riga: Reutern House

Author(s): Anna Ancāne
Subject(s): Essay|Book Review |Scientific Life
Published by: Mākslas vēstures pētījumu atbalsta fonds
Keywords: Reutern House; Riga; architecture; baroque; classicism; Dutch influences; Palladianism; Rupert Bindenschu; collossal order

Summary/Abstract: Stylistic description of the most excellent examples of Riga 17th century architecture in art literature, including Reutern House, is often limited to ascribing them to Baroque. When describing the style, one should refrain from strict classifications as both classicised Baroque and Classicism of the Baroque epoch may be involved. Nevertheless, remembering the typical formal features of Dutch Classicist or Palladian architecture, it would be more appropriate to consider it as a specific Northern European phenomenon, a very pronounced expression of Classicism within the chronological boundaries of Baroque. Compared with the works of Northern Dutch classicists, one of the typical features of Reutern House is the emphasised contrast between the smooth, classicist-type façade solution and the finish of the entrance portals. Reutern House was a quite ambitious project for the 17th century Riga town environment; it can be described as an outstanding example of Dutch Classicism, coinciding with Philips Vingboons’ and Pieter Post’s architectonic heritage and similar architecture in Stockholm, Reval (Tallinn) and Narva. The local specificity of Riga Palladianism consists in the presence of definitely Baroque elements in the façade finish – more than in Holland itself. The innovative contribution of master Rupert Bindenschu to the new-style dwelling houses should not be underestimated. Bindenschu’s style was strongly influenced by the Dutch architects’ constructive principles. The town’s cultural environment was largely shaped by its links with Sweden and the political and economical background, but in Bindenschu’s case, it seems direct links with the Dutch architectural heritage were involved. As a radical innovator on the hitherto medieval background, Bindenschu was the first in Riga to introduce the standards of the Northern European aristocracy’s contemporary style – primarily the colossal order and its accompanying aesthetic system. The construction of the Reutern House portal is an interesting issue: it is the only example in 17th century Riga architecture. Façades of Dutch Classicism rarely feature similar portals with free-standing columns. One can assume that the symbiosis of this kind of architectonic structure with reserved façade aesthetics typifies the master Bindenschu’s individual style, adding a surprisingly vital nuance to the dry Northern Palladianism. A model might be found in a book of sample drawings found in the master’s library, for example, the work by Vincenzo Scamozzi. Although Dutch architects mostly used pilasters instead of free-standing columns, some examples can be found in Pieter Post’s projects: the wings of the Villa Vredenburgh, the central hall of Maastricht Town Hall etc. Post’s unrealised portal project with free-standing columns of Corinthian order is a significant example.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 08
  • Page Range: 5-14
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Latvian