A History of St. Saviour's Lutheran Church in Subate: Aspects of the Concept of the Ideal Protestant Temple in the 17th Century Cover Image
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Subates luterānu baznīcas būvvēsture un 17. gadsimta ideālā prtestantu dievnama koncepcijas aspekti tās arhitektoniskajā izveidē
A History of St. Saviour's Lutheran Church in Subate: Aspects of the Concept of the Ideal Protestant Temple in the 17th Century

Author(s): Anna Ancāne
Subject(s): Essay|Book Review |Scientific Life
Published by: Mākslas vēstures pētījumu atbalsta fonds
Keywords: St. Saviour's Lutheran Church; Subate; Latvian architecture; Dutch influences; Protestant architecture; Calvinist temples; central planning

Summary/Abstract: This is a short insight into the origin and creation of a unique architectural object in Latvia, which demonstrates the characteristic Dutch style of the 2nd half of the 17th century. Furthermore, this is an excellent example that proves an influence of creative ideas and actual architecture tendencies coming from Holland to Latvia. The above monument's architectural value has been underestimated for years. Evidently, the main reason for the lack of information was the apparent isolation of the building in the Latvian milieu - from both the stylistic and typological aspects. An art historian can hardly operate with an individual work of art, with no analogue to compare it with. Therefore we have to get to the heart of the matter in order to trace the origins of the monument's architectural features. St. Saviour's church itself is a rectangular building, almost a square. The configuration of the structure is typical of the 17th century Calvinist temples of central planning in Holland. The characreristic architectural features do not have any analogue among the other architectural monuments of Latvia: the compact form of the building is crowned by a high roof, and its tendency towards a central plan is emphasized by four small turrets - one at each corrner - as well as a fifth on the ridge of the roof. The walls are rhythmically divided by colossal order pilasters, which stand out from the wall surface and are connected by semi-circular arches. The main decorative element that enriches the generally quite severe architectural image is the framing of the windows: each of them is decorared with profiled segmental and triangular pediments, which alternate according to baroque principles. In all aspects, the interior corresponds to the requirements of 17th century Protestant architecture, where the main demand was for breadth and unity of the inner space. Thus, even giving just a short description, we can recognize a unique and significant sample of ideal Protestant temple architecture at a great distance away from the countries of its origin. In exploring the development and diffusion of the classical style in other countries, we should pay particular atrention to the architectural treatises and printed examples, which were considered to be an essential part of aristocratic and professional libraries throughout Europe. Such treatises were used regularly as a basis for new architectural projects. In the case of the Subate Lutheran Church, we can recognize a sample for a four-towered temple in a treatise book by Leonhard Christian Sturm, a German professor of architecture, educated in Leyden and who attended lectures by Nicolaus Goldmann, a famous professor of architecture. Being one of the most influential theoreticians, Goldmann was a proponent of the principles of the Vitruvian order system in both sacred as well as secular architecture.

  • Issue Year: 2006
  • Issue No: 05
  • Page Range: 5-14
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Latvian