Alexander Jackson Davis and Architecture in Mid-19th Century America

Alexander J. Davis was America’s greatest architect of the mid-nineteenth century. America’s greatest architect of the mid-nineteenth century, a designer of picturesque buildings in myriad styles, Alexander J. Davis was born in New York City on July 24, 1803. The son of a relatively poor bookseller and publisher of religious tracts who moved around the[…]

How the Needs of Monks and Empire Builders Helped Mold the Modern-Day Office

The needs of the times have always influenced office space – whether for the colonial empire or a growing commerce. Introduction The coronavirus pandemic has forced most people to create an office space of their own – whether by devoting a room in our homes for work, sitting socially distanced in common areas or just[…]

Medieval Monastic Cistercian Architecture

Most Cistercian abbeys and churches were built in remote valleys far from cities and populated areas. Introduction Cistercian architecture is a style of architecture associated with the churches, monasteries and abbeys of the Roman Catholic Cistercian Order. It was headed by Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153), who believed that churches should avoid superfluous ornamentation[…]

Medieval Stave Churches of Norway

The churches incorporated local ancient traditions of woodcarving and stone architecture more common on the European continent. Introduction Stave churches are the most famous medieval buildings in Norway and are admired for their unique architecture and beautiful decorations. They are named after the staves or masts that hold up the main structure of the church. Only 28 stave churches are[…]

Architecture of Great Churches and Cathedrals since Late Antiquity

The earliest large churches date from Late Antiquity. Different styles of architecture developed and their fashion spread. Introduction The architecture of cathedrals and great churches is characterised by the buildings’ large scale and follows one of several branching traditions of form, function and style that derive ultimately from the Early Christian architectural traditions established in[…]

Prehistoric Domestic Architecture in the Ohio Valley

Present knowledge indicates that the first permanent houses were constructed by the Adena people between 1000 BCE and 400 CE. By Raymond S. BabyLate Curator Emeritus of Archaeology, Ohio History ConnectionLate Professor of Anthropology, The Ohio State University Introduction “Man’s home is his castle.” Whether this old axiom applies to prehistoric man is a matter[…]

The Forum Romanum and Archaeological Context

The city’s monuments (and their ruins) are cues for memory, discourse, and discovery. Views of Rome The Roman emperor Constantius II (the second son of Constantine the Great) visited Rome for the only time in his life in the year 357 C.E. His visit to the city included a tour of the usual monuments and[…]

The Origins of Cathedrals and Chapels

Millions step into cathedrals and chapels every year. The history of these places of worship offers important insights into Christianity. Introduction Cathedrals and chapels have played vital roles in the development of Christian culture. As a scholar of the Bible, Judaism and Christianity, I have come to learn the historic importance of these structures and[…]

Leading Figures of the Renaissance

From the 14th through the 16th centuries, Europe crackled with energy. Introduction The period in Europe known as the Renaissance began in Italy around 1300. From the 14th through the 16th centuries, Europe crackled with energy. Trade and commerce boomed. Cities grew. Artists and writers experimented with their crafts and created wonderful works of art[…]

Florence: The Cradle of the Renaissance

Exploring the Italian city-state of Florence to learn about a number of advances made there during the Renaissance. Introduction Florence is located on the Arno River, just north of central Italy. The city is often called the “cradle of the Renaissance.” Between 1300 and 1600, it was home to some of the greatest artists and[…]

Stone and Concrete in Ancient Italo-Roman Building Techniques

The masonry techniques discussed here cover a broad chronological range from the second millennium B.C.E. to Late Antiquity. Introduction Building techniques represent an important means through which to study and understand ancient structures. The building technique chosen for a given project can indirectly provide a good deal of information about the building itself, in terms[…]

William Strickland and Greek Temple Architecture in the Early United States

In the architectural void of a new nation, he borrowed from ancient Athens to express America’s democratic ethos. President Andrew Jackson took a keen interest in the construction of the federal mint in Philadelphia, a grand, columned edifice, inspired by the temples of ancient Greece, that opened in 1833. Jackson was not a man known for his appreciation of cultural and artistic pursuits.[…]

Medieval Judgment Art and Architecture at the Church of Saint Trophime

Saint Trophime, Arles, 12th – 15th century (photo: Elliot Brown, CC BY 2.0) By Christine M. Bolli / 08.08.2015 PhD Candidate in Art History University of California, Santa Barbara The Provençal city of Arles in the south of France, is home to the medieval church, Saint Trophime. First impressions When I first saw the church, somewhat inconspicuously wedged[…]

The Church and Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, a Symbol of Medieval Pilgrimage and Ritual

Church of Sainte‐Foy, Conques, France, c. 1050–1130 (photo: jean françois bonachera, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) By Dr. Elisa Foster / 08.08.2015 Lecturer John V. Roach Honors College Texas Christian University On the road Imagine you pack up your belongings in a sack, tie on your cloak, and start off on a months-long journey through treacherous mountains, unpredictable[…]

The Art and Architecture of New Kingdom Egypt, c.1570-1069 BCE

Pillars of the Great Hypostyle Hall from the Precinct of Amun-Re / Photo by Kurohito, Wikimedia Commons The New Kingdom is known as the golden age of ancient Egyptian history. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.29.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Architecture Overview The golden age of the New Kingdom created huge prosperity for Egypt and allowed for[…]

The Art and Architecture of Middle Kingdom Egypt, c.2055-1650 BCE

The Temple of Isis at Philae, with pylonsand an enclosed court on the left and the inner building at right / Photo by Marc Ryckaert, Wikimedia Commons The Middle Kingdom (c. 2000-1650 BCE) was marked by the reunification of Egypt following a period of weak pharaonic power and civil war called the First Intermediate. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh /[…]

Towns and Houses in Middle and New Kingdom Egypt

A small number of sites, especially from the Middle and New Kingdoms, provide us with extraordinary amounts of evidence for the settlement archaeology of ancient Egypt. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Middle Kingdom Introduction A small number of sites, especially from the Middle and New Kingdoms, provide us with extraordinary[…]

The Church of Saint-Pierre in Moissac: Art and Architecture along Medieval Pilgrimage Routes

South-side portal (detail), Church of Ste. Pierre, 1115-1130, Moissac, France (photo: Simon, Creative Commons) By Dr. Shannon Pritchard / 08.08.2015 Assistant Professor of Art History Assistant Chair, Art and Design Department University of Southern Indiana The church of Ste. Pierre (St. Peter) in Moissac, France, dating from 1115-30, has one of the most impressive and elaborate[…]

Fontenay Abbey and the Medieval Cistercian Order

Cloister, Fontenay Abbey, 12th century By Christine M. Bolli / 08.08.2015 PhD Candidate in Art History University of California, Santa Barbara The rules Illumination with St. Benedict delivering his Rule to St. Maurus, Monastery of St. Gilles, Nimes, 1129 The Romanesque abbey of Fontenay (Abbaye de Fontenay) is located in Burgundy, France and stands today as a[…]

The Location of Cities in Ancient Egypt

The location of towns and cities in ancient Egypt was dictated by two principal factors. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction The location of towns and cities in ancient Egypt was dictated by two principal factors; the behaviour of the Nile and the wishes of the king. Royal influence on[…]

Temples and Cities in Ancient Egypt

The temple of Hathor and Nefertari, also known as the Small Temple, dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Ramesses II’s chief consort, Nefertari, at Abu Simbel / Photo by Ad Meskens, Wikimedia Commons A close relationship with particular deities was an important aspect of regional identity in pharaonic Egypt. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology[…]

Building the City in Ancient Egypt

Ruins of ancient Thebes A team of four men could produce 3,000 mudbricks per day. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction Egypt, more particularly the Nile Valley between Aswan and Cairo, is blessed with a cornucopia of constructional resources. An ancient Egyptian who made the (sometimes very short) stroll from the[…]

Palaces in Ancient Egypt: Cities for Kings and Gods

Illustration of the ancient palace of Malkata The grandeur that early European explorers had come to expect in royal building programs seems to have been reserved for sacred space and funerary complexes. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Introduction For early European explorers in Egypt, it was inconceivable that the massive monumental[…]

Noble Villas in New Kingdom Egypt

There were distinct differences between city and village (country) life, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool Although, with exceptions at Amarna, there are few surviving traces of noble villas from the New Kingdom, we have some idea of how they must have looked[…]

Fortified Cities in Ancient Egypt

The Lion Temple Walls do seem to be a defining feature of many Egyptian settlements throughout the dynastic period. By Dr. Steven Snape Reader in Egyptian Archaeology University of Liverpool The origin of urbanism in Egypt includes the emergence of heavily defended walled settlements as major political and economic centres. The policy of providing enclosing walls for[…]

Preserving Ancient Mosaics in the Mediterranean

A restorer removes mortar on a mosaic in Tipasa, Algeria. Image courtesy the Conservation and Restoration Workshop of the Arles Antiquities Museum Flexibility in a funding initiative for mosaics conservators leads to a range of positive outcomes. By Dr. Joan Weinstein / 11.27.2018 Acting Director Getty Foundation Introduction Grant-making is rarely a linear process. It often involves twists and turns along the[…]

What Would It Take to Build a Tower as High as Outer Space?

The Dubai skyline featuring the Burj Khalifa (centre) in 2015 / Wikimedia Commons The human desire to create ever bigger and more impressive structures is insatiable.    By Dr. Sean Sun (left) and Dan Popescu (right) / 08.24.2018 Sun: Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering and at the Physical Science-Oncology Center under[…]

Unsentimental Vistas: Berenice Abbott and 20th-Century Interwar Urban Photography

Berenice Abbott “I am an American, who, after eight years of residence in Europe, came back to view America with new eyes.” By Ayten Tartici PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature Yale University When the American photographer Berenice Abbott returned to New York in 1929 after nearly a decade away in Paris, she came back to[…]

What the World Can Learn from Greece’s Passion for the Arts

Despite its economic crises, Greece did not falter in its mission to support arts and culture. Rhodes, pictured here, has become a role model when it comes to promoting a visionary cultural policy and supporting a vibrant arts and culture community. Serhat Beyazkaya/Unsplash The Greek model of supporting the arts is both old and ongoing; it embraces difference and internationalism[…]

Five Crusader Fortifications in the Medieval Levant

Dues Vault, Hospitaller fortress in Acre, Israel / Creative Commons Taking a tour through five well-known 13th-century fortifications and castles built by Crusaders in the Levant. By Dr. David Nicolle Visiting Research Fellow University of Nottingham Margat William of Oldenburg described Margat as follows: A huge and very strong castle, defended by a double wall and protected[…]