French architects and ‘églises grecques’: the discovery of byzantine architecture in Greece, 1820s–1840s
- Journal Article
This article attributes the discovery of byzantine architecture in Greece to the writings of French architects from the 1820s to the 1840s. It aims to demonstrate how publications of Abel Blouet, André Couchaud, and others contributed to challenging the established portrayal of Greece as the exclusive locus of classical antiquity by bringing international attention to the country’s medieval architecture. A French interest in the Greek byzantine heritage emerged in the early nineteenth century as part of the national and geopolitical interests of France in the eastern Mediterranean. The article analyses how Greek byzantine architecture was distinguished as a historical category and placed within the broader French discourse on medieval architecture and national patrimony, with some scholars tracing the gothic style back to byzantine roots. Moreover, the article demonstrates that in Greece, by contrast, byzantine architecture was treated with ambivalence, if not outright rejection as local intellectuals strongly adhered to the self-image of Greece as the land of the classics. The unanimous acceptance of byzantine architecture as an object of national heritage and scholarly research would take place only in late nineteenth-century Greece. Show more
Journal / seriesThe Journal of Architecture
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit09605 - Delbeke, Maarten / Delbeke, Maarten
MoreShow all metadata