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Conspicuous Architecture – Medieval Round Churches in Scandinavia

Wienberg, Jes LU (2016) In New Visits to Old Churches – Sacred Monuments and Practices in the Baltic Sea Region
Abstract
Medieval round churches are often seen as riddles in need of special explanation. Deviant architecture has been explained by three major theories – fortification, multi-functionality and symbolic copying. However, I claim that the round churches were normal except for their elite context and extraordinary plan. I then argue, that the elite consciously choose a “conspicuous architecture”, to use a concept inspired by Thorstein Veblen, as a social strategy of status and rivalry. Finally I discuss the theory by Richard Krautheimer on medieval imitation, where selected elements represented a symbolic wholeness, as far as the period was able to produce copies. The medieval building was an active process, where architectural elements from plenty... (More)
Medieval round churches are often seen as riddles in need of special explanation. Deviant architecture has been explained by three major theories – fortification, multi-functionality and symbolic copying. However, I claim that the round churches were normal except for their elite context and extraordinary plan. I then argue, that the elite consciously choose a “conspicuous architecture”, to use a concept inspired by Thorstein Veblen, as a social strategy of status and rivalry. Finally I discuss the theory by Richard Krautheimer on medieval imitation, where selected elements represented a symbolic wholeness, as far as the period was able to produce copies. The medieval building was an active process, where architectural elements from plenty of sources were reused to create something new, as in the medieval reuse of “spolia”. Every church is unique as a node in a web of relations, where the architecture is related to an infinite number of other buildings. I also shortly present an updated overview of the 34 medieval round churches in Scandinavia (fig. 2) as the latest overview for many still is the influential dissertation by Hugo F. Frölen from 1910-11, which wrongly stated, that all round churches were fortified. (Less)
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author
organization
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Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
submitted
subject
keywords
round church conspicuous architecture
in
New Visits to Old Churches – Sacred Monuments and Practices in the Baltic Sea Region
editor
Harjula, janne
publisher
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d6f6d85b-6b52-4324-8b67-5b733506307c (old id 4124540)
date added to LUP
2013-10-28 10:00:56
date last changed
2016-04-16 07:44:54
@misc{d6f6d85b-6b52-4324-8b67-5b733506307c,
  abstract     = {Medieval round churches are often seen as riddles in need of special explanation. Deviant architecture has been explained by three major theories – fortification, multi-functionality and symbolic copying. However, I claim that the round churches were normal except for their elite context and extraordinary plan. I then argue, that the elite consciously choose a “conspicuous architecture”, to use a concept inspired by Thorstein Veblen, as a social strategy of status and rivalry. Finally I discuss the theory by Richard Krautheimer on medieval imitation, where selected elements represented a symbolic wholeness, as far as the period was able to produce copies. The medieval building was an active process, where architectural elements from plenty of sources were reused to create something new, as in the medieval reuse of “spolia”. Every church is unique as a node in a web of relations, where the architecture is related to an infinite number of other buildings. I also shortly present an updated overview of the 34 medieval round churches in Scandinavia (fig. 2) as the latest overview for many still is the influential dissertation by Hugo F. Frölen from 1910-11, which wrongly stated, that all round churches were fortified.},
  author       = {Wienberg, Jes},
  editor       = {Harjula, janne},
  keyword      = {round church conspicuous architecture},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x81225e8)},
  series       = {New Visits to Old Churches – Sacred Monuments and Practices in the Baltic Sea Region},
  title        = {Conspicuous Architecture – Medieval Round Churches in Scandinavia},
  year         = {2016},
}