Ornament, Argument and Etiquette. Architecture as social practice in France, ca. 1700 

30 September 2016 → 31 December 2019
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Curatorial and related studies
    • History
    • Other history and archaeology
    • Art studies and sciences
    • Artistic design
    • Audiovisual art and digital media
    • Heritage
    • Music
    • Theatre and performance
    • Visual arts
    • Other arts
    • Product development
    • Study of regions
Art history Europe influence
Project description

In late 17th-century France there was a general consensus that architectural models from Roman Antiquity and Italian Renaissance no longer necessarily provided valid criteria for architectural design. This moment of crisis instigated a debate about new and valid architectural principles. Previous studies have argued that this debate formed part of attempts by the French royal to institutionalize a range of cultural and scientific practices. The present project focusses on the process by which new norms for architecture were established. It contends that these norms emerged by homologating two other discourses, namely the proper use of language and proper courtly etiquette. Architectural theorists turned to theories of language and etiquette because these theories address the same problem faced by architects, namely whether and how style and appearance should adapt to courtly fashion. Contrary to the architectural treatises of the Italian Renaissance, the discourses on language and etiquette provide a sophisticated framework to discuss this problem. As a result of the homologation of architecture to language and etiquette, new ideas about ornament, style and fashion emerged, which engaged architecture in a broader cultural dialogue.