Renaissance and Baroque – 16th and 17th century

<p><strong>Architectural riches</strong><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>Walking through the historic city centre of Antwerp is a feast for the eye.From classical perfection to Catholic excesses&hellip; the architectural styles of 16th and 17th century are a blessing for Antwerp&rsquo;s streets.</p>

 

Renaissance – classical perfection

For the 16th century architect, classical Greek-Roman architecture was the preeminent symbol of perfect beauty. As a mathematician he calculated the ideal proportions and used the classical shapes and motifs of the Renaissance style in his new designs. The façade decorations on the Late Gothic buildings De Balans and Spaengien (Grote Markt) are a first careful exercise in style.The earliest pure Renaissance façade is that of the Karbonkel house located at Groenplaats 33.The City Hall, Hessenhuis and most buildings on the Conscienceplein are jubilant textbook examples of pure Renaissance.

Baroque: a fiery feast

The flamboyant Baroque style is the Catholic answer to bare Protestantism.Gold, marble and extravagant scroll motifs or volutes – churches used them lavishly on façades and furnishings.The smaller Keizer (Emperor) chapel and St Anne’s chapel follow this trend.The Baroque style explodes completely in the St Carolus Borromeus Church, which Rubens helped decorate.Gothic churches such as St Paul’s and St James’ tried to acquire a more Baroque effect via alterations and new decorations.Citizens also loved the Baroque style.Huis Schockaert (Mutsaardstraat 33) owes its opulent personality to the façade volutes and the lion masks and festoons in its portal frame.Those Spanish gates typify Antwerp’s Baroque bourgeois houses of the 17th century.Be sure to gaze at the lavish luxury of the Hof van Liere, De Gulden Passer, Rockox house and the Groote Witte Arend.

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