Embattled Territory. The Circulation of Knowledge in the Spanish Netherlands pages:299-332
This essay focuses on the forms of knowledge informing the shape and design of buildings in the Southern Low Countries during the seventeenth century. Even if historiography casts this period as a time of war, crisis and decline, out of this turmoil some of the most original and creative moments in Netherlandish architectural history arose. We will turn our attention to three primary factors in the formation and circulation of the knowledge peculiar to our field of enquiry: the publication, distribution and collection of ‘paper architecture’ in the form of treatises, engravings and drawings; the establishment of international networks of patrons, both religious and secular; and the emergence of a Catholic apologetic historiography which made available new knowledge concerning religious architecture within a discursive framework suggestive of its application in the present. We will illustrate the implications of these three factors for the design and reception of architecture in two case studies, the first detailing the culture of knowledge of the Jesuit architects of the Belgian province, the second examining the interaction between the design and reception of one particular religious building, the pilgrimage church of Scherpenheuvel.