Friday, November 10, 2006

St. Anne's Church, Vilnius, Lithuania

I've managed to find some images of the curious Flamboyant Gothic brick church in Vilnius which was the inspiration for my Holy Trinity Chapel project; I post them here in part to show that I wasn't just imagining the odd half-round pseudo-proto-Palladian thermal window, and also to give a sense to my readers of how the traditionally-trained architect works from a precedent, modifying and massaging it to produce a new organic whole often surprisingly different from its parent model.

St. Anne's at night.

The ever-useful Wikipedia notes:

A novel aproach to bricks as a construction material was employed in the church's construction. The main façade, designed in the Flamboyant Gothic style, is its most striking feature. Traditional Gothic elements and shapes were used in unique ways; Gothic arches are framed by rectangular elements dominating a symmetrical and proportionate façade, creating an impression of dynamism.

St. Anne's during the day, showing its monastic context

[...] It was built using 33 different kinds of red-painted bricks. The interior is decorated in the Baroque style, as is its altar. The imitative neo-Gothic bell tower, constructed in 1870s, stands nearby.
The entry also notes:
The first church at this site, thought to be wooden, was built for Anna, the second wife of Vytautas the Great. Originally initially intended for the use of Catholic Germans and other visting Catholics, it was destoyed by a fire in 1419. The present brick church was constructed on the initiative of the King Alexander[2] in 1495 - 1500 and has also suffered severe fire damage. The reconstruction of the church, funded by Mikołaj "the Black" Radziwiłł and Jerzy Radziwiłł, was carried out in 1582. The exterior of the church has remained almost unchanged since then.

The design of the church building is attributed to either Michael Enkinger, the architect of a church of the same name in Warsaw, or to Benedikt Rejt. However, none of the attributions is attested in written sources. St. Anne's Church is part of an ensemble, comprised of the much larger Gothic Church of St. Francis and Bernardines with a monastery.
Just thought you might like to know. There's a whole lot more Gothic out there besides delicate French cathedrals and pastoral English parish churches, and would-be architects would do well to study it.

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