, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 13–28 | Cite as

Speaking in stone — On the meaning of architecture in the Middle Ages

  • Lex Bosman


Architecture has often served a variety of purposes in addition to that of mere functionality. Different categories of meanings can be distinguished. In this essay some aspects of political meaning in medieval architecture will be discussed. The architecture of churches commissioned for instance by bishops, archbishops, provosts or other high-ranking clerical patrons was often used to express views about the status and position of both patron and institution. Rivalling patrons could copy those parts of each other's churches that were considered essential and characteristic. Buildings were thus often symbols, not only of the Church and of Heavenly Jerusalem, but also of an idealized history and an aspired status and position.


Political Meaning Idealize History Medieval Architecture 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lex Bosman
    • 1
  1. 1.Kunsthistorisch InstituutRijksuniversiteit UtrechtUtrechtNetherlands

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