About the project

The Quest for the Legitimacy of Architecture (1750-1850) is the VIDI programme awarded to Maarten Delbeke by the Dutch Science Foundation NWO. It is carried out at the Leiden University Center for the Arts in Society by a team of three researchers: project supervisor Maarten Delbeke, postdoctoral researcher Sigrid de Jong, and PhD candidate Linda Bleijenberg. We are regularly joined in our reflections by Caroline van Eck, Professor of History and Theory of Visual Art and Architecture to 1800 in Leiden.

The project aims to examine how, from the turn of the 18th century until the 19th century, new ideas on the origins of civilization explained and legitimized the relation of architecture to its cultural context.

This is done along three tracks: ‘The building as book as a new origin of architecture’, which investigates the relationship between new ideas on the origin and meaning of architecture and the 18th and 19th century interest in language and symbolism; ‘Primitivism and architectural theory, 1750-1850’, which is concerned with the role of primitivist ideas in the architectural discourse of the period; and ‘The primitive hut in 18th and 19th century architectural discourse’, which maps and analyses the variety of primordial huts that start to appear in architectural treatises from the mid 18th century onwards.

This blog was launched to share our research and the material we work on with a wider audience. Via regular updates and posts we hope to introduce you to our most interesting sources, discuss the literature we use, share some of the texts we have written, and report on events and activities related to our research. A blog is also an ideal place to share topics and observations not directly related to our research, but interesting enough to reflect upon: a case in point is primitivism, a fascinating phenomenon that is definitely not restricted to the 18th and 19th centuries. We also plan to invite a guest blogger every once in a while, to shine his or her light on a specific topic that borders on our project. Feel free to comment on our posts and share them with others!


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