Artibus et Historiae no. 82 (XLI)

2020, ISSN 0391-9064

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JAKUB ADAMSKI - Double-Nave Friar Churches in Prussia and the Questions of Asymmetry and Irregularity in the Medieval Architecture of the Mendicant Orders (pp. 105–130)

The article is devoted to one of the most intriguing questions related to a peculiar area of medieval architecture: the asymmetrical layout of the numerous double-nave mendicant churches built across Europe between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. To date, this phenomenon has been mentioned in works treating broader subjects only tangentially and has not been convincingly analysed. One of the main goals of this essay is to combine the first critical scholarly discussion of the existing theories about asymmetry in mendicant architecture with a contextualized analysis of some representative examples of double-nave mendicant churches across Europe. It begins with discussion of the most interesting Gothic friar churches in the Teutonic Order state in Prussia and finally proposes a new understanding of the problem in question, arguing that the irregularity of the medieval Franciscan and Dominican churches was understood as a kind of a rhetoric ‘gesture of humility’, compliant with the mendicant ideals of poverty.

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