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The Walls of the Confessions:Neo-Romanesque Architecture, Nationalism, and Religious Identity in the Kaiserreich

Krieg, Annah (2010) The Walls of the Confessions:Neo-Romanesque Architecture, Nationalism, and Religious Identity in the Kaiserreich. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Scholars traditionally understand neo-Romanesque architecture as a stylistic manifestation of the homogenizing and nationalizing impulse of the Kaiserreich. Images of fortress-like office buildings and public halls with imposing facades of rusticated stone dominate our view of neo-Romanesque architecture from the Kaiserreich (1871-1918). The three religious buildings at the core of this study - Edwin Oppler's New Synagogue in Breslau (1866-1872), Christoph Hehl's Catholic Rosary Church in Berlin-Steglitz (1899-1900), and Friedrich Adler's Protestant Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem (1893-1898) - offer compelling counter-examples of the ways in which religious groups, especially those that were local minorities, adapted the dominant neo-Romanesque style to their own particular quest towards distinctive assimilation in an increasingly complex, national, modern society. This synagogue and these churches belong to an important sub-section of German neo-Romanesque architecture that calls into question our standard narrative of the Wilhelmine neo-Romanesque style as a universalizing and secularizing aesthetic. This synagogue, Catholic parish church, and Protestant church forged a new alliance of religion and politics in the service of two often conflicting masters: the religious community and the nation-state. By reinventing neo-Romanesque forms for a modern, yet still religious context, Edwin Oppler, Christoph Hehl, and Friedrich Adler provide the crucial link necessary to incorporate medievalist architecture into the larger narrative of Germany's modernization.While these sacred structures are prime exemplars of many social and architectural themes, my aim is to present them neither as isolated case studies nor as highlights in a comprehensive survey of Wilhelmine religious architecture. I treat these three sacred structures as central case studies while considering their architecture, decorative programs, and mediated presentation in photography and print publications. The core themes of this work - the struggle between religion and national secular society, a longing for an imagine past as inspiration to create new styles for a new configuration of community - are not only the essential components of our definition of modernity but also what continues to frame our experiences today. Ultimately, these buildings serve as models to understand the challenges of diversity and multicultural society that continue to define our world.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMcCloskey, Barbarabmcc@pitt.eduBMCC
Committee MemberArmstrong, Christopher Dcda68@pitt.eduCDA68
Committee MemberSavage, Kirkksa@pitt.eduKSA
Committee MemberJaskot, Paul
Committee MemberSmith, Terrytes2@pitt.eduTES2
Date: 18 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 2 April 2010
Approval Date: 18 June 2010
Submission Date: 16 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adler; architecture; Germany; Hehl; neo-Romanesque; Oppler; synagogue
Other ID:, etd-04162010-170429
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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