chapter  4
25 Pages

On baroque

WithGevork Hartoonian

Erwin Panofsky's 1934 essay, entitled 'What is Baroque?' provides an opening to discuss the tectonics in baroque architecture. This chapter focuses on various interpretations of the tectonic of column and wall, if only to index the possibility of a different reading of baroque architecture. It then discusses the singularity of baroque architecture in its complex rapport with the culture of Humanism. The chapter considers its deviations from the Humanist ethos. It presents the historicity of the 1930s, and the emergence of the thematic of critical historiography, as the missing point in most contemporary theorization of the baroque in general, and of Panofsky's text in particular. The play on the title of Panofsky's text provides an opening to discuss the state of tectonics in baroque architecture. It is important to remember that issues such as racial and regional, the Germanic versus the Italian, for example, were another vector in Riegl's search into the nature of the baroque.