Neoclassical / Revivalist: 18th – 19th Centuries

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, NY

Neoclassical architecture sought to revive the images of Classical Greek and Roman buildings reflected in the intellectual awakening among the middle and upper classes in Europe during the period historians often call the Enlightenment.

With this revival came an architecture oriented toward rational symmetry and geometric form as a response to Late-Baroque (Rococo) architecture of curves and elaborate designs.  This evident in the hulking façades and Doric columns of many buildings. 

Revivalist architecture expresses similar sentiments with many churches constructed in the Gothic style, as well as Byzantine, Renaissance and Romanesque.  Both of these styles are a “harkening back” to earlier periods, sometimes trying to replicate older structures in a new location, or simply trying to honor the past.  It is quite common for churches built in recent years with these styles to contain a “mixture” of style features, for example, a Classical columned façade with rounded arch Romanesque windows. 

Example illustrated: St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, NY

See image with the tall, slim steeples and rose window in between. Also note the extensive use of pointed (Gothic) arches in the doorways and windows.

Another example: St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, Hungary

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