I thought I had my architectural revival styles straight–Greek, Gothic, Colonial–but somehow I never accounted for the different varieties of Renaissance revival styles until yesterday, when, in my continuous search for double-parlor inspiration, I came across a beautiful photograph of the interior of a Flemish Renaissance Revival house in a New York Times article about upcoming house and garden tours across the country. This parlor took my breath away, and also took me back, to the Flemish (Northern) Renaissance, of course.
The parlor of a 1903 Flemish Renaissance Revival House in Park Slope, Brooklyn, one of several houses open to the public during the upcoming Park Slope Civic Council Tour, and Rogier van der Weyden’s triptych, the Seven Sacraments Altarpiece, c. 1445-50, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.
I don’t know why this style is such a surprise to me: there were several Renaissances, so it only makes sense that there would be several Renaissance Revival styles. The Renaissance itself was a revival of sorts; revivals are eternal. I immediately set off on a walk around Salem to see if I could find buildings of similar inspiration here, but to no avail: this is not a Salem style, perhaps not even a New England one–though I do think there are brownstones in the Back Bay of Boston that feature the distinct roofline. A digital search will have to do for now, but I look forward to future forays. I would expect that this style would flourish in New York, but my preliminary search for more examples of the Flemish Renaissance Revival seems to indicate its particular popularity in the Midwest: surely the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee, built in 1892 is an exemplar.
Flemish Renaissance Revival houses in America: the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee, Vanderslice Hall in Kansas City (1895-96), built for the Meyer family and now the Kansas City Art Institute, rowhouses in the Parkside neighborhood, West Philadelphia, and at 13-15 South William Street, Manhattan.
The inspiration: the beautiful, storybook city of Bruges (Getty Images), and I’m throwing in the great 2008 film here too, just because I also think it’s converging on CLASSIC, the basis for any revival.