Jesuit Architecture in the Crosshairs of Confessional Politics

Public lecture of the Jesuit Heritage Summer School on 9 September 2021

From the 1840s, when the Swiss historian and art historian Jacob Burckhardt first coined the term “Jesuit style”, the art historical characterization of Jesuit churches and other buildings was an intrinsically political matter. In this lecture by professor Evonne Levy (University of Toronto), key episodes in the politicized interpretation of European Jesuit architecture in the 19th and 20th centuries will be discussed. Equally important to this story is the “neutralization” of confessional politics in the post-war period. Levy asks if the receding of an overt confessional politics is a loss or a gain for the remarkable Jesuit monuments that dot the European cityscapes.

This online lecture is part of the first edition of the Jesuit Heritage Summer School, organized by the Ruusbroec Institute (University of Antwerp) and UCSIA. The online summer course for Master’s and doctoral students focusses on the wide variety of Jesuit art and architecture and the underlying theories and political context. Moreover, the summer school will also pay particular attention to the city of Antwerp. The lecturers during this summer school include Bert Daelemans SJ (Universidad Pontificia Comillas), Ralph Deconinck (Université Catholique de Louvain), Pierre Delsaerdt (University of Antwerp), Evonne Levy (University of Toronto), Guido Marnef (University of Antwerp), Walter Melion (Emory University), and Evelyne Verheggen (University of Antwerp).

Watch the webinar!



Evonne Levy

Evonne Levy

Evonne Levy, Distinguished Professor of Early Modern Art at the University of Toronto, is an art historian who works on the global baroque and on the intellectual history of the discipline of art history with a particular focus on the discipline’s’ often unspoken politics. She is the author of Propaganda and the Jesuit Baroque (California, 2005) and Baroque and Baroque and the Political Language of Formalism (1845–1945): Burckhardt, Wölfflin, Gurlitt, Brinckmann, Sedlmayr (Schwabe, 2015) and recently co-edited with Tristan Weddigen a new English translation and first critical edition of Heinrich Wölfflin’s Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Early Modern Art (Getty, 2015) as well as a volume of essays, The Global Reception of Heinrich Wölfflin’s Principles of Art History (National Gallery of Art, 2020).



Related events


University Centre Saint-Ignatius Antwerp

Ruusbroec Institute

interdisciplinary research centre for the academic study of the history of spirituality in the Low Countries

Jesuit Heritage Summer School

Jesuit Heritage:
Art and Architecture

online summer school
6-10 September 2021


Koningstraat 2
B-2000 Antwerpen
Tel. +32 (0)3 265 49 60

Voorlopige locatie tijdens de renovatiewerken:
Blindestraat 14, 2000 Antwerpen