Presenter Information

Michael Kiene Ph.D.


Michael Kiene discusses the career of the nineteenth-century architect Jacques-Ignace Hittorff and how Hittorff’s interests and research came together in the Basilica of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris. Hittorff made extensive studies of ancient Greek art and architecture and was one of the first scholars to recognize that brightly colored paint had been used in antiquity. His basilica’s portico was archaeologically correct and originally featured polychrome art done in enamel on lava stone. Hittorff put a great deal of effort into researching how polychromy could be applied to modern architecture. Unfortunately, this art was removed due to public criticism and can only be appreciated in what survives from its design phase. The plan for the basilica and its unique features are described in detail, as is Hittorff’s theory of aesthetics.