Pierre Cuypers
16 May1827 – 3 May1921
Lay Dominican

A brief biography.

Petrus (Pierre) Josephus Hubertus Cuypers, son of a church painter, was born in Roermond, Netherlands, on 16 May 1827. He grew up in surroundings in which interest for art was encouraged. After his studies at the urban college of Roermond, he moved to Antwerp in 1844 to study architecture at the art academy. He was taught by Frans Andries Durlet, Frans Stoop and Ferdinand Berckmans, all pioneers of the neo-Gothic architecture in Belgium. Cuypers gained the Prix d'Excellence of the academy in 1849.
After a tour through the German Rheinland, he returned to Roermond, where he was appointed a town architect in 1851. In 1852, he opened a work shop to manufacture ecclesiastical art.


Cuypers' ecclesiastical work was initially strongly influenced by 13th century French architecture and by the writings of his friends Eugene Viollet-le-Duc and J. A. Alberdingk Thijm.
Cuypers designed 100 churches in Nederland, of which 70 were realized, in which the French influence played a prominent role. Highlights from this first period are among others the Lambert's Church in Veghel and the Catharina's Church in Eindhoven.
From 1870 onwards Cuypers' style became more influenced by the native Gothic styles of the Netherlands as well as Gothic styles from other countries like Norway and Italy. He also experimented with centralizing ground-plans and other non-conventional layouts. In this second part of his career he built some of his best work. His last church was built in Vlissingen (1914).
He desgned and realized also many monasteries and chapels. 

National Museum of Fine Arts and the Central Station in Amsterdam.

The National Museum of Fine Arts (Rijksmuseum: 1876-1885), Amsterdam, was designed by Cuypers in a combination of both Renaissance and Gothic styles in the late 1870s. The result is similar to the Hotel de Ville in Paris in what is considered to be "French Neo-Renaissance" style. However at the Rijksmuseum the Gothic elements seem to outweigh the Renaissance and the building, despite the English Renaissance quoins, and chateauesque roofs, is often considered to be Gothic.
The Central Station of Amsterdam was designed and realized 1881-1889. After 1883 he was assisted in much of his work by his son Joseph Cuypers.


Pierre Cuypers led a large number of restorations. His conceptions concerning restorations has been frequently criticized; restoration often implied that the building was awfully damaged, but Cuypers tried to satisfy an idealized image of the style or the idea how the original builders had intended a building to be rather than to preserve the architectural evolution of the building.
An early example of this is the extensive restoration of the Munster Church in Roermond (1863-1890), where Cuypers replaced original towers by new ones.


Pierre Cuypers restored also the Muiderslot (castle) in Muiden, Nederland, located at the mouth of the river Vecht, some 15 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam in 1895.
The history of the Muiderslot begins with Count Floris V who built a stone castle at the mouth of the river Vecht back in 1280, when he gained command over an area that used to be part of the See of Utrecht. The River Vecht was the trade route to Utrecht, one of the most important trade towns of that age. The castle was used to enforce a toll on the traders. It is a relatively small castle, measuring 32 by 35 metres with brick walls well over 1.5 metres thick. A large moat surrounded the castle.

In 1370, Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria, who at that time was also the Count of Holland and Zeeland. rebuilt the castle on the same spot based on the same plan.

The next famous owner of the castle shows up in the 16th century, when P.C. Hooft (1581-1647), a famous author, poet and historian took over sheriff and bailiff duties for the area (Het Gooiland). For 39 years he spent his summers in the castle and invited friends, scholars, poets and painters such as Vondel, Huygens, Bredero and Maria Tesselschade Visscher, over for visits. This group became known as the Muiderkring. He also extended the garden and the plum orchard, while at the same time an outer earthworks defence system was put into place.

At the end of the 18th century, the castle was first used as a prison, then abandoned and became derelict. Further neglect caused it to be offered for sale in 1825, with the purpose of it being demolished. Only intervention by King William I prevented this. The Ministry of War transferred ownership of the castle to the Ministry of Interior. The department of Arts and Sciences initiated the restoration  after the plans of Pierre Cuypers in 1895.
The Muiderslot is currently a national museum (Rijksmuseum). The insides of the castle, its rooms and kitchens, have been restored to look like they did in the 17th century and several of the rooms now house a good collection of arms and armour.

 His relatives and his death.

Pierre Cuypers was the uncle of Eduard Cuypers who trained in his practice as a young man. Other relatives who became architect are his grandsons Pierre Cuypers jr. and Theo Taen.
Pierre Cuypers died on 3 March 1921 in Roermond and is as Lay Dominican buried in the habit of the Order on ‘Het oude kerkhof, kapel in ‘t Zand’, Roermond. At the side of the Munster of Roermond the Cuypers-monument by August Falise (1930).

Source: wikipedia






First anniversary of the National Museum of Fine Arts (Rijksmuseum), Amsterdam (1885-1985),
 by architect Pierre Cuypers.

Nederland 1985, Mi 1276, Sc 6711, FDC.





Pierre Cuypers designed the plans for the restoration
of the Muiderslot (castle) in Nederland in 1895.
The Muiderslot is currently a National Museum (Rijksmuseum).

Nederland 2009, Mi --, sc --.


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