Sarah W. Lynch

Sarah W. Lynch

Hanna Kiel Fellow
Italians Abroad: Ticinese and Lombard Architects and the Architectural Culture of Central Europe
Portrait photo of Sarah Lynch


Sarah W. Lynch is a lecturer in art history at the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. She holds a PhD in art and archaeology from Princeton University, as well as master’s degrees from the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes and a BA in art history from Smith College. Her research addresses early modern architecture, especially in Central Europe and Italy, as well as issues of professional identity in architecture, and cultural and stylistic transfer. Her first book, The Habsburg Architect: Bonifaz Wolmut, Prague, and the European Renaissance will appear later this year from Brepols.


Project Summary

This project addresses the phenomenon of the migration of Italian-speaking architects from Ticino and northern Lombardy to the Habsburg Lands in the sixteenth century. As this period oversaw the introduction and adaptation of Italianate forms in architecture in ornament, these figures have traditionally been understood as bringers of “Italian Renaissance architecture” to Central Europe. However, their presence in this region was complicated by the stylistic plurality of their work, encompassing Renaissance, Gothic, and Netherlandish styles, and their presence in the region put pressure on local guilds and forced a reckoning with concepts of professionalism in architecture. Additionally, these architects’ relationships to their adoptive lands were complex as some depended on close-knit family networks to the exclusion of local labor and others integrated into local society and guilds. A close examination of the activities of Ticinese and Lombard architects working in Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary in the sixteenth century illuminates early modern processes of migration, integration, and stylistic and cultural transfer.