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The seven lamps of architecture. byRuskin, John Topics Architecture. Publisher Sunnyside [Eng.] Uploaded by ian frederick-rothwell on September 7, Download THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE free in PDF & EPUB format. Download John Ruskin's THE SEVEN LAMPS OF. The seven lamps of architecture by John Ruskin; 76 editions; First published in ; Subjects: Architecture, Athena (Greek deity), Conduct of.
Lecture III. Normandy III.
Venice IX. Illustrative Diagrams II. Capital from the Lower Arcade of the Doge's Palace. Intersectional Mouldings V. Boughs of Trees. Venice XII. Sculptures from the Cathedral of Rouen 33 55 60 66 88 90 93 95 Frontispiece.
Rouen and Beavais IV. Tracery from the Campanile of Giotto. Illustrative Diagrams IX. Traceries from Caen. Tiger's Head. Balcony in the Campo. Window from the Ca' Foscari. Sculpture at Lyons X.
Ornaments from Rouen. Part of the Cathedral of St. Spray of ash-tree. Pierced Ornaments from Lisieux. Window in Dumblane Cathedral V. Lombardic Towers VII. Venice VI. Fragments from Abbeville. Niche at Amiens and Window in Oakham Castle and 6. The general proportions are. I have been forced into this impertinence. The system of lettering adopted in the few instances in which sections have been given. The line which marks the direction of any section is noted.
Obtained in every case by personal observation. I shall be grateful if the reader will in such cases refer the expressions of praise to the Architecture. So far. But if the section be unsymmetrical. The memoranda which form the basis of the following Essay have been thrown together during the preparation of one of the sections of the third volume of "Modern Painters. Having much more serious work in hand. I have sometimes very completely failed even of that humble aim.
Every apology is. For the accuracy of the rest I can answer. And I have been the less careful to modify the confidence of my statements of principles. There are. I could have wished to have given more examples from our early English Gothic. But my affections. I could as fully. Venice and Verona as representing the Italian Gothic colored by Byzantine elements. In the course of last summer I undertook a pilgrimage to the English Shrines. But it is to be remembered that the following chapters pretend only to be a statement of principles.
I have considered. The reader will perhaps be surprised by the small number of buildings to which reference has been made. How many these necessities may become. There is no law. Some years ago. These are questions respecting which passion may warp his conclusions. Nor is it any wonder that sometimes the too cold calculation of our powers should reconcile us too easily to our shortcomings. Uniting the technical and imaginative elements as essentially as humanity does soul and body.
What is true of human polity seems to me not less so of the distinctively political art of Architecture. The reply was as concise as it was comprehensive—"Know what you have to do. How far it may be possible to meet them without a sacrifice of the essential characters of architectural art. And this is the more cautiously to be remembered. He knows neither his own strength nor that of his fellows. I have long felt convinced of the necessity.
This tendency. And as thus every action. Had this farther examination been attempted. Simple though it be. Hence George Herbert— "A servant with this clause Makes drudgery divine.
I do not think that I claim too much for them in calling them the Lamps of Architecture. Graver apology is necessary for an apparently graver fault. For there is no action so slight. However mean or inconsiderable the act. But they have modified forms and operations belonging to each of his pursuits. Those peculiar aspects of them which belong to the first of the arts. Their range necessarily includes the entire horizon of man's action.
Both arrangements and nomenclature are those of convenience rather than of system. It has been just said. Who sweeps a room. I have endeavored to trace in the following pages. Are our acts and thoughts lighter and wilder than these—that we should forget it?
Index:Ruskin - The Seven Lamps of Architecture.djvu
I have therefore ventured. I believe. I have been blamed for the familiar introduction of its sacred words. Makes that and the action fine. I am grieved to have given pain by so doing.
There is nothing so small but that we may honor God by asking His guidance of it. The former is commonly the more persuasive method.
It is no time for the idleness of metaphysics. We treat God with irreverence by banishing Him from our thoughts.
The blasphemies of the earth are sounding louder. The aspect of the years that approach us is as solemn as it is full of mystery. I would ask the reader especially to observe. We use it most reverently when most habitually: The snow. His is not the finite authority or intelligence which cannot be troubled with small things.
We have them not often enough on our lips. To build. The persons who profess that art. It would be similarly unreasonable to call battlements or machicolations architectural features. Thus we have church building. But if these projecting masses be carved beneath into rounded courses.
Architecture proper. It is very necessary. That one edifice stands. I say common. But if to the stone facing of that bastion be added an unnecessary feature. I suppose.
I do not. It may not be always easy to draw the line so sharply and simply. Architecture is the art which so disposes and adorns the edifices raised by man for whatsoever uses. Let us. Be this as it may.
Can the Deity be indeed. It is therefore most unreasoning and enthusiastic. It is a spirit. I have said that it prompts us to the offering of precious things merely because they are precious. The practice is. While in its second branch. It seems to me. I have not space to enter into dispute of all the various objections which may be urged against it—they are many and spacious. Of this feeling. But I believe it is just because we do not enough acknowledge or contemplate it as a good in itself.
He never accepted as a propitiation for sin any sacrifice but the single one in prospective. God was a spirit. And this argument will have all the more force if it can be shown that such conditions were not essential to the completeness of the rite in its human uses and bearings.
Yet this costliness was generally a condition of the acceptableness of the sacrifice. God is one and the same. So long as we refer this question to the decision of feeling. On the contrary. But God had no more pleasure in such sacrifice in the time of Moses than He has now. The probability. Nay—not so. His attribute of mercy.
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It was demanded by Him expressly on the same grounds on which an earthly governor would demand it. Doubtless the spotlessness of the sacrifice renders it more expressive to the Christian mind. Not at all. But farther.
The Seven Lamps of Architecture by John Ruskin
Whence it may be infallibly concluded. This one way God refused. This danger was imminent. One thing at least is evident: There was but one reason. Was it necessary to the perfection of any one of their typical offices. The principal object of every instituted law of that Theocracy. Was the glory of the tabernacle necessary to set forth or image His divine glory to the minds of His people?
I would fain introduce into it all magnificence. I do not understand the feeling which would arch our own gates and pave our own thresholds. It will be seen. Then it is no time for smoothing pillars or carving pulpits. And let us not now lose sight of this broad and unabrogated principle—I might say. There can be no excuse accepted because the Deity does not now visibly dwell in His temple.
Of all that they have His tithe must be rendered to Him. There are isolated cases. In the plurality of instances nothing of the kind is attempted. It has been said—it ought always to be said.
It is between God's house and ours. Assuredly it is so: Do the people need place to pray. The question is not between God's house and His poor: I do not see how such possessions can be retained in happiness.
Then they are deacons and ministers we want. And until this has been done. I plead for this. I insist on this. Do the people need teaching from house to house. Have we no tesselated colors on our floors? Has even the tithe of these been offered? They are. There is seldom even so severe a choice to be made. Yet this objection. It may be better for others also: I do not want marble churches at all for their own sake.
I do not say that such things have not their place and propriety. There is no need to offend by importunate. The simplicity of a pastoral sanctuary is lovelier than the majesty of an urban temple. But do not think the feeling itself a folly. I speak from experience: I know what it is to live in a cottage with a deal floor and roof. Cut one or two shafts out of a porphyry whose preciousness those only would know who would desire it to be so used. While the first fruits of his possessions were required from the Israelite.
The treatment of the Papists' temple is eminently exhibitory. Your gift may be given in an unpresuming way. I have said for every town: I do not want a marble church for every village. I would especially deprecate the imputation of any other acceptableness or usefulness to the gift itself than that which it receives from the spirit of its presentation. That is the abuse and fallacy of Romanism.
Of what use was that dearly-bought water of the well of Bethlehem with which the King of Israel slaked the dust of Adullam? Of what use was that passionate act of Christian sacrifice. It is not the church we want. Whatever we do. The church has no need of any visible splendors. Ours has as constantly the look of money's worth. Do not let us boss our roofs with wretched. Our other capitals may be mere blocks. All old work nearly has been hard work.
It is not even a question of how much we are to do. No matter: It may be that we do not desire ornament of so high an order. The tithe paid into the storehouse was the expressed condition of the blessing which there should not be room enough to receive. Such things are mere insults to common sense. For the first: Let us have done with this kind of work at once: We are none of us so good architects as to be able to work habitually beneath our strength.
And it will be thus always: God never forgets any work or labor of love. Let this principle be but once fairly acknowledged among us. It may be the hard work of children. A few practical deductions from these two conditions. And I do not assert this as other than a national consequence: I should.
It is the especial characteristic of modern work. We have so much. But so it is. The right of this is rather a nice point for question. In general it is less the mere loss of labor that offends us. And in the nice balance between the straitening of effort or enthusiasm on the one hand. I have spoken of this before. The arches of the towers which flank the transepts of Rouen Cathedral have rosette ornaments on their spandrils. For it does not at first appear easily to be explained why labor.
Thus chequered patterns. That is trickery and dishonesty. The other condition which we had to notice. And so in the working out of ornaments in dark concealed places. It is to be remembered. Above these. So generally the most delicate niche work and best mouldings of the French Gothic are in gates and low windows well within sight.
The campanile of Giotto at Florence. In high towers this is perfectly natural and right. So in the campanile at Florence. It is observable. In such truly fine cases of this disposition the upper work is effective by its quantity and intricacy only. In the bodies of buildings the principle is less safe. I do not know anything more painful or pitiful than the kind of ivory carving with which the Certosa of Pavia.
And this is not from the quantity of it. Thus at San Zeno at Verona. We are afraid for it. But if the ornament does not answer its purpose. If the ornament does its duty—if it is ornament. Hence the greatness of the northern Gothic as contrasted with the latest Italian. It reaches nearly the same extreme of detail. No limit: The total number of the subordinate niches alone. That gate I suppose to be the most exquisite piece of pure flamboyant work existing.
V Ornaments from Rouen. Ornament cannot be overcharged if it be good. There are four strings of these niches each with two figures beneath it round the porch. I have given. All else for which the builders sacrificed. It is not less the boast of some styles that they can bear ornament. But of them. They have taken with them to the grave their powers.
They are but the rests and monotones of the art. We know not for what they labored. How difficult must the maintenance of that authority be. There is a marked likeness between the virtues of man and the enlightenment of the globe he inhabits—the same diminishing gradation in vigor up to the limits of their domains.
We do not enough consider this. We are too much in the habit of looking at falsehood in its darkest associations. One class of circumstances determines the weight of the attaching punishment. Take the detraction and the mischief from the untruth.
It would be well if moralists less frequently confused the greatness of a sin with its unpardonableness. We resent calumny. And yet it is not calumny nor treachery that does the largest sum of mischief in the world. The two characters are altogether distinct. The greatness of a fault depends partly on the nature of the person against whom it is committed. There are some faults slight in the sight of love. But it is the glistening and softly spoken lie.
Its pardonableness depends. That indignation which we profess to feel at deceit absolute. It is necessary to our rank as spiritual creatures. Not so: It is a noble faculty so long as it confesses its own ideality.
And seeing that of all sin there is. Cast them all aside: I have before endeavored to show its range and power in painting. But I must be content with the force of instances few and familiar.
To speak and act truth with constancy and precision is nearly as difficult. All the difference lies in the fact of the confession. Only it is very necessary in the outset to mark clearly wherein consists the essence of fallacy as distinguished from supposition. For it might be at first thought that the whole kingdom of imagination was one of deception also.
Speaking truth is like writing fair. I do not mean to diminish the blame of the injurious and malicious sin. If this be just and wise for truth's sake. Do not think of one falsity as harmless. Do not let us lie at all. When the imagination deceives it becomes madness. They are admitted in thoughtlessness.
Architectural Deceits are broadly to be considered under three heads: But in architecture another and a less subtle. I would fain represent its color. This withdrawal of conscientiousness from among the faculties concerned with art.
The violations of truth. But words will not do this distinctly. This is a communicated act of imagination. We may not be able to command good. The painting of surfaces to represent some other material than that of which they actually consist as in the marbling of wood. For instance: I desire to give an account of a mountain or of a rock.
The lie can consist only in an assertion of its existence which is never for one instant made. I have enough insisted on this point in another place. And observe. If there were no other causes for the failures which of late have marked every great occasion for architectural exertion. I begin by telling its shape. The use of cast or machine-made ornaments of any kind. The suggestion of a mode of structure or support.
And this is. It is the first step and not the least. The architect is not bound to exhibit structure. In the same way. In the vaulting of a Gothic roof it is no deceit to throw the strength into the ribs of it.
For instance. Such a structure would be presumed by an intelligent observer. It is no deceit. For the shafts do. There is. I have limited these to the determined and purposed suggestion of a mode of support other than the true one. But we know the contrary. Structural Deceits. So that there arise. The idea of the real conditions. The resemblance in its shafts and ribs to the external relations of stems and branches.
For the weight of a roof is a circumstance of which the spectator generally has no idea. Nor is even the concealment of the support of the external buttress reprehensible. King's College Chapel.
The whole arrangement is exquisitely carried out in the choir of Beauvais. Sophia at Constantinople. The most flagrant instance of this barbarism that I remember though it prevails partially in all the spires of the Netherlands.
Perhaps the most fruitful source of these kinds of corruption which we have to guard against in recent times. In later Gothic the pinnacle became gradually a decorative member. There is no objection to this.
Hope wisely reprehends. I mean the use of iron. The natural. There are hardly any of the magnificent and serene constructions of the early Gothic which have not.
Nothing can be worse. With deceptive concealments of structure are to be classed. But the moment that the conditions of weight are comprehended. The definition of the art of architecture. I do not know anything more strange or unwise than the praise lavished upon this lantern.
The use of that member is. In fact. Ouen at Rouen. One of the most general instances of this will be found in the form of the flying buttress in late Gothic. But I believe that the tendency of all present sympathy and association is to limit the idea of architecture to non-metallic work.
Its first existence and its earliest laws must. But the moment that the iron in the least degree takes the place of the stone. For as cements of other kinds are often so strong that the stones may easier be broken than separated. But whether this be granted me or not. The limit. Yet it is evident that metals may. Abstractedly there appears no reason why iron should not be used as well as wood.
This rule is. For architecture being in its perfection the earliest. I think. Nothing is more evident than this. The Divine Wisdom is. The example most apposite to our present subject is the structure of the bones of animals. I cannot see that any objection can be made to the fitting of the stones in any shapes the architect pleases: Each block is. No reason can be given. For although the spectator is not informed as to the quantity or strength of the cement employed.
I would remind the architect who thinks that I am unnecessarily and narrowly limiting his resources or his art. There is a pretty one in the lintel of the lateral door of the cathedral of Prato Plate IV. The elephant or rhinoceros. Whatever the material. The roof of the Sistine Chapel has much architectural design in grissaille mingled with the figures of its frescoes.
In other worlds we may. Surface Deceits. That the architecture is so closely associated with the figures. Whether it be on wood or on stone. There is thus no deception. The jaw of the ichthyosaurus is pieced and riveted. This is. That so great a painter as Michael Angelo would always stop short in such minor parts of his design. But the architecture of animals here. In what lies the distinctive character?
In two points. But God shows us in Himself. But we must be careful to observe. These may be generally defined as the inducing the supposition of some form or material which does not actually exist. But though right and wrong are thus found broadly opposed in works severally so mean and so mighty as the roof of Milan and that of the Sistine. To cover brick with plaster. In the cupola of the duomo of Parma the same painter has represented the Assumption with so much deceptive power.
Touching the false representation of material. The grace of their attitudes. But in architecture of a higher rank. Is this wrong? We might have taken the vines for a veritable pergoda. Verona and Venice are now seen deprived of more than half their former splendor.
The certainty of flat surface being thus secured. So long as the painting is confessed— yes. I have made it a rule in the present work not to blame specifically. Let us take a few instances. It is melancholy to think of the time and expense lost in marbling the shop fronts of London alone. In the Campo Santo at Pisa. The plaster. We may thus apply the rule to the highest.
The Seven Lamps of Architecture
It being lawful to paint then. But to cover brick with cement. It is understood for what it is. But the smoothly stuccoed walls. But even this. I think gold was meant to be seldom seen and to be admired as a precious thing.
I do not say expedient: The first condition which just feeling requires in church furniture is. I have never spoken to any one who did like them. Of other and less common modes of disguising surface. The rule will apply to all alike. Gilding has become.
It shows itself for what it is. Perhaps not to religion though I cannot but believe that there are many to whom. One feels a doubt. It may be in our power to make it beautiful. I need hardly speak.
Of its expedience. The only effect of it is to cast a suspicion upon the true stones below. I recollect no instance of a want of sacred character. But there is one more form of architectural fiction.
I mean the facing of brick with precious stone. It is thus true that there is no falsity. That enduring noblesse I should. This is the true and faithful way of building. Every variety of hue.
It is. But it is not less true. The true colors of architecture are those of natural stone. It is well known. If it be clearly understood that a marble facing does not pretend or imply a marble wall. Of stained and variegated stone. Better the less bright. The transparent alabasters of San Miniato. There are two reasons. The last form of fallacy which it will be remembered we had to deprecate.
Its dishonesty. How great this latter influence we may perhaps judge. I shall speak in another place. Of its badness. It will never be supposed to have been cut. Yet exactly as a woman of feeling would not wear false jewels. Nobody wants ornaments in this world. Thus in the use of brick.
Down with it to the ground. The using of them is just as downright and inexcusable a lie. Its true delightfulness depends on our discovering in it the record of thoughts. The brick mouldings of the Palazzo Pepoli at Bologna. In flat countries. You use that which pretends to a worth which it has not. I place the two on the same ground. For it is not the material. All the fair devices that ever were fancied.
So also. The worth of a diamond is simply the understanding of the time it must take to look for it before it can be cut. It has an intrinsic value besides. Leave your walls as bare as a planed board. I say. The common iron work of the middle ages was as simple as it was effective. And against this there is no guarding. I must. I mean the system of intersectional mouldings. It would be easy to give many instances of the danger of these tricks and vanities. Their inefficiency and paltriness I shall endeavor to show more conclusively in another place.
I may. No ornaments. But I believe no cause to have been more active in the degradation of our natural feeling for beauty. Such are. But for ductile and fusible materials. Caen 9 Plate III. Professor Willis. Plate III. There cannot be the shadow of a question. But the more frequent and typical form is that of the double sub-arch. And it is in this pause of the star.
All the grace of the window is in the outline of its light. Traceries From Caen. It had literally not been seen before. Before it. It was the substitution of the line for the mass.
We have seen the mode in which the openings or penetration of the window expanded. Catching the eye in many a broken link. They turned away from them and their morning light. I have confined myself. He did not care about the stone. The change of which I speak. It did not last fifty years. The architect took it under his care. Like a silver zone— "Flung about carelessly. In many a turn and traverse. Up to that time. But when that shape had received its last possible expansion.
But the track of the human mind is traceable up to that glorious ridge. The forms of the tracery were seized with a childish delight in the novel source of beauty. It became a feature of the work. It flashed out in an instant as an independent form.
But the transition is the same in every member of architecture. That tracery marks a pause between the laying aside of one great ruling principle. And oft above. It was the great watershed of Gothic art. They mark that the traceries had caught the eye of the architect. The reader will observe that. A tree branch. A system so momentous in its consequences deserves some detailed examination. That resemblance was not sought.
What has changed are mortality of individuals. Such life can be en- Ruskin's priorities. Whereas picturesque func- hanced in several ways. First, by a construction tionalism, as more directly expressive of human that is sufficiently straightforward to exhume a life and freedom, regained respectability, for- pleasant sense of constructedness, so to speak.
Fur- Another new trend, in part related to the for- Baljon Interpreting Ruskin mer, is heightened attention to iconographic de- but ultimately that, of course, is a matter of tail.
Once Ruskin comes, in volume 2, to de- taste in a magnificent fifth chapter on St. Following "The Nature of Gothic," that what is represented in frescoes, mosaics, or most famous or infamous chapter VI ,sa the other decoration can no longer be "left for inci- volume ends with Gothic palaces in general dental notice only.
VII and the Ducal Palace in particular him deeper into the history and meaning of chap. These present nice observations on what he sees. Eventually, buildings are ap- architectural form and color, as well as histori- proached as texts. As it is stated in "The Nature cal accounts of some interest. Substantial space, of Gothic": however, is now claimed by iconographic detail, which readers who have no intention to visit Thenceforward the criticism of the building is to be Venice next year, The Stones in hand, may pre- conducted precisely on the same principles as that of fer to skip.
Renaissance archi- the reader, whether, even in the case of the best works, tecture is claimed as subject matter for all chap- he either perceive them to be great, or feel them to be ters except the first, but serves more markedly entertaining.
Of flict with positions outlined in volume 1 or in chapter III we already came to speak. In the con- The Seven Lamps. A significant departure is in- cluding one IV , Renaissance architecture is volved, though, from an intention stated at the denouncedss and Gothic endorsed, both in a outset of The Stones to focus exclusively on huge display of rhetorical fireworks.
Thus, with regard to skeptical as to the feasibility of that project. Byzantine mosaics and their efficacy in com- Recently, this has been hailed as a healthy re- municating religious content, it is noted: treat from an essentially ahistorical approach.
Most men do not in remarkable new points of view. How can it be, know what is in them, till they receive this summons it there is asked, that Renaissance grotesques, from their fellows Why is most medieval work in the same noblest faculties; first of all, to the imagination, for category so much more expressive?
This issues that is the most tender, and the soonest struck into in fascinating speculations on the nature of numbness by the poisoned air. Once that he is well grotesque art in general. The shift from associ- awake, the guidance which the artist gives him should ationism to allegorism that is involved neverthe- be full and authoritative: the beholder's imagination less has stronger ramifications in Ruskin's later should not be suffered to take its own way, or wander work as a literary and art critic than in The hither and thither;but neither must it be left at rest; Stones.
Volume 2 peaks plete it for himself, in the exact way the artist would The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism have him, but not that which will save him the trouble clearly distinguish between ethical and aesthetic of effecting the completion.
At this point Ruskin parts company with mainstrearn European thought, In Whence this "authoritative guidance"? Why in- the creation of art as much as in its perception, sist on a one-to-one relationship between artis- he felt, all of a person is involved.
Distinction tic form and content? Why should this relation- between works that have a lot and those that ship be the same for artist and audience-any have very little authentic quality is perfectly audience! Nothing could be more at variance thetic elements cannot be as neatly laid apart as with associationist delight in "pleasures of the those continental post-Kantians would like us to imagination.
Philosophical underpinnings for this position evolved and may not always have been IV. Had he known more about German more formalist positions.
Works of art are ex- philosophy, chances are slim that it would have pected to be rich in suggested meaning; truth is affected his position very much. Likeness, analogy, and sec- Against this background, there is no justifica- ondary associations based on use feature more tion in downplaying the theoretical status of Rus- prominently than linguistic or pseudo-linguistic kin's architectural writings just because of the conventions, precisely because, being less spe- author's proudly confessed ignorance of Ger- cific, they do not constrain a beholder's imagi- man philosophy.
Such an approach need not be though, for such an assessment, so let us give altogether hedonistic. The better the art, so it is this status a closer look.
What is the scope of generally held, the more significant its moral di- Ruskin's architectural theorizing? What status is mension-and the easier the latter gets lost on claimed for the criteria of excellence he sets out an uneducated audience.
An artwork's moral to defend? Are they supposed to hold for all ar- function takes effect, as it were, in the exercise chitecture of all times and for all qualified ob- of taste. In either case, what evi- rouse emotions in a cathartic way. However, from this common eigh- As for the evidence, it has been noted that the teenth-century basis, aesthetic thought in Ger- range of buildings on which Ruskin bases his man-speaking lands evolved in rather different generalizations is fairly small.
To begin with, an variably it concerns medieval or Renaissance awareness that, conceptually, beauty in art, not churches and palazzi in northern France and beauty in nature, is the primary thing gained northern Italy. Yet this selection spans a rela- more ground.
There- might have served Ruskin well in this matter. Of ethics and aesthetics, the situation is more com- buildings reviewed, little is discussed beyond plicated. In post-Kantian Europe the overriding their public appearance, to be sure. With feeling was that even if moral considerations churches this involves their interior as much as often encroach upon aesthetic judgments, it their exterior, but of palazzi only the street should, at least in principle, be possible to fagade appears to matter.
Functional layout is Baljon InterpretingRuskin 4Lt relegated to the related art of building, as dis- thor's way.
Can they not see them so, nor share tinct from architecture proper. Thus it remains the author's feelings, the challenge is, first, that outside the range of topics Ruskin feels called they watch those works more closely and imag- upon to explore. So be it. No text of finite length inatively than they have done so far and, second, can deal with all aspects of design in depth. With this type of objec- own making, but comparable in scope to tion the problem usually lies with the reader. Whoever is more interested in advanced con- So far so good, but what if Ruskin-as he oc- struction methods or layout of department casionally seems willing to admit-cannothim- stores than in architectural detailing in brick self come up with a fully consistent set of crite- and stone, or in the limits of architectural criti- ria?
Intellectual relativism, unmatched by a cism-in the extent, that is, to which architec- corresponding relativism regarding values, be tural excellence can be described at all-should they ethical or aesthetic, might be the answer.
If not come to Ruskin in the first place. But then, pushed too far, the idea is theoretically self- who is to blame? Accordingly, Ruskin's posi- With regard to the consistency of his art tion is ambivalent.
In an empirical vein he states: teaching, Proust's observation that, more often than not, the point is less Ruskin's contradicting In many cases, the conclusions are those which men himself than his commentators' contradicting of quick feeling would arrive at instinctively; and I each other, has lost none of its topicality.
Rus- then sought to discover the reasons of what so kin, to be sure, occasionally loved to brag that he strongly recommended itself as truth. Though these was apt to contradict himself and would con- reasons could every one of them, from the beginning tinue to do so, if only to force his readers to to the end of the book, be proved insufficient, the think for themselves.
No reader who takes the truth of its conclusions would remain the same. I time to look more closely at contexts in which should only regret that I had dishonoured them by an statements are made, or at qualifications they ill-grounded defence; and endeavour to repair my are embedded in, can escape the impression, error by a better one.
His style is as In a more rationalist spirit, the task he sets him- clear as it is elegant. Serious inconsistencies self a little later is defined as one of: rarely occur on the level of single chapters or es- says. Unresolved tensions between them, on the determining sorne law of right, which we may apply other hand, are not uncommon. As noted with to the architecture of all the world and of all time; and regard to picturesque functionalism, conven- by help of which, and judgment according to which, tionality of style, or a Gothic revival, Ruskin, we may as easily pronounce whether a building is like a devil's advocate, is liable to argue two good or noble, as, by applying a plumb-line, whether sides of a matter convincingly and leave the it be perpendicular.
This in turn raises questions regarding the By and large, Ruskin's approach to artistic ex- status of principles endorsed and, related to that, cellence evolved from daring experiments with their empirical underpinnings. Why so little at- broad principles to an intuitive assessment of tention to other people's responses to architec- value systems and of works of art as exemplifi- ture? More would have been in tune with stan- cations of these. First principles, from which all dards that obtain in behavioral science.
Would it valid value judgments can be derived, became not also have resulted in a more stable and reli- increasingly suspect. Yet one will look in vain able body of theory? If this sounds unfashionable, tion is wholly academic.
Ruskin's approach is let it, to Ruskin's defense, be asked what can be not objectifying in a behaviorist sense; rather, it wrong about efforts to at least distinguish be- is dialectical. Conceptualization of what seems rela- 4t2 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism tively constant and description of what is more minded believers may for other Protestants still variable in terms of the resulting concepts might serve as some sort of an intermediary, but seem to be of the essence of the historian's trade.
Ruskin is more radical. As pointed out by Mutatis mutandis with a shift from what actu- Wilenski, man's relationship to God for him is ally happened to what could or should be , the always a very personal, not a sectarian one.
Further pur- Nor does it stop there. Eventually, God is psy- suing this train of thought, one may hit upon chologized. Turning to God through art means standards that prevail in any civilization of some turning one's back to society, for a while.
No and all experience of art. Ambivalence toward problem there, except that, ever since the mid- conventionality of style is a case in point.
So is seventeenth century or thereabouts, precisely a lack of sympathetic understanding for non- such psychologizing had been the driving force European art,63 but there is more. Ruskin has behind that separation of ethics and aesthetics been hailed as a pioneer in exploring interrela- Ruskin resented so much. Thus there was little tionships of art and society.
Yet it is in this realm future in efforts to repair the rift along these that he puts on his most conservative face and lines. Pri- This sheds an interesting light on what may marily, he is concerned to show that it takes otherwise seem paradoxical, namely that often noble people to yield a noble culture, which in Ruskin is at his best and most perceptive in sec- turn is the only context in which truly great art tions where he is also deeply involved in acting can flourish.
Along with an assumption that, for out his religious obsessions. Contrary to what reasons which. Chap- well-to-do because more educated fellow- ters like those on St. Mark's or "Grotesque Re- men, this keeps in place a chauvinistic vision of naissance" suggest the very opposite. An Ultra-Tory he tices of medieval man against his own religious may well have been, but for a generally undog- thought Ruskin effectively zooms in on the for- matic person like Ruskin it will not do to hold mer-and hence on the ceremonial nature of such ideology direuly responsible for what we medieval art.
Who cares when it is suggested find questionable in his aesthetic outlook. More that the author personally shares, or at least likely, the two are to be seen as parallel but rel- sympathizes with, some of those medieval fic- atively independent outpourings of an intellec- tions?
In a reconstruction of systematic thought tual mechanism which, in search of criteria of from a certain range of texts, as attempted here, right and wrong, be they ethical or aesthetic, ul- ideology and belief systems account for little. In Ruskin's Put this way, it may immediately be objected case a fascination with religious purport it was that religion is an aspect of culture. The point which sensitized him to the ceremonial nature of is that in Ruskin, religion and psychological art.
Among a later generation of art historians, inwardness are intertwined. His religious out- who favored a more strictly psychological- look is Protestant in leaving little room for other empathy or Gestalt-approach, such sensitivity humans saints, priests, or whatever between became rare. For a re- cent reprint see Critical Essays from the Spectato,n ed.
Don- Ithaca, New York ald F. Bond Oxford University Press, ,pp. SL, chap. EDU IV, ;Works, vol. Rhodes and D. Janik Alison, Essay I, chap. II, sec. Ohio University Press, Dougherty in turn refers to an IY sec. I respectively. Beeching, The Eigh- The painter and engraver William Hogarth chitecture St. Louis University, microfilm. See George L. Wight The Art tiful , ed. Hersey, High Victorian Gothic, pp. II, S1:Works, vol.
John Ruskin Princeton University Press, See, e. Helsinger, Ruskin and the Art of Ruskin's position is complicated by the fact that, as in- the Beholder Harvard University Press, From there to the notion that, not only in per- 7. Overlooked they are by Kenneth Clark, who notes ceiving a scene or object, but even more in judging it beau- RuskinToday,p.
Yet it was not. Collingwood, while aware poetry and oratory are to deduce their laws and rules from of a certain impact of associationism, trivializes it.
More re- the general sense and taste of mankind, and not from the cently, George Hersey, in High Victorian Gothic and principles of these arts themselves: in other words, that the "Ruskin as an Optical Thinker" inThe Ruskin Polygon,eds. The quote inside the took a similar position. Works, vol. Ci- Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, 39 vols. For the convenience In Ruskin himself at some point SL, intro.
Title of the aforementioned essay by Hersey see note tem," and that possibly not all, nor "even the greater number 7. Archibald Alison, Essays on the Nature and Principles In the "Introductory" of The Seven lnmps, where it is ' of Taste, ed. Mills New York: Harper, , Essay I, noted that "there is no action so slight, nor so mean, but it chap. I, sec. II, I. Unrau Looking at Architecture with Ruskin, pp. Exception is made for half a dozen fa- The former is commonly the more persuasive method, the mous buildings, like Palladio's Vicenza Town Hall SV3, latter assuredly the more conclusive.
Otherwise, "Palladian" remains syn- , Also in "Iron in Nature, Art, and Policy," onymous with decadent. Along with Phidias and Dante he ranks among pp. Peter's gets mixed Only Vitruvius is occasionally mentioned, others,like reviews and no other architectural works are discussed. Alberti and Palladio, at best as architects. SV3, chap. A clear statement to that effect is in the prefacetoThe phasis added Stones, vol. Kant, who was much indebted to British association- should have knowledge, and act upon our knowledge, in ism, in this held on to a rather conventional perspective.
An matters with which we are daily concerned, and not to be early instance preceding the Critique of Judgment by a few left to the caprice of architects or mercy of contractors. SVl, chap. II, fil;Works, vol. Quatrembre de Quincy in volume I of the Ency- SVl, Appendix l7;Works, vol. John D. Rosentrerg, The Darkening Glass ; Co- Considering that presumably lumbia University Press, , p.
MP3, Appendix 2. Such prejudice is striking in "Grotesque Renais- Then they multiplied and enlarged. References to As for association with other buildings of these treatises are rare35 which to some extent comparable shape, only negative conclusions are explains why this aspect of Ruskin's theorizing attained, like that there is nothing intrinsically has received so little attention from commenta- Catholic about Gothic, nor any reason to reserve tors , yet this first volume can best be read as a it for devotional architecture.
Lectures on architecture and painting ; The study of architecture , D. It shows itself first in the bases of divided pillars. God's Architect Hardback First ed. Byzantine mosaics and their efficacy in com- Recently, this has been hailed as a healthy re- municating religious content, it is noted: treat from an essentially ahistorical approach.
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