The Seven Lamps of Architecture
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Classic work by the great Victorian expresses his deepest convictions about the nature and role of architecture and its aesthetics.
simplicity and force of the dark masses; and in many instances is entirely wanting. The composition of the whole depends on the proportioning and shaping of the darks; and it is impossible that any thing can be more exquisite than their placing in the head window of the Giotto campanile, Plate IX., or the Church of Or San Michele. So entirely does the effect depend upon them, that it is quite useless to draw Italian tracery in outline; if with any intention of rendering its effect, it is better
greater degree than any of us practise it. But I believe it is just because we do not enough acknowledge or contemplate it as a good in itself, that we are apt to fail in its duties when they become imperative, and to calculate, with some partiality, whether the good proposed to others measures or warrants the amount of grievance to ourselves, instead of accepting with gladness the opportunity of sacrifice as a personal advantage. Be this as it may, it is not necessary to insist upon the matter
the reader from too high an estimate of it, in relation to originally purer styles. The following passage, from the preface to the second edition, has been much too carelessly overlooked by the general reader: —” I must here also deprecate an idea which is often taken up by hasty readers of the ‘Stones of Venice’; namely, that I suppose Venetian architecture the most noble of the schools of Gothic. I have great respect for Venetian Gothic, but only as one among many early schools. My reason for
dwells on broad surfaces, and commonly upon few. In course of time, a low ridgy process is seen emerging along the outer edge of the cylindrical shaft, forming a line of light upon it and destroying its gradation. Hardly traceable at first, (as on the alternate rolls of the north door of Rouen,) it grows and pushes out as gradually as a budding plant: sharp at first on the edge; but, becoming prominent, it receives a truncation, and becomes a 136 the seven lamps of architecture definite fillet
windlass-looking dripstone. You cannot. It is a monster. It unites every element of ugliness, its line is harshly broken in itself, and unconnected with every other; it has no harmony either with structure or decoration, it has no architectural support, it looks glued to the wall, and the only pleasant property it has, is the appearance of some likelihood of its dropping off. 162 the seven lamps of architecture I might proceed, but the task is a weary one, and I think I have named those false