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agements to he Ionic order formula of Mr. If it had been a incircling orna
y rolled out and wer the exigences robably should not
ition of the asses' ternation of scrolls Long a frieze would · the order is cast into legory of phantasms. examine whether the n formula, for which sait must be made, exhibits Dent on the rationale of itecture. The classicalenjounded by a straight line, capital be bulbous or bell. The cornice, in truth, is the antel that is carried round the art of the building, spanning stures and giving a continuous to the wall-plate, and is kept for the essential purpose of sus
the weight of the roof. wird be inconsistent with that pur. either to hollow it out or to give ilging outline; the columns sus
it, when it rests on columns, have compressed or aspiring 3.4, according to the character of
or lightness which the building present, but these curved forms nfined to the extremity of the 1, and never were permitted to their flowing and flexible lines he rigid beam above them. In it, indeed, and in Babylonia it was ucrent; in Lydia too, and in the LyJian settlement of the Tyrrheni. There the cornice topped the wall with a graceful concave; but why? because the
it, and there was no visible rried. But the mediah the necessity for sup
*un1 root varieties
"otesque sumber a
on the 13, the
captivations of poetic enthusiasm. But forms of the Romanesque capital to the have we not had treatises enough on several sorts of headings, or top-finishthe principles of architecture? Might ings given by mediæval architects to not Mr. Ruskin have relied very well their walls. on the information already existing on These being generally reducible to these subjects among the educated two types, the concave and the convex, classes, for whom his book is intended ? Mr. Ruskin, as might be expected, Does it not look as if he meditated classes all his capitals accordingly, something monstrous and unexampled and then, as these are overlaid or when he has recourse to this laborious undercut respectively by their proper process of prepossessing his reader's ornaments, subdivides and arranges mind with abstract rules and dogmas his various examples, with the skill before venturing on the disclosure of which might be expected from so great whatever substantive theory it is that a master of analysis. he seeks practically to construct from We make no objection; on the conthe stones of Venice ?
trary, we are obliged by the pains and nious writer, some short time since, ingenuity which thus present us with considered a general systematisation of a series of objects not seldom beautiful all human knowledge indispensable to in themselves, and all in harmonious an essay on the art of lighting architec- relation to one another; and are quite tural interiors by a clerestory. We willing to accept as an axiom in Rocannot but think these elaborate prepa- manesque architecture, that in that rations, somewhat impertinent; but style of building there are but two since we have them, let us make the orders, viz., Romanesque Doric (the best use of them we may.
convex type), and Romanesque CoMr. Ruskin deduces all the parts of rinthian (the concave type). a building with scientific exactness,
We do not say,
Barbarised Doric," but, as the reader will observe here- and “ Barbarised Corinthian." That after, with very arbitrary exactions, would be to dogmatise; and we are from the two main constituents of wall now on a subject which has been too and roof. The wall, with its basement dogmatically treated by others for us and cornice, when gathered under a to be led into so unprofitable a mode single point of pressure, becomes the of argument; but we may be allowed, pier or pillar, with its plinth and ca- in passing, to say, that in our judgpital; the roof, accordingly as it is ment neither the classic Doric nor arched or angular, becomes the dome the classic Corinthian has been renor the steeple. There is simplicity and dered more beautiful by the Romaquaintness in the arrangement; nesque method of treatment. But humbly conceive the pillar in archi- surely Mr. Ruskin carries his theory tecture is not a cylindrical digit of to an irrational pitch, when, having wall, but a support originally thought deduced all Romanesque columnar de. of, and applied quite independently of coration from two of the classic orders, the parietal enclosure, and not to be he infers, that therefore the classic confounded with it in its details or pro- orders themselves are but two in numportions. Its capital properly bears ber; and that what the eyes of cultino direct analogy to the cornice of the vated lovers of beauty have rested on wall; although in some Romanesque in almost all ages with peculiar debuildings we may see a string course light, the eminently graceful Ionic, is at either side of a window correspond- not an order at all, but a debasement ing with the capitals of the window- of one or both of the others, to be put shafts; but a pillar which should sup- out of the pale of pure architecture ! port the wallplate of the roof directly not because its volutes want prototypes on its capital would be as inelegant as in nature; nor because its simplicity insecure. The Gothic and Romanesque is deficient in variety; nor because its builders, however, have adopted the variety is inharmonious, or its ornasame class of forms for their cornices mentation incongruous; but because and for the capitals of their columns ; the monkish architects of Pavia and so that a Lombardic or Norman cornice
Lucca, and the Byzantine and Arabic may aptly enough be likened to a builders of Venice, and the freemasons spread-out or unrolled capital; and of Metz and Cologne, have reproduced generalising this analogy, Mr. Ruskin no Ionesque designs, among the va. traces elegantly enough the various rious shapes to which they moulded
their mediæval cornices and capitals ! was taken (Vitruvius says), from a woIt is the mere fanaticism of prejudice
man's hair curled, but its lateral prothat could lead an acute reasoner and
cesses look more like ram's horns; be finished appreciator of beauty so far
that as it may, it is a mere piece of agreefrom truth and moderation.
able extravagance; and if, instead of Mr. Ruskin will consider this a
ram's horns, you put ibex horns, or cow's
horns, or an ass's head at once, you misrepresentation. It is insulting to
will bave ibex orders, or ass's orders, or the reasoning powers of an argumenta
any number of other orders, one for tive writer to say that he could fall into every head or horn.”—Appendix, 7. so glaring a non sequitur. But we do not misrepresent, and must say that Such are the disparagements to here his reasoning faculty has failed which the resistance of the Ionic order him. It is true the Ionic is not to be to this wall-and-column formula of Mr. found in the valley of the Nile ; it is Ruskin's exposes it. If it had been a true it probably was imported into At- continuous band of encircling ornatica with the silkworm from the banks
ment, capable of being rolled out and of the Tigris or Choaspes. Is the rolled up again to answer the exigences order therefore less classic, or the con. of the theory, we probably should not clusion that its rejection by semi-bar- have had the exhibition of the asses' barian builders in the dark
heads. But an alternation of scrolls demnatory of its pretensions, the less and dice-boxes along a frieze would unwarrantable ? Mr. Ruskin, indeed, not suit; and so the order is cast into has not drawn that conclusion in so
the Carlylian category of phantasms. many words, but the Ionic being in- Be it so: let us examine whether the consistent with the medieval method wall-and-column formula, for which saof making cornices out of unrolled crifices so great must be made, exhibits capitals, and, vice versa, he has taken any improvement on the rationale of occasion to reject the intractable order ordinary architecture. The classicalenas often as it might suggest itself in tablature is bounded by a straight line, derogation of that idea.
whether the capital be bulbous or bell
shaped. The cornice, in truth, is the “ All European architecture, bad and beam or lintel that is carried round the good, old and new, is derived from
upper part of the building, spanning Greece through Rome, and coloured and
the apertures and giving a continuous perfected from the East. The Doric and Corinthian orders are the roots,
bearing to the wall-plate, and is kept the one of all Romanesque, massy-capi
It taled buildings
taining the weight of the roof. Norman, Lombard, Byzantine, and what else you can name
would be inconsistent with that pur. of the kind; the Corinthians of all pose either to hollow it out or to give Gothic, early English, French, German, it a bulging outline; the columns susand Tuscan. Now observe,” &c.-c. i. taining it, when it rests on columns, S. xvii.
might have compressed or aspiring “I have said that the two orders, capitals, according to the character of Doric and Corinthian, are the roots of weight or lightness which the building all European architecture. You have,
should present, but these curved forms perhaps, heard of five orders, but there are only two real orders; and there
were confined to the extremity of the
column, and never were permitted to never can be any more until doomsday. [And what then?] On one of these
carry their flowing and Aexible lines orders the ornament is convex—those
into the rigid beam above them. In are Doric, Norman, and what else you Egypt, indeed, and in Babylonia it was recollect of the kind. On the other the different ; in Lydia too, and in the Lyornament is concave-those are Corin. dian settlement of the Tyrrheni. There thian, early English, Danish, and what the cornice topped the wall with a graceelse you recollect of that kind, The
ful concave; but why? because the transitional form, in which the ornamen- roof was flat, and there was no visible tal line is straight, is the centre or root of both. All other orders are varieties
weight to be carried. But the mediæ
val builders, with the necessity for supof theşe, or phantasms and grotesques, altogether indefinite in number and porting roofs infinitely heavier, abanspecies.”—Ibid. s. xix.
doned the rigid line of the classical “Of these phantasms and grotesques,
frieze, and adopted, probably on the one of some general importance is that introduction of Arabic artists, the commonly called Ionic, of which the idea curved varieties. The same forms thus stood for the outline of the capi- us pause a moment, and ask ourselves tal and of the beam or lintel which it why it is that the eye is pleased by the supported, a combination which we projecting stone circlet which sur. apprehend cannot be considered to rounds the foot of the Corinthian or possess either the propriety or the va- Ionic pillar. We cannot help thinking riety of the classical arrangement. It that there is something in the swelling is, in truth, capital upon capital, like
outline that associates itself with the a charge of metal upon metal in idea of compression; as if the weight heraldry; and so far from being an above had squeezed the subjacent marexcellence, would rather seem to argue
ble into flatter and wider dimensions. poverty of invention in the designer. We see no reason to associate such an
This, we conceive, might fairly be idea, either as regards the base or the objected to the theory, if it held in all Palladian frieze, with any sense of inits applications; but although it is security or weakness. It is said the quite applicable to, for example, the swelling Palladian frieze suggests the early English style, in which the capi. idea of a plastic substance introduced tal is merely a rolled up bundle of the among rigid ones, and is therefore imcornice, it fails when applied to many proper. If so, the rounded projection of the heavier forms of capital which of the plinth is open to the same obhave no corresponding protuberance of jection, in a stronger degree, for it lies cornice ; just as many varieties of the lower in the building, and, if it be a cornice, the machicolated and under- sense of having yielded somewhat and propped, for example, never can have given under the superjacent weight any corresponding projections incorpo- that it conveys, its suggestion of weakrated with their associated columns. ness, if weakness it be, would be so
These, however, being outside the much the more fundamental. But in limits of Mr. Ruskin's rule, will, of truth these are rather forms of stability course, be rejected into the category than of weakness; they are the curves of phantasms. We must be content at which a mass of red hot metal would to take what will come conveniently harden and stand under similar preswithin it; and with these reservations sure. The Doric column, which springs and protests it will be found a suffi- at once from its floor of stone, like a ciently clear and certain guide to the tree from the earth, has an air of rootmost prevalent forms of Lombardic ed strength that is pre-eminently steady and Venetian decoration.
and unyielding; yet even the capital Mr. Ruskin having thus undertaken of the Doric column presents the curto evolve everything out of the con- vature of a plastic substance under sideration of the two elements of wall
pressure. The downward-curling voand roof, proceeds in the following Iutes of the Ionic and Corinthian capi. order :
tals convey the same idea. All is not The wall-base being the parent of all rigid even in the most rigid mode of bases and pedestals.
good architecture. Grace combines The wall-veil, or flat of the wall, with strength, the yielding with the rebeing the equivalent, in this theory, of sisting, in all. In reference to the the shaft of the column; but this as- suggestive meaning of these curved similation is too far-fetched to be dwelt lines we are at issue with Mr. Ruskin: upon with any degree of emphasis. he finds in them the outline of certain Thus we have no suggestion of the natural objects, reproduced from a propriety of fluted decorations for the sense of their beauty in nature, the Hats of wall-spaces or of banded or slope of certain mountains, the curve chequered ornamentation on the shafts of the shell of the nautilus, the edge of pillars. The theory would not bear of the leaf of the salvia, &c. (as well to be pushed to that extent; but be- have said at once the line of beauty of cause a theory will not hold in all its Hogarth). We recognise in them the parts, is not a philosophical reason for outlines of compression. disregarding it so far as it does hold. But as yet we are only at the base of The wall-cornice being the parent,
the column. Mr. Ruskin has a someupon the questionable theory above what intolerant objection to pedestals, adverted to, of all legitimate forms of “ a kind of columnar high-heeled shoe capitals.
- a thing called a pedestal, and which Then follow chapters on the base, is to a true base exactly what a shaft, and capital of the column. Let Greek actor's cothurnus was to a Greek gentleman's sandal.” The vi. feature due to a cause so fortuitous, vacity of the attack in some de- and to a necessity of art so artless ? gree reconciles us to the singularity We cannot think so. of the illustration. But we cannot But Mr. Ruskin admits, however think that the column of the Place incompatible the admission may be Vendome would show to greater ad- with his theory of the origin of the vantage if its plinth rested immediately convexity, that the Greek shaft was on the pavement, instead of being, as curved on æsthetic principles, and that it is, elevated on a pedestal. If that the Egyptian and Norman shafts were pedestal have any fault-and, perhaps, not so curved, “the one because the it is a fault only to an English-edu- best form had not been discovered, cated eye-it is its smallness in pro- and the other because (from the want portion to the great column which it of sufficient lengths of stone] it could supports. But detached or monumen- not be obtained." The Egyptian had tal columns are not to be subjected to already suggested the idea of a bunthe same rule with the pillars of a co- dle of reeds tied together; and the uni. lonnade or portico. Mr. Ruskin him- form diameter of the Norman column self allows of and applauds the "superb admitted of several being set up side breadth" of the steps which form the by side in similar contact. Hence “noble bases " of the two granite pil the clustered columns of Norman and lars of the Piazzetta, at Venice, which Gothic architecture,
feature which would be quite inadmissible in a pil- could never have arisen from the juxtalared composition, and which, even as position of any number of Greek tapersupporters of the detached columns in ing columns, between the upper parts question, are better than pedestals, of which there must always bave been only because their effect is more bar- open spaces. Such we collect to be Mr. baric, and in better keeping with the Ruskin's theory of the origin of clusneighbouring objects. If Mr. Ruskin tered columns. We own we should resent our use of the word barbaric, rather suppose that the necessity of let us justify ourselves by saying, that breaking the surface of a clumsy cir. we think a pedestal whose sides bear cular pier with some kind of futing panels, indicating in inscription or in should have given the original sug. sculpture the purpose and occasion of gestion. How the idea may have first the monument, is a more philosophical presented itself to the mind of the arform of support than a flight of steps. tist is, after all, a matter of little moWe think it also more beautiful; and
We have the fact that the we know that among the more culti- Gothic builder set up a number of vated nations it has been the form of small columns where the Greek emsupport usually chosen. These reasons, ployed one; that the multitude of pilwe conceive, are of greater weight than larets clustered together in one massive Mr. Ruskin's suggestion that we may pier gave it the effect of one thick consider every pillar of a colonnade reeded column, and that the distincto be supported by a series of unseen tion between the separate shafts being courses of masonry, and that, there- lost in their minuteness, the addition of fore, when a pillar stands alone, we a capital to each became unnecessary, ought to make these imaginary sup
and the little shafts, half bedded in the ports apparent.
bulk of the pier, and without separate Every one who has looked with at- capitals, came at last to constitute & tention at the shaft of a column will mere series of mouldings, a transition have remarked that the tapering from which led to many beautiful effects in the base to the capital is not carried Flamboyant Gothic, but which our up in a straight line, but that it takes author mourns over with as much of place more rapidly towards the top, so anger as of sorrow. In the clustered that the outline of the column is slightly column, however, the separate memconvex. Here again we think we ob- bers of which possess their proper caserve the idea of compression; but pitals and carry their respective archMr. Ruskin traces the more rapid tas ribs, Mr. Ruskin discerns a moral propering at the top than at the bottom priety and significance very happily of the shaft to the mechanical conve- suggested, however a critic might be nience of the stonecutter, who will disposed to quarrel with some of the strike more boldly where he has most affected quaintnesses of the expres material to remove. Is so refined a