By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: How to judge architecture - a popular guide to the appreciation of buildings
Author: Sturgis, Russell
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "How to judge architecture - a popular guide to the appreciation of buildings" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                       HOW TO JUDGE ARCHITECTURE


                             How to Judge

                             OF BUILDINGS_

                     RUSSELL STURGIS, A.M., Ph.D.

      _Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Member of
          The Architectural League of New York, The National
           Sculpture Society, The National Society of Mural
             Painters, etc., etc. Author of “Dictionary of
                 Architecture and Building,” “European
                      Architecture,” etc., etc._

                   NEW YORK: THE BAKER & TAYLOR CO.


              Copyright, 1903, By THE BAKER & TAYLOR CO.

                     _Published, September, 1903_


CHAPTER                                         PAGE

   I. EARLY GREEK DESIGN                          11

  II. LATER GREEK AND ROMAN DESIGN                35

 III. EARLY MEDIÆVAL DESIGN                       66

  IV. CENTRAL MEDIÆVAL DESIGN                     93

   V. LATE MEDIÆVAL DESIGN                       114

  VI. REVIVED CLASSIC DESIGN                     131






ST. PETER’S CHURCH, ROME              _Frontispiece_

PLATE                                          PAGE

   I. Hexastyle Doric Temple, Pæstum,
Southern Italy                           Facing  14

  II. Parthenon, Athens                    “     15

Parthenon, Athens                          “     15

 III. Theseum (Theseion), Athens           “     24

Curvature of Stylobate of Parthenon        “     24

  IV. Restored Model of the Parthenon      “     25

   V. Erechtheum (Erechtheion) Athens      “     36

Erechtheum, Athens                         “     36

  VI. Erechtheum, Portico of Caryatides    “     37

 VII. Erechtheum                           “     38

Details of Entablature, Acropolis,
Athens                                     “     38

Corner Capital, Acropolis, Athens          “     38

VIII. Temple of Athene Polias, Priene      “     39

  IX. Restored Model of Pantheon           “     48

The Pantheon, Rome                         “     48

   X. Ruins of Temple of Castor and
Pollux, Rome                               “     49

      Ruins of Temple of Mars Ultor,
Rome                                       “     49

  XI. Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine,
Rome                                       “     54

 XII. Sculptured Details of Temple of
Vespasian, Rome                            “     55

Arch of Trajan, at Benevento,
Southern Italy                             “     55

XIII. Jerash, Syria (Ruins of Gerasa)      “     60

Ancient City Gates of Gerasa               “     60

 XIV. Part of the Bounding Wall of the
Forum of Nerva, Rome                       “     61

    XV. Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore,
Rome                                             72

   XVI. Interior of the Church of San Miniato,
near Florence, Tuscany                     “     73

  XVII. Church of Sant’ Ambrogio, Milan    “     76

 XVIII. Interior of Cathedral Tournai,
Belgium                                    “     77

        Church of St. Martin (der Gross S.
Martin) at Cologne, Rhenish
Prussia                                    “     77

   XIX. Church of the Holy Apostles, Cologne,
Rhenish Prussia                            “     80

    XX. Cathedral of St. Martin, Mainz
(Mayence) Hesse, Germany                   “     81

   XXI. Tower of Church of St. Radegonde,
Poitiers, (Vienne) France                  “     84

  XXII. Church of Notre Dame la Grande,
at Poitiers                                “     85

 XXIII. Interior of Church Hagia Sophia,
Constantinople                             “     88

  XXIV. Exterior of Church Hagia Sophia,
Constantinople                             “     89

Church of S. Theodore, Athens              “     89

   XXV. Monastery of Gelati near Kutais in
the Caucasus                               “     90

  XXVI. Chapel of Nancy, France            “     91

 XXVII. Interior of Amiens Cathedral       “     98

XXVIII. Cathedral at Reims (Marne) France,
Choir Aisle                                “     99

Cathedral at Reims (Marne) France,
Choir Aisle, Different View                “     99

  XXIX. Cathedral at Amiens (Somme),
France. Exterior                          “     102

   XXX. Cathedral at Chartres (Eure et
Loir)                                     “     103

  XXXI. Cathedral at Salisbury, Wilts,
England                                   “     108

 XXXII. Bell Tower of Cathedral, Florence,
Tuscany                                   “     109

XXXIII. Cathedral at Gloucester, Gloucestershire,
England                                   “     120

  XXXIV. Cathedral at Peterboro’, Northants,
England                                   “     121

   XXXV. Westminster Abbey, London        “     122

  XXXVI. Chapel of Henry VII. (Willis
drawing)                                  “     123

 XXXVII. Church of Brou, at Bourg-en-Bresse
(Ain), France                             “     124

XXXVIII. Church of Saint Wulfran, Abbeville
(Somme), France                           “     125

  XXXIX. Townhall of Audenarde, Belgium   “     126

     XL. Outer Porch, Albi (Tarn), France “     127

    XLI. South Porch, Albi (Tarn), France “     128

   XLII. The Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence “     129

  XLIII. Chapel of the Pazzi, Church of
Santa Croce, Florence, Tuscany            “     134

   XLIV. Palazzo Rucellai, Florence       “     135

    XLV. Palazzo Strozzi, Florence,
Tuscany                                   “     138

Palazzo Riccardi, Florence                “     138

   XLVI. Courtyard of the Palazzo della
Cancellaria, Rome                         “     139

  XLVII. Cloister, Santa Maria della Pace,
Rome                                      “     140

 XLVIII. Courtyard of Palazzo di Venezia,
Rome                                      “     141

   XLIX. Courtyard of Palazzo Borghese,
Rome                                      “     142

      L. Château at Blois (Loir et Cher),
France                                    “     148

     LI. Royal Château at Blois (Loir et
Cher), France                             “     148

    LII. Château of Écouen (Seine et Oise),
France                                    “     149

Wollaton Hall, Notts, England             “     149

   LIII. Hall of Middle Temple, London    “     152

    LIV. Church of the Theatiner Monks at
Munich, Bavaria                           “     153

Ducal Palace, Genoa, Italy                “     153

     LV. Palazzo Carignano, Turin, Piedmont,
Italy                                     “     172

Palazzo Madama, Turin, Italy              “     172

  LVI. Exhibitions Building (Kunstausstellungs-Gebäude,)
Munich, Bavaria                           “     173

Gateway Building (Propylæa),
Munich                                    “     173

 LVII. Interior of St. George’s Church,
Doncaster, Yorks, England                 “     190

Exterior of Church of St. George,
Doncaster                                 “     190

LVIII. Trinity Church, Boston, Mass       “     191

  LIX. Cathedral at Truro, Cornwall,
England                                   “     196

   LX. Apartment House, “St. Alban’s
Mansions,” London                         “     197

  LXI. West Ham Institute, Sussex,
England                                   “     204

 LXII. House and Beer-shop (zum Spaten)
Berlin, Prussia                           “     205

LXIII. Club-House, Cercle de la Librairie,
 Paris                                    “     208

 LXIV. Building of N. Y. Life Insurance
Co., St. Paul, Minn.                      “     209

                       How to Judge Architecture



In trying to train the mind to judge of works of architecture, one can
never be too patient. It is very easy to hinder one’s growth in
knowledge by being too ready to decide. The student of art who is much
under the influence of one teacher, one writer, or one body of
fellow-students, is hampered by that influence just so far as it is
exclusive. And most teachers, most writers, most groups or classes of
students are exclusive, admiring one set of principles or the practice
of one epoch, to the partial exclusion of others.

The reader must feel assured that there are no authorities at all in the
matter of architectural appreciation: and that the only opinions, or
impressions, or comparative appreciations that are worth anything to
him are those which he will form gradually for himself. He will form
them slowly, if he be wise: indeed, if he have the gift of artistic
appreciation at all, he will soon learn to form them slowly. He will,
moreover, hold them lightly even when formed; remembering that in a
subject on which opinions differ so very widely at any one time, and
have differed so much more widely if one epoch be compared with another,
there can be no such thing as a final judgment.

The object of this book is to help the reader to acquire, little by
little, such an independent knowledge of the essential characteristics
of good buildings, and also such a sense of the possible differences of
opinion concerning inessentials, that he will always enjoy the sight,
the memory, or the study of a noble structure without undue anxiety as
to whether he is right or wrong. Rightness is relative: to have a
trained observation, knowledge of principles, and a sound judgment as to
proprieties of construction and design is to be able to form your
opinions for yourself; and to understand that you come nearer, month by
month, to a really complete knowledge of the subject, seeing clearly
what is good and the causes of its goodness, and also the not-so-good
which is there, inevitably there, as a part of the goodness itself.

It will be well, therefore, to take for our first study some buildings
of that class about which there is the smallest difference of opinion
among modern lovers of art, namely, the early Greek temples. There is no
serious dispute as to the standing of the Greek architecture previous to
the year 300 B. C., as the most perfect thing that decorative art[1] has
produced. It is extremely simple: a fact which makes it the more fit for
our present purpose: but this simplicity is to be taken as not having
led to bareness, lack of incident, lack of charm: it has merely served
to give the Greek artist such an easy control over the different details
and their organization into a complete whole, that the admiration of all
subsequent ages has been given to his productions.

It must be noted, however, that nothing of this complete beauty is now
to be seen above ground. Plate I shows the famous temple at Pæstum on
the west coast of Campania, southeast of Naples: the temple called that
of Poseidon, to which god (called by the Romans, Neptune) the ancient
town which stood on this site was dedicated. This is the most nearly
well preserved of the Doric[2] temples, with the single exception of the
small building in Athens called the Theseion, or Theseum, see Plate III,
and it is larger and more interesting than that. Plate II gives the
Parthenon at Athens from the northwest


[Illustration: PLATE I.]



[Illustration: PLATE II.]

and from the northeast. This building by common agreement of modern
students was the most perfect in design and the most highly elaborated
in detail of all the Doric temples of early time. The Parthenon as we
see it now in its decay, dominating the town of Athens from the top of
its rock or looked at close at hand, lighted by the Grecian sun or by
the moon for those who are romantically inclined, is unquestionably a
most picturesque and charming ruin; it is imposing in its mass,
interesting still in its details, and invested, of course, with an
immeasurably great tradition, historical and poetic. That fact must not
be forgotten for a moment: but, on the other hand, it must not be
forgotten that this admiration, this enthusiasm, is not given to the
work of art. It is not at all to produce such a ruin as we now see that
the Grecian artist thought and toiled. Admire the ruin to your heart’s
content: but be careful that you do not allow too much of this romantic
association to enter into your love of the artistic entity, of the lost
Parthenon, which we have to create out of the air, as it were. And
beware of the admiration of ruins as you would of the “tone” given to a
picture by time: it is not that which the artist proposed to himself or
even thought of, and it is the artist’s purpose that you must ask for,
always. That is the first thing. Until you are sure you know that
purpose, fully, it will not do to find fault with the work of art, or
even to praise it too unreservedly.

On the other hand, it is extremely important to consider the probable
ancient surroundings of the building in question. The upper figure of
Plate III may show, not only the interesting building itself from a good
point of view and with its peculiarities strongly accentuated (as is
pointed out below), but also as showing how, except for its coloring,
the temple must have been seen by the Athenians in the days of Conon.
The modern houses are very like what the ancient houses must have been,
for, although the ancient houses had even less door and window-opening
upon the street and more upon a court or yard, yet we may imagine
ourselves in such a yard of antiquity, and the red-tiled roofs, the
homemade chimney, the humble and unkempt aspect of the whole may be
assumed to stand very well for the humbler quarters of Athens in
antiquity. This temple also is a ruin: but the fact that, as seen in
Plate III, there are still visible the sculptures of the metopes,[3] and
the fact that the roof of the pteroma[4] is still in place, so that
there is no sunshine coming down behind the columns where sunshine was
never meant to be--these conditions go far to give us a peep at the
building as it stood in those great days. No other photograph can give a
better idea of how the columns are set closer near the corner; nor a
better idea of the reasons for this peculiarity; for the sky is seen
between the columns at the right hand; and the dark wall of the naos[5]
in the same relative position on the left hand, and the chief cause for
the smaller intercolumniation at the corners is obvious enough, as shown
below in connection with the model Plate IV.

Look back at Plate I, and Plate III, upper figure, and note that these
buildings have six columns on the front instead of eight and, therefore,
according to the general proportions of Greek temples, should have a
greater height relatively to width than the Parthenon, Plate II. Note,
farther, that the columns are very much higher and more slender in the
octastyle[6] Parthenon than in the Italian hexastyle[7] building, and
the relative height of the entablature[8] greater, or as one to two and
a half in Pæstum, one to three in Athens. The Doric Order[9] is capable
of just about as much diversity in relative heights and other dimensions
as is shown here.

The comparatively short and thick columns of the Italian temple are
characteristic of an earlier and less developed style than that denoted
by the higher and more slender columns of the Parthenon. In like manner
the comparatively great thickness of the superstructure in the Pæstum
temple, giving a very broad architrave,[10] and a still broader
frieze[11] is also suggestive of an earlier date. Now it is agreed that
the more lofty and slender proportions of the Order of the Parthenon
must have given to the original building a charm beyond that given by
the stumpy proportions of the Pæstum temple: but it is also undeniable
that many lovers of architecture, of this as of other epochs and styles,
love especially the early work, that which is commonly known as archaic.
It is exactly like the great enthusiasm excited in many students of
Italian art by the earliest paintings, those of the _primitifs_: in each
case the very single-minded and diligent work of the early men has a
charm peculiarly its own.

Although the Parthenon is, as mentioned above, a ruin and nothing else,
there are still to be found in the shattered stones of that ruin a
certain part of that theoretical beauty, that imagined glory of the
destroyed work of art, which we are gradually building up in our
thoughts. Thus it is in the existing ruins that there have been
discovered those curious curves where straight lines had been supposed
to exist. If you stand at one end of the stylobate[12] and look along it
towards the other end, you will see that it curves upward in the middle
with a decided convex sweep. (See Plate III.) If you raise yourself on a
scaffolding and look along the underside of the architrave you will find
that that also rises in a curve, not exactly parallel or concentric to
that of the stylobate, but nearly so. Furthermore you will notice, if
you walk about the temple and examine it closely, that the two
outer-most columns of the front are much nearer together than the
others, as noted above in Plate III: or that, in other words, the three
columns which form the corner are grouped much more closely than are
the others. Furthermore, it has been discovered by minute measurements
that these columns slope inward a very little. Of course, it has always
been known that the very visible diminution of the shaft in thickness
from the bottom to the top is not according to straight lines (that is
to say, that the shafts are not conical) but is according to a very slow
and hardly perceptible curve which we call the entasis. Great folios of
carefully drawn plates have been devoted to the exact curvature of the
entasis and to the more recently discovered irregularities: and a minute
series of measurements have been made, by which the whole amount of the
irregularity in any one case is now easily ascertainable. This is one of
the many elements out of which we have to make up our general
appreciation of the building, our appreciation of the existence and the
character of these slopes, curves, risings, sinkings, slopings: all of
them, it is clear, planned in the most careful and elaborate way, and as
the result of many previous experiments. Their object is, of course, to
add to the charm of the building, to give it in one case the effect of
being very broad in the base and therefore very secure and permanent--in
another case, to prevent any possible appearance of sagging or
depression in the middle of the long horizontal lines; in another case
still, to substitute the subtile grace of a slight and almost
imperceptible curve for the harshness of a straight line. Still another
thing is traceable in these ruins: the unceasing care with which the
work was done, the way in which the separate drums or solid blocks, of
which the shafts of the columns are made up, were ground together, one
upon another, until they fitted with but the slightest visible or
tangible separation. The channeling or grooving of the shafts was
evidently done after the drums had been put into place, and it is highly
probable that the bells[13] of the capitals were also finished, or
received their final very delicate curvature, after the blocks out of
which they had been cut had been set, and indeed after the
superincumbent block, the abacus, had been lowered upon each one of

Another feature in this remarkable design is to be traced in the ruins,
and was much more plainly discoverable at an earlier, though still
recorded and well-known, date: namely, the original painted adornment of
the building, in strong primary colors. In the temples built of soft and
rough stone, like that in Plate I, there is known to have been a thin
coat of fine plastering spread over the whole surface, and the final
delicacy of curve and sharpness of edge must have been wrought in that
plaster even more accurately than in the stone beneath. But in the
Parthenon, built entirely of fine-grained and hard marble, no such
coating was necessary, and the paint was applied directly to the
crystalline surface itself. This painting covered very large parts of
the exterior, nor is it probable that any single foot of the



[Illustration: PLATE III.]


[Illustration: PLATE IV.]

marble was left in its original whiteness. Where the solid coating of
red or blue paint was not applied, the marble seems to have been tinted
a dull yellow, as by the application of wax to the surface, which wax,
if melted on with hot irons, would act as a preservative for the marble.
It appears then that all modern dreams about the whiteness and purity
and abstract loveliness of the Grecian temples are mistaken. Browning’s
Artemis says that, always excepting Hera, she is the equal of any
goddess of them all--

                              “ ... surpassed
    By none whose temples whiten this the world.”

The Artemis of any Greek poet would have used a different phrase: to
her, the temples erected to the gods of Olympus would not have seemed
white objects--they would have been to her the properly sacrificial and
devotional embodiment of all that was splendid and gorgeous in the arts
of men at that time: sculptured marble and wrought metal indeed, but
also color and gold freely and even lavishly applied. Plate IV is a
photograph of the restored model of the Parthenon which belongs to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the restoration of which, and
the whole work, is due to Charles Chipiez, a well-known and very
competent archæologist in the direction of classical architecture. But
this restoration is extremely reserved and quiet; it assumes almost
nothing; it is restrained quite beyond what is to be expected of a
modern enthusiast in Greek art. If, instead of this, we were to study
the careful and conscientious drawings published by that French student
who has made a special study of the buildings in Epidauros (Alphonse de
Frasse) or in Olympia (Victor Laloux) we should find the decoration by
means of painting and by the application of golden shields or other
members in gilt metal, assumed as very much more elaborate and rich.
Thus the restored façade of the temple of Asclepios at Epidauros and
that of the temple of Zeus at Olympia are shown as having been painted
in the most elaborate way, with figure subjects of conventionalized form
and distribution on all the larger flat surfaces, and patterns of
leafage and scroll-work on the small ones. It is known that very rich
mosaic floors existed in many of these cases and known also that the
ceilings, such as those above the open galleries (pteroma) behind the
great colonnades, were adorned very richly, sometimes with painted and
gilded terra cotta.

There is still to be considered the sculptured ornament, painted,
indeed, in vivid colors, but also planned with care, and executed with
vast knowledge, minute skill, and what seems to us faultless good taste.
In the Doric temples there was no leaf-sculpture, no scroll-work, no
carved ornaments of any sort: we shall find a different condition of
things in the Ionic style, but even in the elaborate and very costly
Parthenon there were only the human and animal forms, expressed in
statues and reliefs made as perfect as was possible to the artist of the
time. Some temples had none of this: others had the metopes of the
frieze (see footnote, Entablature) carved with high reliefs: others had
reliefs in the great triangular panel of the pediment:[14] others again
had this panel filled with statues, standing and seated, forming a
group, and expressing some legend of Greek historical and religious
life. Finally, there are instances of long unbroken bands of sculpture
in very low relief. The Parthenon had all of these: a horizontal band
along the top of each wall of the naos filled with bas-reliefs; high
reliefs in the metopes, statues in both pediments.

If, then, our opinion of ancient Greek architecture is to be formed, and
a relative judgment of any two fine specimens of it is to be reached, we
have to study with some care what is known about their appearance and
character when intact. What statues did they have? What high reliefs in
square panels, or bas-reliefs in long and narrow strips? Of what value
were these sculptures to the general effect of the structure? What seem
to have been the proportions of the building? If we can call up an image
of it before the mind, is this an image of perfect proportion, or is it
clear that greater height or other change in dimension would have been
an advantage? It is true that we generally accept Greek buildings of the
best time as faultless: but it is also true that there were great
differences among them. The hexastyle temple is necessarily more high
and more narrow than the octastyle building. If we consider that the
temple with six columns at each end has only thirteen on each side (that
is, eleven without counting the corner columns which form part of the
two fronts) while the wider Parthenon has seventeen columns on each
side, we find that the comparative height of the temple of Poseidon at
Pæstum, or of Zeus at Olympia, or of Athena at Sunion, is very much
greater when seen from one corner, in perspective, than that of the
Athens temple. Suppose that we trace from Plate IV so much of the
colonnade as will leave out two of the end columns and four of those on
the flank, and then put a corresponding pediment and entablature, which
proportion shall we prefer? Which building is nearer to perfection? The
Parthenon, as the very flower and glory of Greece? If so, why was the
hexastyle form so very much more common? There are no other octastyle
Doric temples known to us: and, if it be said as an explanation, that
_of course_ the heights of column and entablature would be varied for
the change from the 8 × 17 peristyle to the 6 × 13 type, the question
still remains for us--was it practicable to make an octastyle temple as
perfect in proportion as were numerous hexastyle examples, large and
small, scattered over Greece, Southern Italy and Sicily? These doubts
are suggested in order that the reader may see in this commencement of
his studies what kind of unsettled and never to be settled questions
will come before him at every step of his inquiry. He will be equally
uncertain whether he is to prefer the east end of Reims cathedral or
that of Bourges, or that of Paris. As with the important Greek temples,
so the Gothic cathedrals just named are the very flower of their epoch
and represent in the highest perfection known to us their respective
styles. So much the student will be able to discover without too great a
mental effort: and once sure of this he will understand that no further
mental effort in this direction is even desirable, and that comparison
among works of very high excellence can never cease--can never be
brought to an end by any authority or any outside decision whatsoever,
and that here the student’s own preferences must be perforce his only

There is still one point of view from which the Greek temples must be
regarded. It is to many persons the most important consideration of all.
Those who are realists in architecture are always inclined to favor the
utilitarian plan and the logical structure and to hold these as of even
greater value than the abstract proportion or the beauty of detail. On
the other hand, writers like Ruskin never suggest the importance of the
destination of the edifice, nor its merit as a piece of intelligent
building: nor do the students of proportion, as in Neo-classic[15]
buildings, think much of this matter. In the case of the Greek temples
this practical consideration can be stated in a very few words. No large
roofed hall was ever desired; no interior effect, as of a great vaulted
room, was thought of; no room for a congregation or an audience within
the solid walls was ever proposed. The naos of the temple served only to
house the great image of the Divinity with other minor statues of the
same or of kindred significance together with the gifts presented to the
shrine. The people gathered in front of the great portico; public
sacrifices were performed there; the temple itself, like the choir[16]
of a Christian church long afterwards, was for the priests alone.
Moreover, the buildings of different character left us by the Greeks,
even in ruins, are so very few that we are unable to establish with
certainty their character; and those which, like the famous Meeting-hall
(Telesterion) at Eleusis, must have accommodated a number of persons
seated to listen to the words of speakers, were obviously of extreme
simplicity--involving no new principles of plan or of design. Next, as
to the construction: that as the photographs show, was of the simplest
possible character. Uprights of stone carried horizontal beams of stone,
and these again cross-beams to span the width of the portico, which
cross-beams might be of stone, or of wood encased perhaps with terra
cotta slabs. As for the interior of the naos, in the larger temples it
was divided into a wider middle hall and two narrower ones, like the
nave and aisles of Christian churches: and all roofed with timber, in
simple framing, which carried a roofing of tile: but whether the roof
was always complete and solid, or whether, as some persons think, a part
of this was often omitted so as to allow the light of day to enter from
above, is uncertain.

It appears then that, as suggested in the first page of this chapter,
the requirements and the structure of the Grecian religious building
were so very simple that no long examination into the matter is needed
to show the connection between the plan and the exterior effect, or
between the structure and the exterior effect. We have no Greek
interiors to study and the exteriors at once tell us how the whole
structure was brought into being, and also that it could not fail to
serve its daily uses in a very perfect manner.



In chapter one there was discussion of the simplest Greek
architecture--that which we call Doric--which reached its culminating
point about 450 B. C. Considering now, very briefly, the later and more
elaborate Greek buildings we find that they were more generally of the
Ionic[17] style, that the most important of them were built along the
Asiatic coast by the Greek colonists there, and finally, that not one of
the larger monuments remains in any such condition that it can be seen
even as an attractive ruin. The only important Ionic building which we
can find impressive, as it stands, is the Erectheion at Athens, and
this, though a very small building, is admitted to contain the most
exquisite details of the Ionic style which are known to us. Plate V
gives two views of the Erectheion in its present condition, and Plate VI
gives the small portico of caryatides on the south flank of the same
building. The views given here shows the curious and entirely unexampled
relation of these different parts to one another. The full significance
of this combination of small apartments is not understood.

As a general thing the Ionic temples were not different in purpose from
the Doric temples; they have therefore the same plan and the same simple
structure; but they have a much more elaborate decorative treatment.
Thus, we find here architectural sculpture, properly so called,
introduced into the building. Plate VII gives a number of separate
details of Ionic buildings, and it will be readily seen that here an
influence was at work far different from that which ordained the
absolutely unmodified square-edged and formal Doric building depending
upon proportion and upon brilliant color; and that here



[Illustration: PLATE V.]


[Illustration: PLATE VI.]

conventionalized leafage, independently designed curvatures and broken
lines, and the play of surface given by slight reliefs alternating
continually with smooth flat planes, are all introduced. If, farther, we
look back to Plate VI and note the treatment of that splendid “Portico
of the Maidens,” we shall see what Greek thought was capable of in the
way of architectural sculpture. Now there is no difference of opinion
about the beauty of the simple patterns, the anthemions,[18] the
egg-and-dart[19] mouldings, and the like; but the very greatest
difference of opinion exists with regard to the essential propriety of
human figures used as architectural members of such great importance as
these, and especially when used as supports for a superincumbent
weight. The author of this volume admires this portico as, on the whole,
the finest thing left us by Greek architectural art, combining as it
does the exquisite design and faultless modelling of each separate
figure, the successful combining into a group of the four maidens of the
front, or of the whole six, with their superincumbent weight of marble,
and the exquisite management of the whole structure so that it shall
seem light and yet solid, fanciful and yet dignified, graceful and yet
enduringly noble. Viollet-le-Duc has pointed out (“Entretiens,” vol. I.,
p. 293) how successfully the figures are posed and grouped to express
their constructional function. There are excellent judges who think
differently and who would fain ignore the Pandrosion,[20] as it is
sometimes called, or relegate it to the position of a mistake made by
that race of artists who were of all races the least likely to make
mistakes. In this




[Illustration: PLATE VII.]


(From “Antiquities of Ionia,” published by the Dilettanti Society.)]

[Illustration: PLATE VIII.]

connection it may be noted that the buildings of the Ionic style offer
other and very curious exceptions to the more usual treatment of
sculpture when applied to buildings. Thus in the Erectheion itself, the
principal frieze was of dark gray marble in smooth slabs, upon which
were fixed figures in white marble in vigorous action, the scale small,
and the whole composition much more nearly pictorial than anything in
the Parthenon. Again, in the balustrade built about the little temple of
Victory on the edge of the cliff at the west of the Acropolis, reliefs
of moderate projection are treated with singular vivacity: draped
goddesses in active and easily understood movement.

There is also in Greek architecture the beginning of the Corinthian[21]
style, of which the best example known to moderns is the totally ruined
Tholos[22] near Epidauros in the Morea, and the most familiar, that
little monument in Athens, called the Choragic[23] Monument of
Lysicrates: but for this style we must refer to the Roman buildings in
which it reached its highest development.

When we come to consider more especially the traditional repute of
Grecian architecture, and the influence which it has had in shaping the
opinions of what we call the taste of sixty generations throughout all
the European lands, we are brought at once to the work of the Roman
imperial times. All the nationalities--all the peoples--which take their
recent and existing social form and opinions in art and literature from
the same common source, the all-embracing empire of Rome, have taken up
Greek art as they have taken up Greek literature, as their chief and
original guide to thought. Indeed it has been shown, and is accepted as
true, that the chief mission of the great Roman empire was in preserving
Hellenic thought in art and literature for the future. It is because of
this, as has been truly said, that the works of Homer and Æschylus and
of the Greek sculptors are plants growing in our own garden. They might
have been, and but for the Roman empire they would be, as foreign to the
modern world as are the thought and literature of Persia and India. It
is therefore necessary to consider what Greek architecture was to the
five or six centuries which followed its greatest epoch, and again what
it was to the five or six centuries which followed the Middle Ages, in
Europe. From 450 B. C. to 400 A. D., and again from 1400 A. D. to recent
times, Greek thought in these matters of fine art was the central thing,
the spring of life. To the peoples of antiquity Greek architecture was a
guide and inspiration, even under the much altered conditions of a
foreign and irresistible rule: it was constantly and uniformly the
model. To the peoples who have built and designed since the fourteenth
century, Greek art has been of weight generally as acting through the
Roman styles of design, for it was not until the beginning of the
nineteenth century that the actual buildings of the Greek peoples in
Greece, in Asia Minor, in Italy, and in Sicily, came to be known at all:
but it was the Greek part in Roman imperial art that interested those
Moderns. At the time of the first explorations and discoveries of
Stuart, Revett, Penrose, Cockerell, Pennethorne, Texier, Renan, and the
other explorers of the years from 1760 to 1850, the Greek buildings were
in ruins. Not one single roof remained in place. Not one single building
was so far preserved that the question could be definitely answered
whether the temples had openings in the roofs for light in all or in any
cases: so that the hypæthral[24] theory remains a theory only, and is
apparently incapable of verification. On the other hand, the details,
not only the mouldings and flutings and channelings, but also the
carving in conventionalized leafage, were plainly to be seen and were
capable of exciting the most enthusiastic interest. Thus Plate VIII
shows the order and some other details of the Temple of Athena Polias at
Priene in Asia Minor: the drawings having been made about 1766 under the
direction of Dr. Richard Chandler and the architect Nicolas Revett. The
general plan remained doubtful, but as it was evident that the buildings
had received the most careful thought, with a view to their artistic
character, and as, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,
proportion in the larger distributions of the building was esteemed the
most important element of architectural greatness, it was taken for
granted that the Greek buildings would be found to have also such
excellence of proportion; and it was believed that this particular
beauty could be enjoyed and judged by those who were patient and shrewd
enough to combine the shattered ruins and deduce from them the original
form of the buildings which they represent. What one temple would not
give, another supplied. What one temple had lost, another had preserved.
The height of the columns could be ascertained and the diameters of
their shafts at top and at bottom: the distance apart of these columns
could be ascertained: the shapes of the capitals were there to be noted:
the entablature could be restored by a mental process and drawn out with
almost perfect certainty. In this way the Greek temples were put into
shape for the modern student. No such student had ever seen one except
in the state of apparently hopeless ruin: but no such student could fail
to grasp the evident significance of the original building when
presented to him as a work of pure form, white and colorless, simple in
construction, refined in detail beyond anything that later times had
ever achieved, presumably faultless in proportion, and invested with
minute and delicate decoration in conventionalized leaf form and the
like. We have then to keep in mind two different ways of judging of the
Greek buildings; first, the truly historical and also truly critical
way, in which we take them as buildings once very real and really put to
use, made rich by splendid color and abounding variety of detail, much
of this detail being in paint or in gilding alone without form to
represent it; and the other way, the modern traditional way, by means of
which a small body of writers and lecturers swayed architectural opinion
for a century and a half, and until the accurate examination and close
study, given to the subject in the second half of the nineteenth
century, had produced its effect.

In the later chapters of this little book there will be found frequent
reference to this professional or technical view of pure Greek
architecture. Still, what has been thought about it since its discovery
in the eighteenth century, is of less importance to our inquiry than the
similar assumptions with regard to the architecture of Imperial Rome;
for that architecture influenced the peoples of Europe at all times
during the Middle Ages, and more especially at the important periods of
revival or of change in the fifth, the eleventh, and the fifteenth

The early architecture of Rome, that is of the city and its
neighborhood, is not under consideration; it is very little known even
to modern archæologists, and it was not known at all to the people of
the Risorgimento[25] or their successors, upon whose work the modern
traditions and feeling about architecture have been based. The buildings
which directly influenced the world of the Middle Ages, and then that
later world of the fifteenth century, the time of Italian imitation of
antiquity, were those of the early Emperors. There was, as has been
discovered within the last quarter of a century, a special art
introduced in the reign of Augustus, a beautiful art made up of
sculpture not exclusively Greek in character; and, in its architectural
form, of an enlarged and more decorative handling of the Greek system of
design. In both of these innovations some loss in refinement comes with
the gain in splendor and in utility: but we can see this Augustan
architecture to have been a splendid decorative art. It is also true
that somewhat more of it than we now see remained in place, and nearly
complete, in the fifteenth century. The great buildings which partly
remain to us from the Imperial epoch are generally later than the time
of Augustus. The famous Pantheon (see Plate IX), as we now have it, with
its huge rotunda, dates from the time of Hadrian (117-138 A. D.): the
magnificent Forum of Trajan with its accessories, a group of buildings
inconceivably vast and splendid, was completed during the same
administration of Hadrian. The best preserved Roman memorial arch, which
is also fortunately very rich in sculpture, that of Benevento in South
Italy, was also built after Trajan’s death and in the time of Hadrian:
the best preserved buildings of Palmyra and of the North-African cities
are of the time of the Antonines, those of Heliopolis (Baalbec) of the
same epoch and later. The temples on the old Forum--the Forum Romanum as
distinguished from the later or imperial Fora--were restored and altered
many times before the final collapse of the imperial power in Rome: the
temple of Castor, apparently under Tiberius (14-37 A. D.), the temple of
Saturn, with the State treasury in its basement, perhaps not later than
the time of Augustus (30 B. C. to 14 A. D.), the temple of Vespasian,
much rebuilt, under Severus and Caracalla, at the beginning of the third
century, A. D. The buildings named as being in Rome itself, together
with the Temple of Antoninus Pius, that of Mars the Avenger in the Forum



[Illustration: PLATE IX.]



[Illustration: PLATE X.]

Augustus, the enclosing wall of the Forum of Nerva, and other fragments
now wholly destroyed, were the pieces of architectural art which most
especially influenced the studies of the men of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries. Plate X gives what now remains of the Temple of
Castor, and also what remains of the Temple of Mars; but as late as the
sixteenth century there was much more to be seen and studied about these
ruins. The building behind the Temple of Castor in the Forum, now
entirely stripped of its architectural decorations, retained its
interior order of marble columns until the sixteenth century, and this
building also was of great importance to the earlier restorers of
antique art: it is thought by modern archæologists to have been the
Temple of Augustus, which is known to have existed in this neighborhood.

The buildings named above were generally columnar in character. The
memorial arch and the Pantheon are the only two of them which were
certainly vaulted structures. Now, the memorial arch required only one
or three simple barrel vaults, and the example of the Etruscans must
have made such work as that familiar to the people of Rome, but the
Pantheon is a very different thing. This, as rebuilt under Hadrian, with
the rotunda which we know, must have been one of the earliest Roman
buildings in solid mortar-masonry. Its walls are very thick, faced on
both sides with brick, but built actually of small stones laid in strong
mortar, and it is roofed with extremely massive vaulting of the same
materials. Other such buildings of which large parts exist are, in the
city of Rome itself, the great Halls of the Thermæ of Caracalla
(probably built about 205-10 A. D.); those of the Thermæ of Diocletian,
built a century later, and that of the basilica of Maxentius and
Constantine on the north side of the Forum Romanum, built between 312
and about 330 A. D. In these buildings a vaulting as massive as that of
the Pantheon but of wholly different shape was used. The Pantheon, a
circular building, is roofed by a circular cupola[26] which is kept in
place by a ponderous superstructure carried up from the haunches of the
vault, so that the thrust of the cupola could not, however great it
might be, affect the stability of the structure. In the great halls of
the Thermæ and the basilica above named, the conditions are very
different, for the groined-vaulting[27] of these halls would, if built
under ordinary conditions, exert a formidable pressure outward upon all
its points of support. In these Roman examples, however, there were two
influences at work to save the buildings from possible injury: the
skillful disposition of walls and piers to take up or absorb the thrust
from each point of support, and the fact that these vaults were built in
such a fashion, with horizontal beds of stone laid in strong cement
mortar, that there could not be much thrust when once the mortar was dry
and the vault consolidated. The vault could not thrust outward without
breaking: and it was too homogeneous to break. Buildings whose actual
construction was carried out in this fashion exist throughout those
Mediterranean lands which once were included in the great empire. This
system of building gave the world those great permanent interiors which
were the first in the world’s history to be of architectural importance.
Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, both those of Greece and
those of the Colonies--none of these great building nations had ever
conceived of interiors prepared and designed for their own sake, and as
the chief part of the building. The Assyrian kings in their palaces came
nearer to understanding the possible effectiveness of the interior: but
even they were satisfied with long and narrow halls shaped like what we
call corridors. It was left for the Romans at once to develop their
system of vaulting and at the same time to improve the construction of
their roofs of wood and metal, so that halls fifty feet, sixty feet,
even eighty feet wide, could be built with roofs of effective and
beautiful form high above the floor. Under these conditions the most
splendid possible interior effects were producible. Such vast columned
interiors as that of the Ulpian basilica and that of the Septa Julia
must have given an effect of stately grace absolutely unknown to the
modern world; the true evolution of Greek art in one direction was
assuredly to be found there. On the other hand the imperial dwellings on
the Palatine Hill in Rome with their numerous vaulted halls, the temples
of pure Roman design, like that of Venus and that of the City of Rome,
built back to back, near the Colosseum, and the great halls of the
basilicas and baths, as above suggested, were capable of being adorned
in a permanent and strictly architectural way as none of the buildings
of earlier races had been. The basilica of Maxentius had its middle
division, its nave,[28] about eighty-three feet wide and roofed with a
groined vault, although the span of that vault is less than this, about
seventy-eight feet, because carried by immense columns which stand free
of the wall on either side. This great hall was one hundred and
twenty-five feet high to the top of the vault: and it was flanked on
either side by an aisle[29] made up of three rooms, each about
fifty-three feet square, opening into the central hall; and the
barrel-vaults[30] even of these six minor divisions rose eighty feet
from the pavement. (See Plate XI.) This building dates from the
declining days of the Empire and of classical civilization, when
sculpture had already become a feeble and barbarous thing, without
character, and when what we consider the Byzantine feeling in matters of
decoration had already obtained the mastery throughout the greater part
of the Roman world. The strong hold which the system of building had
upon the engineers of the empire can be judged from this fact.


[Illustration: PLATE XI.]



[Illustration: PLATE XII.]

That which we are undertaking here is not a history of architecture, but
in a sense a history of the modern way of judging of architecture. What
then is the origin of those traditions and accepted doctrines upon which
are based all our ways of criticising a building? This and the previous
chapter are a partial answer to that question. The contribution of the
Roman Imperial world to this tradition has been, by much, the greatest
of all. It is upon the Roman practice that all subsequent European
systems of decorative building have been founded, except the lightest
and slightest--the wooden-framed houses of mediæval Europe and those of
modern America, and their like. Apart from fortification, and from
structures built by engineers without artistic intention, there is not a
single form of building in masonry since the fifth century which has not
been developed from the practice of the Imperial builders. Now it
appears that those builders not only built in two different ways, but
that they undertook the curious twofold task of constructing their
buildings with massive walls and vaults of mortar-masonry (thereby
abandoning wholly the example of the Greeks who never used mortar at all
in the buildings we admire, and who had no arches nor windows nor
interior designing of any sort in our modern sense), and of decorating
these buildings within and without, by means of a borrowed Greek system
of the Orders, which had nothing whatever to do with the actual
structure. They allowed themselves to take certain liberties with the
Greek Orders. They raised the column on a pedestal, they made the shaft
of costly and beautiful material, of porphyry or granite or pavonazzetto
marble or cipollino; and consequently, because the material was precious
and also hard, they did not try to adorn the shaft with channels or
flutes. They made the capital of bronze, cast hollow and gilded richly,
and put such capitals around the top of the shaft as a mere ornamental
jacket, concealing the actual supporting member. They built the
horizontal architrave of wedge-shaped stones, making of each span
between two columns a flat arch instead of a simple lintel of one block,
and they protected this built-up lintel by a second arch above, a
discharging arch to throw the weight upon the columns and relieve the
centre of the lintel. Finally, they increased the amount of carved
ornament upon all parts which seemed capable of receiving it. This they
did, not only by making the sculpture of any one moulding very elaborate
and rich, but also by increasing the number of sculptured mouldings.
Thus in Plate XII, there is given, that it may be compared with the
carved work of Athens (see Plate VII) a part of the entablature of the
Temple of Vespasian in the Roman Forum. And the differences between
Greek and Roman practice in this respect are not limited to the amount
of sculpture in a given moulding or a given monument: they affect also
the very nature of the ornament itself. Plate XII gives one side of the
imperial arch at Benevento; a monument intended primarily as a pedestal
for a great group of bronze figures; the reliefs on the arch showing
Trajan in war and in peace, sacrificing, conquering Dacians and
Armenians. It is evident that no such use of human subject in sculpture
had ever suggested itself to the Greek builders of the temples. It is
historical: and it is also strictly decorative, and subordinate to the
architectural design. For any similar conception arising among Greek
peoples we moderns must go to buildings which were utterly unknown to
the European artists who built up the neo-classic system, the men of the
fifteenth and subsequent centuries. Such a building as the famous tomb
of Mausolus at Halicarnassos, now Budroun, on the coast of Asia Minor,
may indeed have influenced greatly the Roman architects of the time of
Hadrian. That Emperor, who was a great traveller, may have seen the
Mausoleum; his favorite architect may have been a student of it from
childhood; but any ideas which the men who brought classic art back to
modern Europe drew from that famous structure came to them through the
Roman designers.

However much they might abandon the Greek use, that is to say, the
rational and inevitable use of the Orders, the Roman architects still
employed those Orders constantly, and in a way more splendid than
anything the Greeks had attempted. The Eastern notion of adorning a town
by a broad central avenue lined with colonnades two or three deep, an
idea developing itself rapidly in the cities of Syria, obtained
throughout the empire during its peaceful days. It appears that in the
fourth century it was feasible to go afoot from almost any point in the
central regions of Rome, north, south, east or west, for a mile or two,
while keeping always under cover; except indeed as one crossed a street
or avenue, though even at such crossings there was often the Tetrapylon,
the four-fronted gateway, to carry the shelter on from portico to
portico. This system of colonnaded porticoes, roofed always and enclosed
very often with a solid wall on one side at least, was developed in
many forms. A temple would stand in a great court surrounded by just
such colonnades. A forum of a Roman town like an agora of a Greek town
would be faced by colonnades on every side. For the purpose of display,
great squares were opened up essentially for the purpose of surrounding
them by just such porticoes. Plate XIII gives views of the ruins at
Jerash in Syria, east of the Jordan, the remains of the city of Gerasa,
whose glory seems to have been of the time of the Antonine emperors. The
lower figure gives the great triple archway south of the ancient walls
of Gerasa: the upper figure a view of the great oval or semi-oval space,
whose shape is not determined, and which we may hardly call either a
_forum_ or an _agora_. Plate XIV gives a detail of the _Forum
Transitorium_ of Nerva, Emperor from A. D. 96 to 98. The whole enclosure
was a massive wall about ninety feet high and built of huge blocks of
limestone, the decorative treatment and the sculptures being on the
inside and facing upon the Temple of Minerva. The figure



[Illustration: PLATE XIII.]



[Illustration: PLATE XIV.]

[Illustration: Plan of that part of Rome which contains the Imperial
Fora. Shaded parts are those covered by modern buildings.]

gives a trustworthy plan of the buildings called by the name of Trajan
and built during his reign and that of his successor, Hadrian. The
modern buildings and streets are shown, and it is seen from these how
the actual plan can only be inferred by that which has been discovered
by digging here and there, or by investigations in cellars of modern
structures. Still the general type of the old design can be seized: a
great open square, 270 by 370 feet and this surrounded on three sides by
a covered portico fifty feet wide with two rows of great columns in
addition to the wall outside, which itself was pierced by many openings
filled with columns _in antis_.[31] Across one end of this great square,
stretched the Ulpian basilica, as long as the whole square was wide,
including its portico, and half as wide as that: in other words, the
open interior of the basilica was about 180 by nearly 400 feet and the
roof of all this was carried by two rows of columns on every side in
addition to the outer wall which again was in parts opened up into a
colonnade. The basilica may or may not have been covered in the central
part: various conjectural restorations have been made, but nothing is
absolutely certain. It is evident that it was very open to persons
coming and going--that they were allowed to cross it almost as freely as
one crosses through a great cathedral in France or in Italy, going in at
the north door and out at the south door, almost at pleasure. Beyond it,
was a court where stood the Column of Trajan, still erect, though
without its accompanying minor buildings, and beyond that again and
across what may have been an entirely open street was the temple erected
to the deified Trajan, after his death, by the Senate, which temple was
surrounded by another portico and covered nearly as much ground as the
great forum itself. In this way a continuous space of nearly a thousand
feet in length by a width of from three hundred to four hundred feet
was either covered by the roofs of porticoes or open to the sky within
belts of these same porticoes. To walk once around the whole, following
the outside ambulatory of the porticoes would be to walk the best half
of a mile, and this one could do without ever passing out under the open
sky, except perhaps in crossing to the temple enclosure. Nor does this
account of the whole composition include in the least the great
semicircular buildings projecting from the forum and from the basilica
on the northeast and southwest. Now as all of this vast congeries of
splendid buildings must be assumed to have been entirely of
trabeated[32] structure, a mere series of columns and horizontal lintels
resting upon them with superstructure, it is evident that the Greek
spirit and the Greek taste controlled all parts of this vast

Mile upon mile of colonnades, as Greek in taste as the later age would
allow, enclosed and led up to superb interiors of a dignity and
magnificence immeasurably beyond anything conceived by the Greeks. This
is the Roman signet, as it were, the stamp which the great Empire put
upon the world.



The unequalled grandeur of the Empire as it endured from 50 B. C. to
about 350 A. D. is most strongly felt when we think of the Pax
Romana--that Roman peace which forbade armed conflicts in the
Mediterranean lands in which war had been the rule. To this Peace an
altar was erected in Rome by the orders of Augustus. From the Caspian
Sea to the Atlantic, and from the shores of the Baltic to the Atlas
Mountains a consecutive and orderly government was maintained, fully as
beneficent as has ever prevailed in any single nation of the earth,
except in very recent years in Western Europe, and immeasurably superior
to what has existed in those same regions, taken together during the
past dozen centuries. One curiously complete difference existed,
however, between the west and east halves of the Empire. In the West,
Roman domination brought with it a civilization so superior to that
known in those lands before the conquest that Gaul and Iberian must have
looked upon the Italian domination as synonymous with all that makes for
enlightenment and intellectual advance as well as good order. On the
other hand, the peoples of the Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor, and Syria,
must have felt that in yielding to the Italian power they were yielding
to a force, which, however beneficial politically, represented a lower
intellectual civilization than their own. The business of the Empire
was, as we now see it, to develop and hand on to the future, Hellenic
civilization. The first dawn of this extended Hellenism must have been
to the West a clear intellectual gain: but in the East it was not
noticeable. The holders of Greek traditions may have enjoyed the
apparent willingness of the conquerors to defer to the mental and moral
superiority of the conquered: but they could not have bowed to Rome as
the one civilizer known, as did the people of the west of Europe. And
so it was that the people of the East took one view of the architectural
problem when the Imperial system had fallen, while the Gallo-Romans,
Britons and Spaniards took quite another view, which they impressed at
once upon their Frankish, Visigothic and Saxon conquerors. The Roman
builders left two great traditions, the adornment of the building, the
open square, the city with combinations of Greek-seeming colonnades; and
the huge interior, arranged for interior effect, vaulted when
practicable, flat roofed with massive trabeated construction when the
light and open character of the building, as of a huge portico, invited
a pure Greek manner of design. The first-named of these traditions was
destined not to be very boldly or very generally followed until after
the Middle Ages. (See Chapters VI, VII, VIII.) The other prevailed at
once: the needs of the Christian church were served by it; and the
Westerners followed it in one way, the Easterners in a very different
way. The people of Italy, Gaul, Spain, Germany and Britain developed
Romanesque[33] architecture, the people of the Eastern Empire--which
held together for centuries the Greeks, Albanians, Macedonians, Syrians,
Phrygians--created Byzantine[34] architecture. The Romanesque is not
ill-named: it is indeed quasi-Roman, Roman as near as the poor and
scattered communities could make it. The Byzantine is a mixture of
Persian and Roman habits and rules, and is the very finest thing that
ever came out of such an almost conscious mixing of diverse element. It
could not have been created but for the Roman Peace, which still held
sway over the Eastern seas and lands after Italy and the West had gone
back to pristine barbarism: but under that domination it spread all over
the Balkan Peninsula with Greece, over southern and western Italy and
Sicily, Syria, Egypt, and the coast regions of Asia Minor.

Now it so happens that both of these great styles were superseded in
their turn by other and very vigorous styles: by the Gothic in Europe
and the Saracen or Mohammedan in Asia: and therefore it is that we have
only churches, and not many of them, from which to judge Romanesque and
Byzantine architecture. At least, however, these are erect and complete,
not too much altered, roofed and floored as of old, with window-openings
and doorways, porches and apses in working order. It is with the present
chapter, then, that we begin to study buildings which we can see
complete. And, after all, the church was much the most important
structure of the time. Here and there a ruined palace, like Barbarossa’s
at Gelnhausen and the Hebdomon at Constantinople, makes us regret what
we have lost: but these also prove the truth of our assumption that it
was the Church Building in which was determined the growth of
architecture. Indeed that was to be the march of events until the
fifteenth century: only then did the residence and the house of state
come to the front.

The earliest western churches are the Basilicas, buildings of a form and
style derived partly from the Roman civic basilica[35], and partly from
the well known peristyle or garden-like court of the large Roman house,
with its pillars supporting the roofs of open galleries on three or four
sides. The buildings of this character built or adapted for Christian
uses were themselves basilicas--Christian basilicas or post-classic
basilicas. They were flat roofed, without vaulting, imitating in this
the majority of the older, classical basilicas. A good example of these
buildings is seen in the still existing church in Rome, the Liberian
basilica called commonly St. Mary the Greater (S. Maria Maggiore). Plate
XV gives the interior of this building as drawn by Gutensohn for the
great work of Bunsen: the late alteration which spoils the uniformity of
the colonnade on either side being ignored. The columns of this
colonnade are entirely antique, excepting repairs and slight
alterations. It is probable that in this as well as in many similar
structures the ancient pillars of a great outdoor portico, such as are
described in Chapter II, were taken bodily for the interior of the
church. The clergy of the fifth century cared much less for the beauty
and completeness of the city outside than for, each, his own special
dominion--the church which he controlled; and there was no municipality
to prevent such spoliation. The plan of the church is easy to understand
from the plate itself; apart from the numerous


(From Gutensohn, Die Basiliken des Christlichen Roms.)]

[Illustration: PLATE XV.]


[Illustration: PLATE XVI.]

outside chapels and sacristies of later time, a simple parallelogram
about two hundred and fifty feet long and fifty feet wide, which width
is divided into a broad nave and two much narrower aisles. And therefore
a single glance reveals the whole structural character and the whole
architectural design of the church. Three parallel halls divided by two
rows of columns; the central hall (the nave) rising much higher than the
roofs on either side, and showing, therefore, a broad space of wall
towards the interior; and, towards the exterior, a wall less high by the
vertical height of the aisle-roof. This great wall surface will be
certain to have windows in it, because that is the obvious way of
lighting the nave: then the roofs either finished within by a flat
ceiling, as in the present instance, or showing the timbers of the roof,
with only such decoration as color and a little very simple carving may
supply. This type of building endured through the whole epoch of what we
call the Middle Ages, and has never been wholly abandoned since. Our
larger churches are close studies of it.

Substitute a series of equal arches for the straight horizontal lintels
which stretch from column to column and carry the clearstory[36] wall,
and you have the very root of the Western Romanesque, and of its higher
development in the Gothic style. (See Chapter IV.) Basilicas
contemporaneous, or nearly so, with S. Maria Maggiore are often so
built, with round arches sprung from column to column; and if we take a
church of a much later period of central Italy we find often the
basilica type in its simplicity--developed and made more complex only in
detail. Plate XVI gives the interior of the church of San Miniato al
Monte outside the walls of Florence. The noticeable peculiarity in this
is the change of the arcade, supporting the clearstory wall, from a
single uniform line of equal columns supporting equal arches, to a more
organized structure of two great piers with two responds[37] and in
each of the three spaces so left, two columns with three round arches.
This system is found in churches as early as Santa Agnese outside the
walls of Rome, and was never abandoned. To satisfy in some way the
instinctive desire of the builders for a more complex plan than the
perfectly unbroken nave and aisles, there was introduced the wall
supported on a great round arch, which, as seen in Plate XVI, spans the
nave at two points in its length and may be thought to stiffen the
otherwise long and unbuttressed clearstory wall. The painted decoration
of the timbers of this roof of San Miniato is very attractive, the color
effect is more elaborate than the photograph can show: it is really a
very beautiful thing: and it is rare in Europe to find an open timber
roof treated so frankly as a thing susceptible of adornment. In other
ways it is curious to see the way in which the poverty and lack of skill
of the tenth century men alter the style of design from the huge Roman
way of doing things. Lightness has to be substituted for ponderous
masses; the walls are as thin as would stand alone and fairly steady:
only the columns, taken from antique structures, can be thought capable
of bearing more weight than is laid upon them; the decoration is by
means of a marble inlay of large and bold design on the walls and of
minute pattern in the pulpit, the altar rail and the like, and, in the
half dome over the apse,[38] a mosaic picture of sacred
significance--Christ with the emblems of the four evangelists and with
the Virgin and San Miniato the patron of the church. In these mosaics
and inlays there is to be noted a great interest in abstract patterns; a
characteristic of Asiatic art, but unfrequent in Greek or in Roman art
as we know it. Basilicas of the fifth century and of the sixth century
at Ravenna (S. Apollinare


[Illustration: PLATE XVII.]



[Illustration: PLATE XVIII.]

in Classe and S. Apollinare Nuovo), of those and later centuries in
Rome, of the eighth century at Parenzo in Istria, of the tenth century
at Lucca (San Frediano) of the twelfth century in Palermo and Monreale
in Sicily, and others, still exist with their main characteristics
unchanged. They retain the simpler plan of rows of columns of uniform
size and placed uniformly. Another whole family of churches are of the
San Miniato type: the length of the nave divided into three or four
greater bays,[39] subdivided into minor bays. Such are the famous
churches of San Zeno at Verona, and of San Michele at Pavia and Sant’
Ambrogio in Milan (see Plate XVII): but these two last named churches
have vaulted roofs of stone. Plate XVIII gives the exterior of Gross St.
Martin at Cologne and the interior of the cathedral of Tournai in
Belgium, interesting in the highest degree as showing plainly how the
Northern builders were not content with the simple programme of the
Italians--an interior upon which all pains were lavished while the
exterior was left to come as it might, a mere brick box with the
round-headed windows cut plainly through the wall. These builders of
French Flanders in the eleventh century made the exterior of their
church effective by the process of building four square towers of very
simple design, involving no sort of complexity in their construction,
and grouping these towers at the four corners of a larger and lower
central mass also of tower-like aspect, while to the westward stretched
the long nave pierced with a series of precisely similar round arches,
above and below, with long roofs of uniform section, and all this
brought sharply up against the great rising mass of the towers from
which again three semicircular apses went off to the east, the north and
the south. In this way an external architectural effect was produced far
more elaborate than anything that the Italians of that time had
imagined. As the church of Tournai now stands, a late Gothic chancel
has replaced the old eastern apse: it is easy, however, to restore
mentally the original exterior of the church, and, if it were more
difficult, the contemplation of other Romanesque churches, especially in
Germany, would provide us with the material necessary. Plate XIX shows
from the east end the church of the Holy Apostles at Cologne, and it is
easy to imagine the three apses of somewhat different design grouped
about the central and dominating mass of the Flemish church. This church
at Cologne has two nearly round towers connecting the apses and seems to
have had four such towers originally, or in the first design, with one
square tower in the middle of the west front. The church of St. Martin
in the same place (p. 77; Plate XVIII) differs from these and from most
Romanesque churches in having a very noble central tower, one of the
finest productions of the Northern Romanesque.

It is evident that the admiration which we give to even the most
important of these churches is a different thing from that which the
great monuments of antiquity compel. The construction of the mediæval
churches is as complex as that of the greatest Roman monuments; this
coming from a necessity of providing interiors relatively larger than
those of the Roman imperial epoch. The builders even of the twelfth
century, and even in the most nearly well governed countries of Europe,
had but limited resources. No king, no great noble controlling a
province, no bishop, no convent, however rich, could dispose of
resources for one instant comparable to those of a Roman pro-consul in
even a small town of the empire. The mediæval men had to get as much
building as they could for their money. If they built their walls thick,
as they seem to the modern traveller, this was because they were unable
to get good masons. A stone wall may be carried up forty feet high with
a thickness of only three feet, even when pierced with windows, if you
have good workmen in your employ and fairly good


[Illustration: PLATE XIX.]


[Illustration: PLATE XX.]

flat-bedded stone with tolerable mortar; but as your material is the
worse and as your masons are the more unskilled, you have to build the
thicker. Indeed the history of Romanesque architecture is that of a
long-continued fight between the problem and the would-be solvers
thereof. It was desirable to roof with masonry, partly as a safeguard
when, as often happened, the wooden structure of the high roof above the
walls caught fire and was destroyed, and also because of the comparative
stateliness of effect, and because each bishop thought of building not
for his own brief time only, but for his successors. And this very
requirement, that each part of the building should be closed at the top
with masonry, kept the builders of Western Europe busy from the time of
Clovis on. The history of any one great church is a record of continual
failure of walls, foundations or abutments; some part of the vaulting is
forever crumbling and threatening to fall so that it has to be rebuilt;
and now and then there’s a crash and a catastrophe. The buttresses[40]
have to be enlarged; iron ties have to be inserted; even the plan of the
vaulting has to be changed every now and then and a new experiment tried
with a view to its greater permanence in another style of work. Hence it
is that the modern student of such buildings has at once that delight in
them which comes from their very archaism mingled with a kind of
deprecatory pity: we sympathize with their builders’ aims and regret
their feeble resources and their small knowledge: we love their
buildings as we love the stammering speech of childhood. There is
something else, no doubt: such a splendid tower-group as that at
Tournai, such a noble interior as that of Mayence (Mainz) cathedral (see
Plate XX), are individually, and as works of art, powerful enough to
command our sincere admiration: but these are the exceptions.

Exceptions in another way are found in northern and central France. The
buildings there are not so remarkable for their superiority in general
design as they are for their unparalleled richness in sculptural
adornment. They have at the same time many larger features which are of
peculiar interest. Thus the tower of St. Radegonde at Poitiers (see
Plate XXI), square below and coming to an octagon for the belfry, is a
wonderfully spirited composition: and close to it is that famous church
of Notre Dame la Grande, of which the west front is shown in the next
plate. The builders of this latter church were lovers of sculpture and
knew how to handle it in order to produce a great result, so they
composed boldly in groups of statuary, floral sculpture, or sculpture as
rich made up of wholly conventional forms. Plate XXII gives the wall
above the three great portals of the west front of this extraordinary
church; and while inferior in tasteful harmony to the cathedral at
Angoulême near by, or indeed to many a noble church of the centre of
France, the richness of conception, and the easy way in which the
constructional parts of the building are loaded with carved adornment
without injury to its massiveness and its dignity are surprising enough.
The sculpture is barbaric in its lack of knowledge, but to be barbaric
is not to be weak or insignificant. The nineteenth century workmen of
Europe had no such power of effective design. In this, as in building,
the eleventh century men were surpassed by those of the years to follow:
and but for that still greater Gothic art (see Chapter IV) we should
have to go to Romanesque architecture for constant stimulus.

The architecture of the Eastern half of the Empire was much less nearly
Roman in its plan. Basilicas there were; but at a very early epoch the
type of what the Germans call the _Centralbau_ prevailed. The centred
building; so we might designate the plan and structure which presuppose
a supremely important central feature, a hall, however opened up on
three sides or four


[Illustration: PLATE XXI.]


[Illustration: PLATE XXII.]

sides to minor divisions, aisles, porches, and apses. See page 86. This
great hall might be covered by a cupola, or, as often is found in the
smaller churches, its vertical walls are carried up into a drum or round
tower roofed in any one of several ways. The essence of the distinction
between this plan and the Western plan is the absence of the “long drawn
aisle”; and the arrangement of the whole around a central point from
which the structures of the church may be said to radiate. There were,
as has been said, straight-lined churches in the East: and in like
manner there were radiating buildings in the West, notably, the round
churches of San Stefano in Rome and the cathedral at Aix-la-Chapelle,
St. Gereon at Cologne, and the rather numerous baptisteries, as at
Florence, Parma, Ravenna and Pisa, which in their original state of
being, were not baptisteries only, but became so after the basilica
churches with nave and aisle had been built in the same towns for the
cathedrals proper. Still, in connection with our immediate question,
that of

[Illustration: Plan of Church of S. Sophia at Constantinople. Scale
about 100 feet to one inch.]

[Illustration: Plan of Church of S. Theodore, Athens. Scale about 25
feet to one inch.]

the artistic appreciation of a building of any epoch, it is better to
study round or radiating buildings in their own home of the Eastern
provinces, as we study the basilica-shaped buildings in Western Europe.

Now the peculiarity of the Eastern church-building, that of the central
hall, is generally the absence of any very impressive exterior. This was
not necessarily the result of the plan adopted. One does not see readily
any sufficient cause for the general neglect among Eastern designers of
the appearance from outside; unless it be this--that the cities of the
Levant were then as they are now made up, so far as the stranger who
walks their streets can discern, of blind whitewashed walls upon which
open only the doorways of the dwellings, and here and there, in the
ground story, a small unarchitectural and carefully grated window. The
street effects, common to the cities of the north of Europe, even as
early as the eleventh century, and well known to us for their
picturesque and varied character, are, in the Levant, simply
non-existent, except in those few cities which show strong external
marks of commercial intercourse with Europe. The interior is indeed the
chief thing in church building, anywhere, but in the Byzantine art it is
everything, or so the student thinks. Plate XXIII shows the interior of
the great church of Santa Sophia, at Constantinople, which seems to many
the noblest architectural conception of the Christian world in any of
its parts. Plate XXIV gives the exterior of the same building: and it
will be seen at once how much there needs to be taken from it that its
true Byzantine character may be judged. The tall round minarets are
modern Turkish additions, put there for the muezzin who calls to prayer,
the enormous buttresses, looking like lofty houses without windows,
which rise one on either side of the great arch in the flank of the
church, are additions resulting partly from the fall of the original
cupola in the sixth century and partly from much later reparations; and
all the small cupolas near, with the buildings which they cover, are
wholly modern,


[Illustration: PLATE XXIII.]



[Illustration: PLATE XXIV.]

at least in their present form, whatever foundations of fifth century
work there may be enclosed within them. It appears then that the only
striking external feature of the original building would be the slow
rise and swell of the central cupola, led up to by the similar curves of
the two half cupolas covering the semicircular apses at the northeast
and southwest, and contrasting boldly with the huge flat wall beneath
the arch, on the northwest and southeast.

The magnificent conception of this interior is well known to be unique
among the Byzantine churches; that is to say, no one of them has this
same remarkable system of construction with four very open arches (one
hundred foot span) supporting this low-pitched cupola which is then
buttressed in a way by the half cupolas on two sides producing the
striking interior form quite visible in the Plate XXIII. In other
respects, however, this great church is rather the typical Byzantine
church than a building apart. The other churches are like it in
construction; they are like it in having the central mass nearly
circular, and the minor parts ranged around it on every side; they are
like it in having drawn their constructional character from the vaulted
buildings of Persia and the neighboring lands. Thus the church of St.
Theodore at Athens, of which the plan is given on page 86, though it has
three apses turned towards the east and a narthex at the west end, is
still a building with a dominant central feature around which other
parts are grouped. Plate XXIV shows this plainly, for nothing can be
more remote from the basilica type than the group here shown. The cupola
is evidently not complete--not a fully organized design--it has been
roofed as cheaply as possible and at as low a level as the windows would
allow: for these windows replace the great light-openings of the western
clearstory. In Moldavia and in the southern provinces of Russia these
cupolas are found by hundreds with their design fairly well worked out.
Plate XXV shows a monastery in the region of the Caucasus, in which the
principal church


[Illustration: PLATE XXV.]


[Illustration: PLATE XXVI.]

and three smaller chapels are all completed by the carrying up of just
such cupolas above these central divisions. Now these buildings are all
very small. The cupolas are twenty-five feet, eighteen feet, sixteen
feet wide, within: St. Theodore’s little shrine would not hold a hundred
worshippers. It is easy to see that the exterior design with the high
cupola was worked out for these small buildings; but it is easy to see
also that the general plan is capable of nobler exterior treatment. If,
therefore, there should ever be an attempt made to build in modern
Europe in the Byzantine style, it will be modified, inevitably, by this
possibility, and by the obvious necessity of satisfying the general
demand for a splendid outside. The recently built cathedral in London,
spoken of below in Chapter X, is an instance of this.

Still, the glory of the Byzantine style must be found in its interior
decoration. The Greek half of the Empire took from the Roman masters of
the world the taste for splendid material; and, wherever some money
could be had, the alabaster and the rosy and gray marbles of Greek and
Asiatic quarries were brought to the spot. Mosaic gave a more vivid
color; and this gave also the opportunity for the telling of the Gospel
story and the legends of saints in permanent pictures. St. Mark’s church
at Venice is the type for Europeans to study. The sense of pure delight
in glowing and harmonious color, combined with soft and flowing line, is
nowhere so strongly felt: no building, until Santa Sophia can be
cleansed of Turkish whitewash, will affect the lover of splendid
decoration so powerfully.



Gothic architecture is a natural development of the Romanesque
architecture of northern France. It took its origin in the second half
of the twelfth century, that origin being wholly constructional. The
Romanesque builders were extremely harassed by their problems of masonry
roofing, as mentioned in Chapter III, and there was taken up as a device
to facilitate this vaulting the plan of an arched rib of
carefully-worked hard stone, carried diagonally across the open space
which required the stone roof: then another similar rib crossing the
first one, leaving only triangles, each about one-fourth of the full
size of the open space, which triangles could be vaulted with great
ease. Instead of a square or parallelogram containing a thousand square
feet horizontal and needing to be covered by a somewhat complicated
vault, all that was required was the careful adjusting of two narrow
arches in cut stone, and then the very simple vaulting of each one of
the four triangles, about two hundred square feet each, horizontal. This
was a simple and rather obvious device, one would think: but it took
thirty years to develop, and once complete, the whole great system of
Gothic building and the whole Gothic style, including everything from
the cathedral of Reims to the smallest chapel, came from it as a matter
of course.

If the student desire a clear notion of the nature and the appearance of
Gothic rib-vaulting he may study Plate XXVI, in which the structure can
be seen better than in the high vaults of a cathedral. Each rib is a
part of an independent arch of stone, perhaps a foot wide and twenty
inches or two feet deep. The arch-solids (voussoirs) are very carefully
cut, and the arch built with all its company of corresponding arches to
meet at top, midway, in a boss of cut stone. This done, the triangular
spaces are easy enough to build with smaller and rougher stones, and the
haunches are loaded outside and above with still ruder masonry.

The style was developed in that tract of country which lies between the
Loire on the south, the Somme on the north, the Meuse on the east, and,
on the west, a line drawn north and south through the cities of Caen and
Angers--a district about one hundred and thirty by two hundred and fifty
miles, equal to England and Wales south of the Trent and the Mersey, or,
say, the State of Pennsylvania. The style was never quite at its best
except in what is now France, though the boundaries of the district
above named were soon overpassed by the perfected Gothic. The most
nearly French, and therefore most normal and faultless, examples out of
France are those of the Rhine and of northern Spain where French
master-masons seem to have worked. The Gothic, beginning as early as
1290 in England, is of extreme beauty in a simple, quasi-domestic, less
grand and less perfectly developed way than the French. The Gothic of
Germany and the Austrian dominions differed from the normal type in
being somewhat fantastical and irregular, but still more in a lack of a
thoroughly intelligent proportion of the parts. The so-called Gothic of
Italy is never admirable as a style except in a few Cistercian monastic
churches: and the magnificent cathedrals such as Orvieto, Siena,
Monreale, and Florence are rightly beloved indeed for their magnificent
combination of the decorative arts of form and color--their mosaics,
their delicate sculptures in marble, their wrought and highly developed
porches, their superb wall-tombs--but are of minor architectural
importance from the very fact of their complete lack of constructional

Let us consider the cathedral of Amiens in the department of the Somme,
about sixty miles north of Paris. This we may take as being the accepted
representative of French Gothic churches, lacking indeed some features
which others of its own time have retained, but completely typical in
its plan and structure. Plate XXVII gives the interior looking westward
from the choir and shows the nave in steep perspective so that its seven
bays are much foreshortened, and with this a part of the north aisle and
a part of the choir in which we stand. The great height of the nave is
shown without that sometimes disagreeable appearance of a narrowness
disproportionate to the height such as is sometimes seen in photographs
taken directly on the axis of so lofty a church. The members which go to
make up this great height are also visible; the first row of nave arches
repeated in the choir and in the transept, the second story of arched
openings which gives us the triforium,[41] and the third story which is
called the clearstory, and which contains the great windows as well as
the vaulting which constitutes the inner roof of the church. The round
window in the distance forms an important part of the west front. Close
to the spectator the lofty wall broken up into canopies and arches and
crowned with a forest of pinnacles is entirely of carved oak, and
includes an incredible number of most exquisite carvings, which decorate
all parts of the partition itself as well as the stalls or the seats for
choristers which are dimly seen below. The iron gates, seen as closed,
give access to this enclosure which is the liturgical choir, that is to
say, the enclosure made within the architectural choir, and intended to
serve for the clergy and their assistants. As to epochs, the whole
structure of the church is of the thirteenth century: its vaulting, its
arches and piers and windows and its delicate sculpture; and its
original plan, though conceived during the last years of the twelfth
century, cannot be thought to have been perfected until the structure
rose upon it. The carved work of the choir is very much later,
representing the last development of Gothic art and belonging more
properly to our Chapter V:


[Illustration: PLATE XXVII.]



[Illustration: PLATE XXVIII.]

it is known to have been executed between 1508 and 1520. A very few
years later were wrought the splendid sculptures in stone of the outer
choir screen--the massive wall which encloses this graceful work in
carved oak: but these must be referred to Chapter V. The great iron
gates, beautiful of their kind, belong to the eighteenth century: they
replace a noble jubé or rood screen which once separated the choir from
the crossing, where nave and transepts meet.

Now it is clear enough what we have to admire and enjoy when we stand
within such a church as this. The least attentive beholder is struck by
the great height of the church; and the roof, one hundred and forty feet
above the head, is not invisible nor lost in darkness, but shows its
elaborate structure of elastic ribs carrying thin vaults which bear upon
the ribs and thrust in every direction, so that the general character of
the construction is readily grasped. The height is made manifest--it is
in a manner explained--by its division into three stories, each of
which again seems to be subdivided by the sculptured capitals which mark
the springing of the arches. The cruciform plan leading the eye away
into halls and passages, not perceived at first, adds to the ultimate
effect of grandeur dependent upon space, however much it may delay the
fullness of that impression. The abundant detail in mouldings and in
floral sculpture as well as in constructional elements probably
increases the effect of size by means of the constant repetition of its
similar groups: and it is in itself capable of giving the greatest
pleasure to the student who finds in it, as it were, a museum of
decorative sculpture arranged not in meaningless succession as when
fragments are arranged upon a shelf, but in highly significant order and
in sequences both horizontal and vertical. There is still for the
student of such matters the constantly growing respect for the logical
acumen of the builders, who insert nothing for mere ornamentation but
who make their constructional members tell as decorative features. Here
are no slabs of precious marble nor any bas-reliefs delicately wrought
in stucco, as in the buildings of imperial Rome, nor, at present, any
chromatic effects whatever, except those of the great windows; for
whatever traces of painting were left from the Middle Ages have been
destroyed long ago. The building can never have affected surface
decoration, in the Roman sense: a decoration covering all parts of its
interior and concealing or ignoring the structure; the effective
paintings that there were we know to have been local in their character,
near the eye, and having a definite message of ecclesiastical import.
The decorative instinct of the Gothic builders was not there but in the
treatment of the actual building. Let us consider another great
cathedral, that of Reims in the department of the Marne. Plate XXVIII
gives two views in the interior, both near the east end. In the one, you
look westward far down the north aisle, about four hundred and twenty
feet from where we stand, to the open door seen in the west front. In
the other, we look across the choir proper, that is the liturgical
enclosure, from southwest to northeast, seeing the beginnings of the
curve of the chevet or rounded apse. In these interior views are seen in
a more intimate way the characteristics of a great Gothic church. The
vastness, the height, the soaring grandeur of the interior are for the
moment ignored, and we see the lower vaults and the clustered pillars
which support them and the higher vaults of the nave, as well as the
delicate sculpture of the capitals. The interior, however, though
certainly the thing of primary importance, is not all that we have to

The outside of the Gothic Church is as closely related to the structure
as is the inside and forms one with it. Plate XXIX gives the exterior of
Amiens cathedral. The highest windows are those of the clearstory, which
is the upper part of the central nave, in this case the nave of the
choir. Below these is the roof of the inner aisle hidden here by the
pyramidal roofs of the


[Illustration: PLATE XXIX.]

S. E.]

[Illustration: PLATE XXX.]

chapels, built much later. Now as to the forest of flying buttresses,
those sloping bars of stone carried on stone arches, which surround the
clearstory, the only purpose of these is to receive and neutralize the
thrust of the vaults within. The high vault above the clearstory pushes
against the uppermost flying buttresses. The vault of the inner aisle
has its much less formidable thrust taken up by the vaults of the outer
aisle as far as the lines of the plan are straight, east and west, and
by those of the chapels as soon as the curve of the chevet[42] begins.
By means of the double set of flying buttresses, those within and higher
and the outer and lower ones, the thrust of the high vaults is carried
across the whole space occupied by the two aisles, and finally turned
over to the upright piers which themselves serve also as buttresses for
the outer aisle. Or, to approach the same set of counteracting forces
from without, we have as we walk along either flank of the church, or
around the curve of the chevet, a row of heavy and solidly built stone
piers with much their greatest horizontal dimension in a direction
across the axis of the church; that is to say, each one of them is
perhaps twenty feet in and out by three feet or three and a half or four
feet in width, measured east and west. Each one of these piers is built
in with the low wall outside the outer aisle, or of the chapel, as seen
in Plate XXIX, and the lower part of this wall helps to resist the
thrust of the roof-vaulting of that same aisle or chapel. As the pier
goes up, it is soon left clear of all walls and roofs, and the flying
buttresses from the vaults butt against it.

The Gothic builders had other thoughts over and above their logical
desire to show everywhere the true structure. They had also the taste
for upward-pointing lines: a taste which seems to have grown with the
development of the style. It was not this taste which in the first place
made their buildings high as compared with their width: that was a mere
matter of convenience and of obtaining very large windows above the
aisle roofs. But the pointed arch itself, and the steep roof needed to
protect the stone vaults from rain in a rainy climate, led these
builders constantly towards the steeper pitch, the sharper point, the
more lofty and soaring design.

Plate XXX shows the cathedral of Chartres seen over the houses of the
town, from the southeast. The two great towers on the left of the
picture are those which flank the west front: one of them, the simpler
one, seen on the extreme left and flanking the west front on the south
is the most famous tower in France and the most important single piece
of work in the history of Gothic tower-building, because it shows in a
faultless way the transition from Romanesque to Gothic in those forms
which are immediately caused by the necessity of vaulting the interiors.
These secondary parts (for the vaulted interior alone can be called a
primary and essential part of the Gothic church) sympathize with that
vaulted interior in the soaring character of the design, as has been
said above. The other tower was rebuilt at a much later period and
typifies perfectly the florid Gothic of the fifteenth century. We are to
imagine, then, two towers at the west end, each very like the earlier
one: and, as the picture shows, two others flanked the south transept.
In the Plate, one of them is covered by scaffolding, some repairs being
in progress. Two similar towers were intended to flank the north
transept: and a tower, undoubtedly planned for a larger and higher mass
than any one of the flanking towers just described, was to have risen
from that part of the church where the transept crosses the great
nave--the “crossing” as it is commonly called. Looking at this view of
Chartres cathedral, we are to imagine it then as not having that
high-shouldered look caused by the level line of the ridge of the
church, because that roof would not be seen except in small patches, the
seven great spires rising high above it and the seven square towers
which support them concealing the roof except here and there as the
spectator moves about the church. Now it is an unquestioned reproach to
the Gothic style that no one of these great churches was ever completed.
Certain towers there were which have been so shattered by the burning of
the roofs that they have been taken down. Spires have existed which have
now disappeared, but the greater part of the magnificent towers
conceived by the builders of the early years of the thirteenth century
have remained incomplete, and the churches which were to have had them
are only to be judged by an effort of the mind akin to that effort we
have to make in considering the buildings of classical antiquity. We are
better off with Gothic art than with Greek art, because we have the
details: and also because we have that which no Greek building can be
said to have had, the splendid and impressive interiors: but nowhere is
there a great Gothic church complete in its intended exterior effect.
The nearest approach to completion is undoubtedly to be found in
England, and, for a choice, in the lovely cathedral of Salisbury. The
architecture is not nearly as splendid as on the Continent; it is more
tranquil, more unpretending; it is less extraordinary in scale,
surpassing in a less formidable fashion the buildings of residence and
of government: and partly as a result of this it has been easier to
build and easier to maintain these buildings in their intended
completion. Plate XXXI shows this cathedral amid the trees of its close
and well explains that peculiarity of position in which some English
cathedrals are so much differentiated from those of the Continent. In
spite of the trees, however, the great peculiarity is seen of two
transepts--one crossing the nave at the point where the tower rises, as
was the intention in the Chartres cathedral, Plate XXX: the other, to
the eastward of that, and flanking the choir in a curious way, without
example on the Continent.


[Illustration: PLATE XXXI.]


[Illustration: PLATE XXXII.]

Now in judging such building, and such artistic intention as this, it is
evident that we cannot use the maxims which are convenient to observe in
the case of a Greek or a Greco-Roman monument. Lightness takes the place
of evident stability: that is the first thing to notice. It is not so
much that the walls are thin, as that they have disappeared: there are
no walls--only a series of piers dividing windows, the opening filled
with glass being much greater, if measured along a horizontal line
running through the windows, than is the extent of the solid masonry.
You see at once wherein there is an excuse for the saying “a wall of
glass with a roof of stone.” But there is more than this: the primary
object of the designer has been to treat his construction as the main
inspiration of his design. Inside and out everything is shown as it
really is, the exact duty done by every stone in the structure is
clearly visible to even an uncareful observer. This may be thought true
of early Greek work as well: but then the structure of the Greek temple
is the simplest conceivable, a mere carrying of stone beams upon stone
posts--no arches to thrust, no windows to open in the wall, most of all,
no attempt to roof anything with masonry except in so far as a stone
beam is strong enough to span a small open space between two strong
pillars. Moreover, the Greek temple was so covered up with painting, and
where the paint did not conceal the whole surface that surface was
already so carefully smoothed and unified, that it was hard to
distinguish stone from stone even in the marble-built temples of
Athens--whereas those of the soft stone regions, coated with stucco,
were in architectural effect absolutely monoliths. As for the Roman
structure, built with unexampled massiveness, and wonderfully imposing
in its mass and in the great size and noble proportions of its
interiors, it was concealed from view by the entirely contradictory
pretense at trabeated construction in the modified Greek orders of
columns and pilasters: and where these were not in use the walls were
very commonly concealed by marble in great sheets, by tiling of glass,
or by moulded stucco. The Gothic building also was painted: nor was
there any hesitation on any one’s part in putting up surfaces of stucco
to paint upon where an elaborate picture was wanted: but this concealed
nothing except the joints of a few courses of stone. The essential facts
of the structure remained visible outdoors and in, and it was by a
judicious proportioning of the parts of these structures, each to all
the others, that the chief architectural effect was obtained.

Another class of fourteenth century buildings must be named, the Italian
Gothic churches. Plate XXXII gives the most perfect piece of work among
them, the tower known as Giotto’s Campanile. Its exterior face is
entirely sheathed in marble, thin slabs for the most part, white which
has grown yellow, red which has grown a warm brown, and black or nearly
black; and to the larger members of the elaborate composition is added
the minute mosaic of one band after another all the way up, and the
still more delicate play of light and shade caused by slight and well
modelled reliefs of ornamental character. Down below, unseen in the
photograph, is a row of statues in niches, and two horizontal bands of
bas-reliefs of sacred and legendary subject. The tower is exceptional in
its perfect building: but there is nothing in the scheme of
construction: it is almost as simple as a Greek temple. And this is
where the great cathedral by its side is similar in character. Not
Gothic in proportion, nor in any system of buttresses, nor in the
disappearing of walls in constructional piers, nor in the disposition of
the sculpture; it is Gothic only in its having pointed arches, and
ribbed vaults, though these are so stayed up by massive masonry that the
thing is no more elastic than the halls of Roman thermæ.[43] But it is
beautiful in detail, encrusted and embossed, and most imposing in mass
without, however ill-proportioned in the nave, within; and even within
it is a grandiose nave up which you walk towards the culmination of the
whole in the sanctuary under the great cupola.



In Chapter IV we have seen how strongly the artistic effect of the
Gothic churches depends upon their structure. Everything in the
structure depends upon and leads up to the vaulting; everything in
decorative treatment depends upon the structure. That is true except in
so far as the universally felt need of ornament founded on the study of
nature and of abstract form modifies design. Thus the carving in
conventionalized leafage of a band, straight or seemingly bent around a
pier, and the choice of colors in a decorative window or a painted panel
of wall beneath a window, are indeed independent of the structure.
Moreover, the Gothic sculptors were as exceptionally energetic and
forcible as the Gothic builders, and worked with them in the production
of great schemes of associated sculpture which were in harmony with the
work of these very bold and skillful builders. Now, when, after the
final expulsion of the English king and his armies from France, the
suppression of the domestic feuds between hostile parties, and the
pacification of the country under Charles VII, there was a sudden
recrudescence of building and of decorative art, the half ruined
churches were repaired, those destroyed were replaced. Between 1455 and
1515 there was a revival of architectural art comparable to that of the
close of the twelfth century. There were not as many great churches
undertaken, because nearly every diocese had its cathedral, and because
the exclusively ecclesiastical point of view was no longer held by the
people of the towns or by the nobility: but this was made good by the
great increase in the number and splendor of civic and private

There is, then, a new and very magnificent Gothic art beginning about
the time of the conquest of Bordeaux and Gascony, when the English
armies were finally driven out of France, and ending only with the
complete establishment of the classical revival under Francis I.
Contemporaneous with this, or nearly so, was the very splendid art of
Spain, that curious and fantastic earliest Renaissance marked for us by
such monuments as the Casa Lonja of Valencia, the portal of the
University at Salamanca and that of the church of St. Paul at
Valladolid: and in Belgium, the epoch of the great town halls, that of
Louvain being of about 1460: that of Audenarde at the close of the epoch
now under consideration. In Germany, too, there was the beginning of a
most attractive civic architecture: and in England, although the civil
war of the Yorkists and Lancastrians postponed anything like peaceful
growth in art until near the close of the fifteenth century, there was
established, beginning with the accession of Henry VII, in 1485, the
so-called Tudor architecture which was really a continuation and
development of the curious Perpendicular Gothic art with the added
feature of fan-vaulting--the most original and perhaps also the most
splendid artistic achievement of the British Isles. Now in all this
highly organized and florid art there was a general abandonment of the
constructional principle which had been the root of the earlier Gothic,
and there was no new constructional device or system invented to take
its place. The new art is an art of convenience and splendor, but it has
no especial root in the necessities of building. The new Gothic builders
were very skillful and learned, they knew rib-vaulting by heart, and
also they understood vaulting in the solid shell: they could do
anything,--but there was no special task to which they had set
themselves and therefore they played with their buildings. Nor was there
to be introduced, during the centuries that were to follow, any new
principle of building.

In Greek building, in Roman building, in Romanesque building, and
especially in its culmination in the Gothic system, we are to look to
the way in which the buildings have been carried out. Plan, that is to
say the arrangement of parts for utility or internal effect, has much
to do with our appreciation of a building: but the structure, the actual
putting together of materials, is of still greater importance. You do
not pretend to judge of a Greek temple without being able almost to
count the stones of which it is composed or without appreciating fully
the relative part which they play. In Gothic architecture, assuredly no
person would dream of finding any enjoyment in a church without having
first secured a good working knowledge of how it came to be what it
is--how the stone roof is kept in place in the wonderful way that we see
it and what part is played by pier and flying buttress. But this
interest in the life of the structure becomes faint as we consider the
buildings of the four centuries beginning with the year 1400. We have to
consider some splendid works of art produced between that year and the
outbreak of the French Revolution, but in none of them is there any
special call for studying the theory or practice of the builders. They
may build well or they may build carelessly: that is comparatively
indifferent under the new régime, for designs are made and carried out
for their own sake; nor is the master of construction any longer the
master of design.

The reader will understand that in such general statements as these in
matters of fine art there are always many drawbacks and qualifications.
The fifteenth century had still a deal of Gothic vigor, in all the north
of Europe. There were great builders after, as before, the pivotal year
1400. This discussion will even include the names of men especially
praised as being great constructors: the point is that their system of
construction had little to do with their design. Jacopo Sansovino and
Sir Christopher Wren were great builders, but their designs were not in
any special way the better for that. Their work is marked everywhere
with the modern characteristic of being designed abstractly, and as if
intended to be carved out of a single block, and afterwards put into
terms of mortar-masonry and cut stone, because that was the only way in
which the builders of the time could proceed.

Let us consider the fan-vaulting of England. Its earliest appearance is
in the cloisters of Gloucester cathedral, built after 1375. Plate XXXIII
shows the eastern ambulatory of these cloisters. At the first glance
this vault seems to be built with ribs like that of Amiens or that of
Reims, as shown in the plates of Chapter IV; but the network of
projecting ribs in the Gloucester vault is a simulacrum only. The vault
is a solid stone shell, homogeneous, and built of large pieces. Plate
XXXIV shows the vault of the choir-aisle of Peterborough cathedral seen
as looked at from below. The joints of the stones can be made out: they
have no relation to the system of mouldings and panels. In England,
however, where the Gothic vaulting system had never been as important a
factor in art as it was on the Continent, this new and unique system of
vaulting was introduced as soon as the Wars of the Roses were over. The
three great monuments


[Illustration: PLATE XXXIII.]


[Illustration: PLATE XXXIV.]

of this “fan-vaulting” are St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the
Chapel of Henry VII, attached to Westminster Abbey in London, and chief
and noblest of all, Kings College Chapel at Cambridge. This last may
well be thought the finest interior in England; and the other examples
mentioned are inferior in charm: and yet, since the Cambridge Chapel has
been shown in photography very often, it has seemed better to consider
here less-known examples. The vault is a perfectly safe building,
especially on a small scale, but it is not rib-vaulting. When, however,
the great vault of Henry the Seventh’s Chapel at Westminster Abbey was
undertaken, about 1515, a different system had to be followed. The span
or clear width of the nave is not very great and yet the task of
supporting the astonishing stone roof, seen in Plate XXXV, was one
worthy of the shrewdest and most daring builder of the time. The stone
ribs which spring directly from the uprights with but the slightest
pretense at vaulting shafts in little round mouldings with slightly
marked capitals, are really the arches which carry the whole stone
structure of the roof. The great pendants into which these ribs
disappear, and which themselves form the basis of the fan-vaulting
system, are of course without constructional value. The roof is to be
taken as an elaborate piece of geometrical carving, ingeniously arranged
in the semblance of a constructional work; its real construction (sound
enough, intelligent enough, or the roof would not stand) masked by the
extraordinary composition in radiating lines, as if the cloister of
Gloucester Cathedral had lent its roof to be raised high into the air,
and completed on the side towards the windows by the continuing of each
circular cone in that direction. Plate XXXVI gives the admirable drawing
made by Robert Willis of the construction of this vault and it is easy
to see that while the mechanical skill shown in the work is great and
peculiar, there is nothing whatever left of the system of Gothic
vaulting, nor any dependence placed


[Illustration: PLATE XXXV.]


(From Drawing by Robert Willis.)]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVI.]

upon the numerous radiating ribs which seem to be the very framework of
the structure. They are decorative mouldings worked upon the surface of
a solid stone vault, built in a single shell which extends from one to
another of the great transverse arches which span the nave.

This design marks the culmination in England of that florid Gothic in
which early principles have a subordinate part, while newly required
elaboration and tricks of deceptive brilliancy of workmanship come to
the front and absorb the interest of the beholder. No one can remain
indifferent to the fantastic and yet enduring charm of such a roof. The
roof of Kings College Chapel has already been mentioned as of
extraordinary beauty and as forming with the vertical members which
support it and the windows between them a Gothic interior as splendid as
anything out of France: but its beauty is of a style which had already
lost its reason for being, and its appearance of constructional dignity
is in a way deceptive. The admiration we bring to such a monument is
then very different from that which we give to the interiors of the
great Gothic churches shown in the plates of Chapter IV, or to the many
other beautiful naves and choirs of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries in England, France, Spain, and Germany. At Ely and Salisbury,
Bourges and Laon, Burgos and Gerona, Cologne and Vienna, the student
enters a great church, whose vault was completed at any time between
1200 and 1400, with perfect certainty that the structure is as sincere
and obvious as it is impressive; nor does any doubt enter his mind as to
the utility of the members of the structure around him. It is only with
the beginning of the florid Gothic that this wholesome frame of mind can
no longer be retained.

Let us consider the church of Brou, standing close to the town of
Bourg-en-Bresse, in southern Burgundy. It was not begun until about
1510: that is to say, its construction is contemporaneous with the
earlier years of Henry VIII in England,


[Illustration: PLATE XXXVII.]


[Illustration: PLATE XXXVIII.]

and the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella in Spain; and, in architectural
history, it is contemporaneous with so much of the building of the
present St. Peter’s in Rome as fixed the architectural style of that
great church. Plate XXXVII is a view of the church of Brou, looking
westward to the great front whose large windows fill the nave with
dazzling daylight and make that west wall itself invisible. The Gothic
structure here is complete--as logical and exact as in the palmy days of
the thirteenth century; but the decorative treatment is different
indeed! On the right is the tomb of the Duchess Margaret of Austria, who
completed the church and set up her own and her husband’s tomb with
those of earlier princes of the line. This tomb is a structure wholly in
keeping with the church, as it was really the cause of its being. There
is nothing more interesting in such work than the completely realized
naturalistic character of the statuary. Nowhere has the art of the
sculptor been left so free as in these flamboyant Gothic buildings--so
free to develop itself while still it remains in strict accordance with
the requirements of the architectural design. The splendid church of S.
Wulfran at Abbeville, in the far north of France, helps us to see still
more plainly, this extraordinary development of architectural sculpture
because the scale is larger and the artistic power manifested
immeasurably more fit to cope with great undertakings. Plate XXXVIII
giving part of the west portals of that surprising church will show how
completely the sculptor’s art has changed since the portals of Reims and
of Chartres were undertaken. As for the architectural treatment it is
still like that of the church of Brou, Gothic with modifications. The
hold which the Gothic system of vaulting, and of building to support the
vaults, had over the French builders is visible in this return to
earlier principles as soon as the dissensions of the country allowed.

The famous Town Halls of the Netherlands have preserved for us the most
perfect, because the most unmingled, traces


[Illustration: PLATE XXXIX.]


[Illustration: PLATE XL.]

of flamboyant Gothic in civic buildings. The latest of all and the
smallest one of importance is that at Audenarde in Belgium, built
between 1525-30. It is represented in Plate XXXIX, lending itself well
to pictorial reproduction on a small scale because it depends but little
on the sculptured details. A single Madonna with the Child, above the
loggia from which the town authorities would speak to the people in the
days of municipal independence, is the only representative sculpture of
importance in all this front, below the cornice. The fantastic Gothic
tracery with conventional carving covers the blank wall spaces with a
continuous veil of slight and not unpleasant roughening; and the wall
spaces are so small that this formal kind of ornament is not
disagreeable. Small statues should have been placed in the niches; but
the building does not seem to suffer much from their absence. We can
judge of it as being what it is, a most simple and practical City Hall,
built with pointed arches, with a steep roof adorned by tower, dormer
window and pinnacle, and the whole structure covered by this thin veil
of moulded, cusped and traceried ornament, chiefly because the church
architecture of previous years had led up to that kind of design by
natural evolution, and because the spirit of the time knew of but one
architectural treatment. Therefore, without vaulting, with five stories
of rooms replacing the great hall of the church, with windows made to
open and shut for the convenience of the inhabitants of small rooms, the
building is yet closely in agreement with the church building of the
time, and is to be judged as a part of the great and long supreme style
out of which it has grown.

In the famous south porch of the cathedral at Albi, this florid Gothic
has reached its culmination. Plate XL shows the outer porch; that which,
when the cathedral was really a fortress of some importance, guarded the
first approach to the long flight of stairs, the outer perron. Nothing
is more attractive among the minor charms


[Illustration: PLATE XLI.]


[Illustration: PLATE XLII.]

of spirited old architecture than these mixtures of florid and even
fantastical design with the grave solemnity of fortress towers and the
harsh line of battlements intended for the service of war. Passing
through this gateway which is pierced in a fortress-wall merely and
leads directly to no covered apartment of any sort, the visitor mounts
some twenty-five stone steps and reaches the porch shown in Plate XLI,
but he does not enter it by the larger archway; that is the south
archway to which there is meant to be access on the level of its own
sill. On the right and partly hidden by the huge buttress-pier is the
narrower eastern doorway, to which access by the steps is had, from the
outer porch, Plate XL. The great inner porch (Plate XLI) dates from the
earliest years of the sixteenth century, and is one of the greatest
triumphs as it is one of the very latest productions of that strange art
which has abandoned the essential character and basis of Gothic
architecture without losing its derived and secondary charm, which may
be defined as the charm of picturesque variety and sharp contrast--the
very reverse, or so it seems, of the calm harmony of Greek design.



About the year 1420 A. D. there was a great change in the architectural
outlook in central Italy. The Risorgimento[44] was already in full
vigor, and this had to do especially with the study of the literature of
classical antiquity which had been going on for nearly a century. Latin
authors were studied afresh, and, for the first time in Europe Greek
authors were inquired for and discussed, though the time had not yet
come for the serious study of the language. There was also a very marked
change in the feelings, the aspirations, and the power of painters and
sculptors. Giotto had done his work and had been dead nearly a century,
and Simone Martini as long: Niccolò Pisano had been dead so long that
his influence was felt chiefly in the work of his son Giovanni who also
had died a century before our present enquiry begins: Orcagna, architect
as well as painter and sculptor, had opposed in the spirit of Italian
tradition the influence of the Northern school of Gothic art, and had
left behind him when he died, about 1380, the admirable portico in
Florence known as that of the Lancers. (See Plate XLII.) Each of these
men had done what he could to lead the direction of artists’ thought
away from the non-national Gothic style. As sculptor and as painter,
each of these artists had much to aid him in the ruins of antiquity. Had
there been only the sarcophagi and other portable relief-sculptures they
would have had material enough to begin their work in the direction of a
higher realism, a more perfect study of the human body, a more refined
casting of drapery, a more severe style of composition, than previous
centuries had allowed. The classical feeling had taken possession of the
painters and the sculptors: Paolo Ucelli, Castagno, Gentile, Masolino,
and most of all the great Masaccio, were at work: and as for sculpture,
Lorenzo Ghiberti was forty years old and Donatello thirty-four, and the
modern arts of form had taken shape. The sculptors and the painters had
been encouraged in their ambitions by the works of Greco-Roman art about
them: but monuments of ancient architecture were so much defaced, even
in the fifteenth century, that it required a very different lesson
before their significance could be learned, and this lesson, this strong
teaching, was to be given through scholarship rather than through the
observation of the artist. It was not until ancient literature had been
well studied for half a century that an enthusiastic young builder,
Fillipo Brunellesco, undertook to study the Roman ways of vaulting and
went for that purpose to Rome as the place where the greater number of
important classical buildings remained, or perhaps as the place where
stood the always famous Pantheon. (See Chapter II.) It was 1430 before
the first building was begun in which an attempt was made to use the
classical orders in wholly new work. This was the Chapel of the Pazzi,
attached to the church of Santa Croce, in Florence, and the exterior of
this is shown in Plate XLIII as far as it is possible to obtain an
intelligible photograph of its more important parts. It is a small
thing; but assuredly it is marvellous to see, because of the boldness
required on the part of its designer. If we try to imagine the habit of
mind of a man who had never seen anything built in Greco-Roman orders in
any form, or designed in the Greco-Roman spirit, who knew buildings of
classical design only as fragmentary ruins and who himself had carried
out many designs of his own in a spirit, not Gothic indeed, but
assuredly not classic, and who then, at the age of fifty-five, in a time
when life was shorter and began earlier than now, undertook and carried
out such a composition as this, there will indeed seem cause for
surprised admiration. There is a modern Italian feeling in the little
rondels which


[Illustration: PLATE XLIII.]


[Illustration: PLATE XLIV.]

adorn the frieze above the columns: but these rondels are filled with
cherubs and the whole composition may be set down to the Christian
ecclesiastic feeling. Again the fifteenth century spirit is seen in the
sculpture of the central arch, both on the archivolt[45] and the
intrados:[46] but he had no antique example of a decorated arch and as
an artist he felt the need of one. There is a mistaken use of ancient
forms in the carved flutings of the uppermost frieze, the strigil
ornament taken from some sarcophagus; but this also may be condoned in
view of the fact that sculptor as he was he dared not undertake
architectural carving of would-be classical intent. The coupled
pilasters of the upper story are hardly classic; in fact the pilaster in
any form is a rarity in external architecture, so far as we know the
buildings of Imperial Rome; and this feature was destined to be
altogether characteristic of the Neo-classic architecture: but in first
introducing it here, Fillipo must have seemed to himself to be doing
only what a Roman designer of the second century would have done had he
undertaken so small and so refined a design. We are not to forget that
it was huge monuments, the Pantheon and the Colosseum and the basilica
of Constantine, which the Italian masters had to study when there was
question of general dispositions. They had indeed something which we
have not in the as yet unspoiled interiors of certain structures on the
Palatine Hill and near the Forum: but they can hardly have had many
examples of design on a small scale--of the best architectural treatment
applied to buildings of very small size. This portico cannot exceed
thirty-five feet in total height and its length is not much greater:
there cannot have been many jewels of refinement like that left among
the ancient ruins of Italy, even in the first quarter of the fifteenth

So far, the revival in architecture was conducted along lines of common
sense, and when the scholar and humanist, Leo Battista Alberti, came to
the front as an independent designer of architectural compositions and
created the front of the Rucellai Palace, (Plate XLIV) which was begun
in 1451, he added the flat pilaster of slight relief to a well-known
type of house front. The curious thing about this introduction of the
pilasters is that no sooner was it seen than it was disliked, at least
in the front of the palazzo, with its round-arched window-heads. The
Palazzo Pitti had been begun by Brunellesco himself and without any
pilasters at all; then came his rival’s Rucellai front, and thirty years
later we are back again at the old standpoint, and the Strozzi Palace
(see Plate XLV) and the Medici Palace (afterwards Riccardi) are
buildings without these seemingly inappropriate additions. It is
surprising to see how much common sense there was among these early
lovers of the antique grandeur.

The use of the northern style, the pointed Gothic, with its ribbed vault
and its picturesque treatment, ceased altogether in Italy with the
first examples of revived classical architecture: but not on that
account did the ancient Roman way of building come into favor, nor did
the Roman methods of design succeed without a struggle. Plate XLVI shows
the courtyard of the Cancellaria in Rome, which can hardly have been
built before 1475; and contemporaneous with this are many exquisite
porticoes of similar design, porticoes in which the vaulting springs
from the capitals of the columns; and the outer ordonnance--the seemly
ordering of parts which had become to the Italians of the fifteenth
century as important, relatively, as it had been to their ancestors
eleven centuries before, very unlike the ordonnance of those ancestors.
Only on the rarest occasions did the Roman architects of the classic
period build in this way, with the arches springing from the capitals
directly. The complete Roman Order is indeed seen side by side with this
modern type. Plate XLVIII shows the interior court of the Palazzo di
Venezia in



[Illustration: PLATE XLV.]


[Illustration: PLATE XLVI.]

Rome, the date of which is always given as 1460, and here is the Roman
Order indeed! Here is the complete reproduction of that most singular
system of design according to which the engaged column, known to be a
mere ornament or with a constructional utility limited to this slight
thickening of the pier at that point, is made to look like the chief
supporting member; while the arch which really does the work is treated
as a subordinate filling of the panel between. This curious device,
invented when the Romans of the Empire wished to build freely and yet to
design as the Greeks designed, brought up again by their imitators in
the fifteenth century and never abandoned since, has so passed into our
modern life that we neither know nor see its inconsistency. A designer
who might have a strong sense for the constructional in his work would
find it impossible to reproduce this motive: on the other hand, those
many designers who are sincerely enamored of the traditions of the
schools accept it as one of the necessary features of great and
dignified classical architecture. It is curious to compare with the
examples just given that shown in Plate XLVII, in which the ground story
arcade is classical Roman, except that a very shallow pilaster is
substituted for the engaged column and in this way becomes a confessed
ornament, while there is no definite archivolt furnished the arches
between, so that the pilaster remains the single decoration of this
story; while above, the most realistic method possible has been
followed. Except for that odd little doubling of the consoles above the
larger piers, this upper story is as logical and obvious as if it had
been built in France in the thirteenth century. The lintel-course,
resting alternately upon these larger piers with their pilaster-like
treatment, and upon the small and slender columns of completely
Renaissance design, carries in its turn the roof timbers and the gutter
in front of them, and that is all. There is absolutely no pretense about
it; no affectation of being that which it is not; and the combination of
the two stories has


[Illustration: PLATE XLVII.]


[Illustration: PLATE XLVIII.]

resulted in one of the loveliest pieces of composition in Italy. The
date of this charming design, the cloister of S. Maria della Pace, may
be set as the first decade of the sixteenth century. Fashions change
even in neo-classic architecture, and when the Palazzo Borghese was
under consideration in the last years of that same great century, the
coupled column was in use as a favorite device. Long afterwards it
appeared in Paris, adorning the famous eastern front of the Louvre; but
here, as early as the days when Queen Elizabeth and her nobles were
resisting the Spanish Armada, the coupling of the columns, almost
unknown in antiquity, and never a device of the Rinascimento, finds
itself in complete favor in that which we call the Classicismo.[47]
Indeed this portico and loggia, Plate XLIX, has little real classical
feeling about it, except the care with which the simpler Order, Tuscan
or modified Doric, is kept in the ground story, and the Ionic Order
above--the proportions of those columns being also carefully observed.
The reader will hardly ignore the coldness of the design, the absence of
flavor and freshness which marks it: the designer is so very sure of his
methods and so fixed in advance as to his intentions that there is no
longer any trace of the Rebirth left. If we cross the Alps, we shall
find in buildings of this time the Renaissance in its full glory, but
the Renaissance in France is nearly a century behind the Rinascimento in


[Illustration: PLATE XLIX.]


[Illustration: PLATE L.]



In this chapter we must consider an epoch of transition for northern
Europe. Chapter VI dealt with the time of change in Italy; but there was
only a brief era of transition there, so rapid and direct was the
change. The Italians were ready to accept an imitation of classical
architecture, in the hope that the real classical architecture would
follow. No matter how poor the imitation, how inadequate the study had
been, to the Italians it was so natural that architects should study
that which they, the Italians, had always considered the best
architecture, that they were willing to forgive mistakes. In the North
things were as different as possible. The mighty Gothic school was as
vigorous and full of energy as it had been at any time since the middle
of the thirteenth century, that is to say, since the day of its first
brilliant culmination: and every one, every mason, every carpenter,
every bishop or abbot, every noble or great officer, knew what a
building or a detail ought to be without asking the opinion of any
student of the Roman past. The North, generally, was as reluctant to
admit the importance of any such studies as the South was ready to
insist upon them. So it was that only the bodily transportation of the
court for many months from France to central Italy, and this at a time
when the Risorgimento in architecture was at its most glorious height,
could suffice to turn the nobles of the court to care for the stately
methods of design introduced by the modern students of antiquity. It was
in 1494 that Charles VIII started for Rome: for five years from that
time the nobles of his court saw much more of Italy than they did of
their own country. They came back little by little, after the accession
of Louis XII, full of the glories that they had seen. To them it was
evident that the Italian palace with its grandiose staircase, its
stately ordonnance of windows on the front, its dignity, its rather
cold reserve, was more worthy of a prince than the more homely and
natural buildings they had left behind them in France--buildings which
were of the same style and spirit as the village churches, and of the
houses even of the less wealthy citizens.

And yet there is a living proof of the difficulty which even at this
late date the classical styles had to establish themselves in France.
Plate L shows that wing of the château at Blois which was built about
1500 and which is called the wing of Louis XII. Plate LI shows the
adjoining stretch of building, that which was built about 1525 and which
is known by the name of François I. In the earlier wing shown in Plate
L, although the Italian war had been going on for years before a stone
of it was laid or cut, there are no signs of any study whatever of
classical details. The building is what it would have been had there
been no invasion of Italy by the preceding king--had no French nobleman
dreamed of bringing home Italian workmen and Italian ideas. The pointed
arch is pushed to one side and replaced by the three-centred arch and by
the lintel, but altogether from reasons of convenience, and without the
slightest thought of pleasing thereby the students of antiquity. The
high and steeply pitched roof remains, the simple and obvious
fenestration with openings put where they are needed, and only a
secondary reference to delicacies of proportion; the uneven lengths of
the quoins and _chaînes_[48] of the window jambs, the traceried parapet
and sunken panels, and even the foliated sculpture, all is of the middle
ages; nor is there anywhere a pilaster, a classical column, or the
suggestion of an entablature.

So in the building of the next reign, that of Francis I, shown in part
in Plate LI, the progress of study towards antiquity is visible. Here
there are pilasters but such as a Roman of the empire would have thought
very odd ones, and, in a way, there is an entablature between the second
and third row of windows; and so the capitals have a little touch of the
Ionic style, at least in the flat wall to the right of the great
staircase. But in every respect, in the high roof, the huge and richly
ornamented chimneys, the free treatment of the fenestration, the still
more free and easy handling of the staircase, with its ramps and
openings treated with an obvious eye to spirited effect, and with but
little care for classical gravity of proportion, all is still mediæval.
The reader will understand that the arches on the left of the staircase,
with Roman engaged columns between them and the entablature which they
carry, were an addition of the time of Gaston of Orleans, about 1640:
all this has been swept away by the restoration under Duban: for the
object of that restoration was mainly the putting of these two great
divisions of the palace into the state they were in in the reign of
Henry III, for instance, when the States General were held in one of its
great halls, namely, the one of which a small part is seen on the left
in Plate L.

The student, as he approaches either of these interesting buildings, has
to remember that the style of the earlier one, Plate L, was compelled to
make room for the newer style, as that in its turn was soon out of
fashion and was replaced by the more severely classical buildings which
are mentioned below. The evolution was not perfect, the growth was not
merely natural and inevitable, the style did not ripen, growing slowly
from point to point of development, from simpler to richer, from less to
greater pitch of complication. It was the constant influx of fresh
appeals from Italy and from Italianized travellers, sometimes nobles of
the great court, like the Constable of Montmorency, sometimes princes of
the church, like the two cardinals of Amboise, and sometimes scholars
only, humble students of Greek and Latin,


[Illustration: PLATE LI.]



[Illustration: PLATE LII.]

like Rabelais and La Boétie. The next step was taken by that very
Constable of Montmorency, who, being then at the height of his wealth
and influence in the State, began the new château of Écouen, after
1540--an early date, but the work was put into the hands of an
uncompromising classicist, Jean Bullant. Plate LII shows a part of this
château, the flank on the right hand as one enters the great court by
the chief gateway. Here the classical orders are more at home, and
although the high roof, the monumental chimneys, and the huge and
towering dormers are still of the French Renaissance proper, with but
little direct Italianate influence, it is easy to see how everywhere in
the mouldings, in the larger details, the classical feeling of the
architect has had its way. Even his dormer windows, picturesque, and, in
a way, mediæval as they are in design, have pilasters and a Doric
frieze, all approximated in their proportion to the classical standard.
As for the main wall, it only needs a glance at the portico of columns
in the middle of it, to see how the proportions of those two orders
have swayed the design from end to end. This front, except the two
dormers in the middle, which are later, is very nearly of the same date
as that building which is shown in Plate LI. But the transition to
neo-classic art is much farther advanced. The student will see in these
disciplined details, this systematic spacing and shaping, the beginning
of that tranquil and rather slow evolution which is seen again in
Chapter VIII.

The generally chronological view which we are taking of all these
changing styles, is a good help to memory, and through this, to swift
and almost instinctive comparison. It helps the student also in his
search for causes. In this way it becomes curious to note what the
English were doing at the time that the classical Renaissance was thus
safely begun in France; with Spain in the lead, Flanders (influenced by
Spain) alongside, Germany only a little behind. The English were
building the Tudor and Elizabethan country houses. Those built of
timber with filling of masonry between the timbers belong to an old
system of construction once as common in the northwestern parts of the
Continent as in England: but those of more pretension have generally
some slight invasion of forms derived from Italy mingled with the Tudor
or semi-Gothic design. Thus Wollaton Hall, of which the principal front
is shown in Plate LII, dates from a time later than Écouen, but it is a
long way from the classic feeling shown in that stately edifice. We are
not to compare it with any classical standard; we have to consider it
abstractly, to note its merits as an exterior, expressing the use of the
building and its character as a residence, and a certain abstract charm,
as of propriety, which invests it. The huge windows are a mark of the
time; they express the joy which all the more intelligent classes were
feeling at the new cheapness and accessibility of glass: and it is
noticeable how well the difficulty is met, how much more useful are the
pilasters here than when we found them in Florence. (See Chapter VI.)
The great building is not left a mere lantern: the opening up of the
walls is almost as successful as we found it in the Gothic churches.
(See Chapter IV.)

As noted above, the English cared less for vaulted roofs than did the
people of the Continent. They developed a splendid system of decorative
timbered construction, of which the finest mediæval example is the roof
of Westminster Hall. Nearly two hundred years later than that splendid
roof is the almost equally fine piece of timber work which covers
Middle-Temple Hall, Plate LIII. This Hall shows us also the finest
possible screen of Jacobean architecture. These screens were used when
the plans of buildings were simple, when the great Hall of a
country-house or a college or the building of a company of merchants
filled the whole of the pavilion devoted to it, occupying all the space
under its roof and within its four walls. To make a vestibule of
entrance for protection against the cold and against undue publicity,
the screens were built athwart one end of the interior space: and their


[Illustration: PLATE LIII.]



[Illustration: PLATE LIV.]

upper stories formed galleries of communication between the smaller
buildings to left and right. We are to consider this room then as the
meeting-room and dining-room of a great number of companions and
associates whose semi-privacy would not be invaded too seriously by the
coming and going behind the screen. So much for the fitness of the
building for its purposes: as to other considerations, the vigor of
design, both in constructive and purely decorative members, hardly needs

In Italy, the changes between 1550 and the close of the seventeenth
century are to be found generally in the way of increasing formality and
a declining sense of the beautiful and the fit. And yet throughout this
decline, there is seen the Italian feeling for composition. The
Italians, though never a great building people--never originators in
building--have always, since antiquity, known how to make fine
designs--how to work with but little detail, how to handle that little
with good effect, how to avoid solecism.

In this connection it will be well to study the Frontispiece. The great
church of San Pietro in Vaticano was begun very early in the sixteenth
century, to replace a very early basilica. Bramante (Donato d’Agnolo:
called also Donato Lazzari; d. 1514) one of the most renowned of
architects, made designs for it. He worked out the plan again and again
in many forms; and achieved so much actual success that the great piers
intended to carry the cupola and the pendentives above them were nearly
completed, and the principal apse--that of the western end (for in this
church the orientation is reversed)--was vaulted during his lifetime.
After that time there were seemingly endless delays, unceasing
controversy, never-ending changes; but the model of the cupola was
completed by Michelangelo Buonarroti, and the cupola itself carried up
as far as the top of the great drum below the rounded shell before the
death of that great artist in 1564. Michelangelo, then, must have seen
the church, in his imagination, almost exactly as it is shown in the
Frontispiece. To any one who approaches the church from the city,
crossing the bridge of Sant’ Angelo and walking up the Borgo to the
Piazza San Pietro, the aspect of the building is altogether different;
for the late additions, the unfortunate entrance-front, and the still
more unfortunate long nave, mar the effect; the first by its absolute
inferiority as a design, the second by its concealment of the cupola
which, on that side, can only be seen when you are at least a mile and a
half distant and halfway up the slopes of the Pincian Hill.

It has seemed worth while to insert this little bit of history, because
such considerations of chance and change or such balancing of the
qualities of different succeeding designs and their makers are
inevitably part of every great and costly building; such a building as
strains the resources of a nation or a church--such as takes, and must
take, years in its completion. St. Peter’s cannot be judged in a morning
nor qualified in a paragraph. There is in it the work of the masters of
the Risorgimento in its very highest flight, and there is, more visible,
the work of the artists of the Decadenza--of the better and the worse
men, of the greater and the more ignoble epochs. A building so vast and
of such prodigious variety can only be judged as a landscape might be
judged; its details taking shape only after hours of patient looking,
and that with a practiced eye.

It will generally be admitted that the church as seen in the
Frontispiece is far more attractive than it is when seen from the East;
also that the great Order of pilasters, 112 feet high, resting upon a
basement of eighteen feet, is too colossal even for the “colossal
Order”--the separate pilasters showing too much like towers of masonry
and requiring a different architectural treatment from that which they
received as mere subordinate details; that the design suffers from the
absence of the complete group of minor cupolas, of which only two out of
the four have been erected; that the great attic is too heavy even for
the lower architectural story made up of the colossal order, and this
very largely because of the dwarfing of that lower architectural story
by the windows of the actual stories within giving the lie to the chief
ordonnance, and cutting up that vast and mountainous exterior. All this
will be granted generally by most students of European architecture as a
whole rather than of one school or one epoch; and those students will
also be of one mind as to the dignity of the whole group and as to the
beauty of the cupola, drum and shell together, effective without and
extremely beautiful when seen from within. Those who regard with an
especial love the delicate architectural sculpture of the fifteenth
century will find the huge church hard and cold. Those who care for
reason and for intelligent growth of design out of building will care
for it, while admitting its lack of charm, for it is of thoroughgoing
masonry throughout, and what it appears outwardly to be that it really
is. As we get to know it we find that the colossal order and the rest
of the clumsy adornment within and without are mere excrescences, hardly
affecting the massive pile. The cupola is one of the very few in Europe
which have no wooden building-out to a metal outer shell: like the
Pantheon and Florence cathedral and the smaller dome at Constantinople,
it is of solid masonry within and without.



In rather less than a century from the beginning of the Risorgimento all
play of fancy or vivacity had gone out of the designs of the Italians.
As early as 1510 there is little left except reserve and a dignified
rejection of all exterior ornament which could be spared.

A very similar result is seen in the North as well; and here also it
comes within less than a century of the complete establishment of the
classical Renaissance in France, Germany or the Low Countries. It began
in the North, this classical renascence, about 1510, and was well
established by 1525. Accordingly, as early as 1600, the independent and
vigorous life has gone out and it becomes an architecture of the
decadence. Now, it is not to be assumed that decadence is the same thing
as decay. Decadence in fine art is a term applied to the slow, and
often very interesting, decline from the highest pitch of enthusiastic
work and of combined energy and good taste. Defined in this way, there
was a decadence of Roman imperial art from the reign of Trajan; or, as
some would have it, from the reign of Vespasian. And yet what noble
things were built even more than two hundred years after the later of
those two dates! So there was a decadence in Gothic art dating from the
middle of the thirteenth century; for everywhere there was a replacing
of the energy of the new style by formality, by regularity, by the
constant repetition of closely similar parts: and the pride of the
skillful builder carried it over the refined taste of the artist. And
still we have to remember with admiration and amazement such wonderful
conceptions as the church of Saint Urbain at Troyes (begun after 1265),
such masterly combinations as those of Saint Ouen at Rouen (begun 1320),
and all the finer buildings of the florid Gothic in France--of the
perpendicular architecture with fan vaulting in England. All these are
works of the decadence, and what is needed is the substitution for the
term we are using of another term which shall not sound so much like our
English word, “decay.”

In like manner, there is decadence in the South from 1510, or
thereabout,--in the North from a point of time eighty-five years later,
and this decadence continued until the whole ancient world of
traditional art was destroyed in the stormy time of the French
Revolution. Since then, there has been neither decadence nor growth, but
a bewildering series of experiments, none of which have as yet brought
the world into a state of wholesome and natural progress in the arts of
decorative design, that is to say, of design based upon structure and
utility. Decadence in the South, then, lasted for two centuries and
three quarters: in the North it lasted nearly two centuries. It stands
to reason that during such long spaces of time there were ups and downs,
periods of more rapid decline, periods of attempted restoration, of
almost a new birth. Thus, there are fantastical and baroque designs as
early as 1620 in the North, and much earlier in the South: whereas, in
either case, fine, pure, stately buildings were erected at a much later
period; still, the general tendency is from the more simple and more
reasonable to the more extravagant; and this from the natural desire of
the designers to try something new and not to be fettered too closely by
the traditions of neo-classic design. There was, of course, a reaction
from that greater freedom, and the boldness of the men of 1720 and
thereabout was offensive to their successors who established the latest
neo-classic with its Roman colonnades and a general absence of other
details of interest.

Some part of this twofold tendency--of this revolution and
counter-revolution--this drag towards an unseemly lack of dignity and
quietness, with the inevitable pull backward to a more tranquil method
of design--is to be seen in the church of the Theatiner monks, at
Munich. The local authorities, which seem to be trustworthy, say that
this church, which is dedicated to Saint Cajetan, was built in 1675,
except the front and the towers, which are later--the date usually given
being a century after the completion of the church, though this can only
apply to the upper stories. As long as the low buildings, the
three-story houses with not very lofty roofs, remained unaltered, the
view of this church from the Ludwigstrasse (as in Plate LIV) or from the
Square in front of the theatre, looking over the houses between, is one
of the most impressive to be had anywhere when a single building is
under consideration. The proportion between the dome and the two towers,
and secondarily, between the towers and the front of the clearstory
raised high between them, and between this, with its long nave roof, and
the cupola, again, is uniformly beautiful. In our American cities we can
only secure such a result by building at great, and generally
impossible, cost, on a free open plot of ground: but for a town or a
neighborhood in which the height of the houses could be guaranteed for
a term of years, no better type of metropolitan church can be imagined.
You cannot get away from its towering masses; from far and from near
they are alike impressive. Whatever reluctance there has been to admit
and insist upon the beauty of this church is caused by the inferiority
of its details. Let us, therefore, consider those details. In the first
place, for the cupola itself and the drum which supports it there would
be a general acceptance of it as sufficiently of the graver style to
which it belongs, that which the Germans call the Hoch-Renaissance,
except for some part of the copper lantern at the top which smacks of a
less pure style. But when the towers are considered, then there would be
a general rejection of that treatment of the pilasters which causes them
to appear as members, only, of a continuous group of vertical mouldings,
emphasizing the corners, but also out of keeping as parts of a
recognized neo-classic style.

Such pilasters as these do not come into any Order which you can
reproduce from the pages of Vignola; nor would the curious entablatures
forming three horizontal string-courses on each tower, and two on the
church front, proper, be accepted as forming part of any systematized
and intelligible order of architecture. The liking and disliking of such
details is very largely a matter of fashion; and the difficulty is with
all such questions concerning the mere adornment of architecture without
regard to its structural essence--that when a style, a detail, a method
of adornment, is out of fashion, it often seems offensive to those who
are working in the fashion; even as the most elegant coat or the most
elegant ball-dress of 1840 is a monster of ugliness to-day and would be
thought to disfigure the elegant man or woman who might endue it. There
is a large building in New York, the butt of endless ridicule, which is
nevertheless extremely sensible in its dispositions, well arranged, well
lighted, well imagined for its purposes. But the unlucky adoption of a
style of design not unlike this of the Theatiner towers has prevented
it from receiving even a moment’s serious consideration. By 1920 it may
be respected, and even admired as the premature attempt to introduce a
style then popular. The view to take of such a design is, then, that
which we would take of a work of art whose epoch we did not pretend to
know. It is a good rule for collectors of expensive works of art of the
portable kind, _objêts de la haute curiosité_, not to worry about dates
or makers unless the things belong to a well-known and much studied
class. If it concerns prints from engravings by Aldegrever and Paul
Potter, or signed enamels by the sixteenth century masters, or by
Petitot, it may be worth while to be sure of your authenticity; but it
is also delightful to decide to buy the Chinese porcelain, the unsigned
fifteenth century drawing, the Italian peasant pottery of the eighteenth
century, and before, without other voucher than the beauty of the piece.
He is the safest in his collecting who holds firmly to his own sense of
what is lovely and intelligent in decorative art, recognizing this mark
of authenticity as at least equal to signatures and perfectly
ascertained dates of fabrication. So to a certain extent with works of
architecture. It will never do to dismiss an attractive, and perhaps
even an impressive, building with the judgment easy to be gathered from
the guidebooks, that this is of a late date, or a corrupt style, or was
designed by a master of the baroque in art. That very word baroque means
originally an irregular pearl, a pearl so remote in shape from the
perfect sphere that no respectable jeweller would set it in an earring
or pierce it for the necklace of a millionaire’s wife; but the artistic
jewellers of the old times would take those irregular pearls and put
heads and tails of gold with touches of enamel to them, producing
abnormal birds or indescribable monsters, most admirable for decorative
jewelry. If there were an opportunity in this brief inquiry to consider
interior decoration, we should find that the domestic buildings going up
in France, even while these towers were in the way of completion in
southern Germany, were admirably designed within. The beginnings of the
Rocaille[49] are of this time; and the Rocaille system of design is as
attractive in its best examples, in the delicate goldsmith’s work, ivory
work, and varnish painting, of 1750, as any courtly and magnificent
system of adornment ever used among peoples of European descent. Of
course the European designer has a heavy touch if you compare him to a
Japanese artist of an equivalent rank: of course an uninterrupted
development in a certain line of decoration at last leads to bad taste
and violence. The point is the simple one that even those styles which
are considered fair game for ridicule and are hardly treated with grave
consideration are charming in their more perfect monuments. It is only
the rational styles based on structure, which in architecture have any
uniform greatness. It is only a real style like the Egyptian of 3000 B.
C., or the Grecian-Doric, or, so far as we can judge, the Roman of
Augustus, or the Gothic of Central France, or any derived and
self-conscious styles of the neo-classic Renaissance, such as are based
upon a new system of planning like that of the sixteenth century
chateaux, or a new system of roof building like the fan vaulted
interiors of England (three or four of them only); it is these alone
which are always fine and great; all other styles have not only their
ups and downs, their rise and fall, they have also their normal and,
therefore, respectable, but moreover their abnormal and fantastic

Plate LV shows the front of a well-known building in Turin, and here
architectural detail has been so handled that it is indeed a
disfigurement. If the reader will look past the astonishing window
casings and the really hideous filling of panels like those in the
pilasters of the basement, he will see a well understood front. There
is a high architectural basement, containing the basement story proper
and a mezzanine; a grand story with the order, containing three stories
of the interior, the pilasters well proportioned and well placed; and
above this, a high entablature planned for the whole front with a story
of rooms in it, and another story of rooms showing in little dormer
windows above the cornice. Here are six “flats” of rooms, all abundantly
lighted, and yet the front has been laid out in such a way that it has
all the elements of a very imposing and stately structure. Even the
singular soft rounding, with a plan made up of several curves, of the
projecting central mass which includes the porch of entrance, is capable
of perfectly dignified, and even stately, treatment. The appearance
above of the great rotunda which holds the staircase, completes the
composition of this central mass, and leaves one regretting that it
might not be given to some modern designer of good taste, and a hard
hand on the vagaries of his assistants, to work out the problem of this
curious central mass, so manifold and so capable of unity. But, now, if
one leaves for a moment that abstract way of regarding the whole front
and allows those window casings to secure his attention, why then all is
lost, of course: one cannot be expected to stand very long in front of
such a building; it is a monster, but it is that merely because of the
exceptionally ugly and wholly unreasonable gimcracks that are stuck all
over it. If you should take the Hermes of Olympia and dress him like
those “fantasticals” at an old-fashioned Paris masked ball, you would no
doubt produce a very unsightly object and it would take the eye of an
expert in human form, a sculptor, namely, to discover the beauty of the
figure within.

That Turin building is of about 1690; see now what the reaction brought
forth and what gravity of design was possible to the artists of thirty
years later in the same city! There seems no doubt that this front of
the Palazzo Madama (see Plate LV) was built by Filippo Juvara about
1715. To look at it is a rest indeed after the enormities of the
Palazzo Carignano: and yet even here one finds himself wishing that the
wretched device of carved trophies of arms, as the single motive of the
exterior sculpture, were absent here. Sculptured ornament was beyond the
strength of the eighteenth century: when they tried to introduce it,
then the result was a failure. It is with relief that one looks at the
front, Plate LIV, of the Ducal Palace at Genoa, which front seems to
have been built by Cantoni, a well-known reformer in architectural
style. The tendency has been through the whole century away from
variety, away from the unexpected and the surprising, away from all
external ornamentation, whether in color or in sculpture: the wheel has
come full circle and there is nothing now entertaining or attractive in
the details of the front, except only the neo-classic column with its
accompanying entablature. The columns may be arranged in a continuous
row or they may be coupled, as in the case before us, or they



[Illustration: PLATE LV.]



[Illustration: PLATE LVI.]

may be grouped in other ways with a nearer and a more distant placing,
especially when they are “engaged” or partly built into the solid wall
behind them. But however placed and however grouped, they, the columns,
are the one decorative feature, the entablature acting in reality as
their restraining limit, the needed link between them and the necessary
structure. This building is of 1777. Ten years later the clock of the
centuries marked that moment of time when architectural out-of-door
growth was to stop and architectural transplanting and forcing were to
begin. By that time in Paris, the centre of the architectural world for
the eighteenth century, they had accumulated a number of very worthy
buildings. The famous École Militaire, south of the Champs de Mars, was
built about 1760, and the most accessible front of its principal mass
has no artistic charm except that obtainable from the even succession of
large windows, the well drilled, the exact, the highly organized lay out
of a large front. The two admirable buildings on the north side of the
Place de la Concorde were built in 1765-70 and these contain the whole
style, for they have the great free colonnades of the centre, the
engaged columns of the wings, the high basement without any adornment
beyond that feeble breaking-up of the surface which we call Rustication,
and they have for all external sculpture the feeblest and most
insufficient little carved frames of what look like round mirrors hung
here and there. These are the two typical buildings of the time and they
are typical too of the whole tendency of neo-classic architecture
throughout the decadence, a tendency away from variety, away from
movement and charm, towards gravity and dignity, but also towards cold
uniformity, with nothing to break it except the semi-Roman Order, more
or less well understood, more or less graceful in itself but having no
real mission to fulfill and therefore not forming part of the organized
and perfect whole which we call style in architecture. It has one
fitness, however, for a hurried headlong modern civilization, a
civilization too busy with its physical development to spend much
thought or much energy on the working of pure intelligence. This
advantage is that it is so easy to manage. It is very easy to handle for
those who can handle it at all. There is needed to make it sightly that
good taste which controls the fancy and the memory, and prevents the
designer from even recalling those well-known details and architectural
effects which will not suit his purpose. Given such good taste, and a
certain moderate acquaintance with the books, and designs as good as the
best can be made with great speed and with perfect satisfaction to all
concerned: nor does the designer need to go beyond the walls of his
draughting-room to decide upon all things which are of first-rate
importance to his conception.



So far as architectural history is known to us there has never been
since the beginning of civilization a condition of art at all resembling
that which surrounded the people of the nineteenth century. There have
been epochs of deliberate revival, not only the famous one of the
fifteenth century in Italy, and the sixteenth century in the North,
which we call especially the New Birth (see definitions, Risorgimento,
etc.), but also some as important as that one, to the people concerned.
There will be always such attempts in every epoch of self-conscious
civilization. Under Hadrian, in the second century, A. D., there was a
deliberate attempt at reviving the Grecian purity of style.
Egyptologists know that traces are plainly to be seen of similar
movements 2000 and 3000 B. C. In Byzantine art there has been much
conscious restoring of archaic forms and methods. In France, in the
reign of Louis XVI, there was a deliberate recall of the world of art
back from the too loose and irregular, too fantastical and violent style
of the mid-eighteenth century, to a graver and, as it were, purified
taste. One peculiarity, however, marks all of these reasoned-out and
deliberate, rather than spontaneous, movements: they succeeded, and the
ideas embodied in them soon dominated the situation. There have been
some abortive attempts at reform: but those which we cite as rebirths
succeeded altogether. All the tendencies of the day, good, and not so
good, went out towards the revival, and the change was accepted by the
whole world of designers. Nor is it hard to see sufficient reasons for
this uniform tendency, for this simple development of a new style,
however introduced: the designers of the time and their more instructed
critics, the connoisseurs or dilettanti of the day, knew nothing very
positive nor had even any special idea of any style of the past. There
were no photographs and scarcely any books of historical record--no such
books at all, indeed, if by historical record is meant an accurate
account of the architecture of earlier times. Wealthy and influential
men of the later years of Louis XV might have been divided into those
who rather liked the fantastical style of the rococo and those who
contemned it and would fain have had something more refined. The purists
saw in the seventeenth century reproductions of Roman orders a finer
taste than their own. That much help from the past they may have got,
but the work they did in the course of their reformatory movements shows
that they were pursuing a perfectly natural evolution of art with no
more conscious guidance from their theories than that which led them
towards more and more severe lines--more and more slender parts--more
and more constructional methods of design. And as this movement was so
natural and easy we never think of it as a rebirth: by that term we mean
something much more radical.

When, after the close of the Napoleonic wars, men began to breathe free
again in Europe, it became evident to those who observed the tendencies
of their own time that there was no restraint of tradition left--at
least no restraint which was recognized by more than a small group of
men, while another group of men equally intelligent, perhaps, rejected
those traditions and set up their own standard. King Ludwig of Bavaria
(reigned 1825-48) had studied and travelled before his accession to the
crown; he had purchased and brought to Munich the Greek sculptures from
the temple at Ægina; he had seen the buildings of the Italian
Renaissance and admired them; he was a comparatively unprejudiced
dilettante with a liking for many styles, a sympathy for many forms of
artistic thought. He and his architects started in his capital, Munich,
the Ludwigskirche (Church of St. Louis) only a dozen years after
Napoleon’s final dethronement, and the royal Library a few years
later--each of these being in a kind of Southern Romanesque style
without columned porticoes or other attempts at classicism. The
Allerheiligenhofkirche (Court Church of All Saints) is of the same
character of design with a somewhat more frank observance of Italian
models. The Old Pinakothek was begun in 1826, contemporaneously with the
Ludwigskirche, or nearly so, but this building is a careful study of the
Italian Renaissance. The southern front of the Royal Palace, the
Königsbau, is again of the same year as to its commencement, and this
also is studied from Florentine fifteenth century palazzi. The north
front of the Post Office, directly opposite the Königsbau, has a
Florentine loggia of thirteen arches--fifteenth century style, not badly
carried out. The Glyptothek is the earliest of all: it was begun before
Ludwig’s accession, and almost immediately after the restoration of
peace to Europe, and the outside of this was meant to be as Greek as it
was possible for a modern designer to make a building. Within, it had
indeed to resort to the non-Greek device of vaulting, to cover its large
halls: but it was still of Grecian taste in its details. The Valhalla,
by which term the King designated a Temple of Honor built on a noble
hill by the Danube, above Ratisbon, is of the same epoch and of the same
deliberately Hellenic character of design; a really fine exterior,
studied closely from a Doric Temple of the best period. Another such
temple of honor stands at the southeastern edge of the new town of
Munich, the Ruhmeshalle (Hall of Fame), begun in 1843, and as completely
Greek as the two others. The basilica of St. Boniface was begun in 1835
and is a most faithful study of the later basilicas of the pure Latin
style, that is to say, a basilica of the sixth or the seventh century.
To complete the circle of the styles from the fifth century B. C. to the
sixteenth century A. D., and to cover all the important styles which
mark the circuit of those two thousand years, there was built in the Au
suburb a Gothic church as completely in the fourteenth century spirit
as the intelligence of the builder would enable him to make it. Roman
imperial art was not represented, for the scholars had hardly begun to
differentiate it from the pure Greek: and for some such reason, probably
because the Germans have always been inclined to use the term
“Byzantine” for all round-arched mediæval work, the King’s advisers made
no attempt at a piece of rugged northern Romanesque: but all the other
epoch-making styles of Europe were included in the enlarged capital

All of these imitations are as careful as possible. If in any detail the
style imitated has been abandoned, even for a moment, it has been with a
feeling of “needs must”; no pains have been spared to keep close to the
ancient spirit. The interior is what is fine in the basilica of St.
Boniface and it is a favorable way of regarding this epoch of copying to
take this building as our example, because the construction and the
system of design are so very simple, so easy to grasp and to imitate,
that nothing more than a delicate care for details and the power of
reproducing them is needed. The mosaics and the paintings of the
interior are indeed not equal to those of a great Roman basilica, either
in its original state or as it has come down to us; the painters and
designers of the time were not competent to reproduce those; a critical
judge would say that the carving of the marble capitals lacked something
of initiative--something of energy; the general effect of color of the
interior, though far from unpleasing, though even agreeable to the
visitor, may be thought much less noble than that of a fine Italian
church. And yet this is one of the most attractive interiors in Europe,
and one may visit it many times during a season and like it better all
the time. It is to be heartily enjoyed, and yet when there is a question
of its artistic merit as a design, the favorable comment is much less
unreserved. For what have we to admire? Only sympathy in observing, and
fidelity in reproducing, monuments of the past. Do we feel as we speak
the word “only” that such sympathy and such fidelity are so rare that
they deserve very hearty recognition? That may be, and yet the praise
given to the architectural effort may be not great. It is not by
sympathy and fidelity alone that great designs are made.

Let it be admitted that if the architects of all Europe had been so
delighted by this, or by some similar undertaking, as to begin to work,
altogether, in the Latin style--to build all their churches in that
style and to study the problem of designing civic buildings, and
dwellings also, to correspond--a new style and a worthy one might have
originated. Let that be admitted: the failure of the nineteenth century
has been in the absence of any such unanimity. No great body of
architects has ever agreed on what was to be done. There has always been
a competing school, a rival school, sometimes several of them, armed
with reasoning and enthusiasm as strong as that of the school in
question and prepared to beat down its feeble growth.

Or let us take the Glyptothek, a composition as completely Greek as the
feeling and the perception of the day enabled the architect to make it;
are we to take the shafts without flutings, which seem to be called for,
as so many violations of Greek verity? In all Grecian art, moreover,
there are no round-headed niches, that is to say, niches covered by
semi-domes, because there are no arches therein. There are no
frontispieces made up of an entablature, a pediment and two pilasters,
used for mere ornament and surrounding a round-topped opening. There are
no entablatures constructed with flat arches which replace, or, as in
this case, relieve a flat lintel composing the epistyle. None of those
things are Greek: and yet it is clear that Klenze meant to be as Greek
as Ictinos. Let us compare with that front the façade which immediately
confronts it from the south side of the broad Königsplatz, the
Exhibition building, finished about 1840. (See Plate LVI.) Here is a
building which is more purely classic than the Glyptothek in almost
every respect, Roman rather than Greek in its proportions, in the free
use of the Corinthian column, very elaborately worked, in the free use
of pilasters with sculptured capitals, in the employment of carved
modillions: and yet it is more truly Greek in its mouldings, which are
studied with extreme care, and in the absence from it of such violations
of archæological accuracy as those already mentioned with regard to the
Glyptothek. It would be thought by many to be a finer design, attracting
less attention merely because not the home of a very important
collection of classical sculpture, and a mere shelter for temporary
exhibitions of modern art.

The Propylæa (see Plate LVI), also at Munich, is the most nearly Greek
of all, for even its use of details not known to us in ancient work, is
very careful and marked by perfect feeling for the style. It is,
however, only a gateway of honor: and in that capacity it has been easy
to treat. The designer, Klenze, deserves credit for not having copied
some one of the ancient gateways more closely, so as to avoid

It is impossible to escape from this method of criticism. You cannot
judge of these nineteenth century buildings without asking whether they
are or are not faithful copies of some structure of the sixth century,
A. D., or the fifth century B. C., or of whatever epoch of the past.
Those who deprecate the unfavorable character of the general criticism
which is based upon regret for this ceaseless copying, tell us
constantly that the artists of the great times copied also, that they
were always studying the buildings already erected and trying to improve
upon them. That is true; but the buildings they copied, with
alterations, with improvements, with enlargements, with refinements,
with natural striving for growth, were the buildings of their own time,
called forth by the same necessity which controlled them, fitted for the
same community, based upon the same well understood method of
construction. The familiar comparison and lesson drawn from the modern
art of the shipbuilder (for instance) illustrates this. The skilled
shipbuilder whittles out his model with an eye on the past and on the
present, and he proposes to modify the lines of his own latest partial
success or of his rival’s endeavor in such a way as to give his new hull
more speed, more carrying capacity, more stiffness--whatever may be his
immediate object. He never goes back to the ships of the time of Queen
Elizabeth with a deliberate intention of building an Elizabethan hull
and sparring it and rigging it in an Elizabethan way. No matter now
about the causes of this difference; the fact remains, and we are face
to face with this curious condition of things, that whereas every
important change in building, in the past, has been accompanied by a
change in the methods of design, so that even in the times of avowed
revival there was seen no attempt to stick to the old way of designing
while the new method of construction was adopted; now in the nineteenth
century and in what we have seen of the twentieth century our great new
systems of building have flourished and developed themselves without
effect as yet upon our methods of design. We still put a simulacrum of a
stone wall with stone window casings and pediments and cornices and
great springing arches outside of a structure of thin, light,
scientifically combined, carefully calculated metal--the appearance of a
solid tower supported by a reality of slender props and bars.

The mediæval styles, that is to say, Romanesque in all its forms and
Gothic of all epochs, have been copied in the nineteenth century with an
accuracy even greater than that used for the classical and neo-classic
styles. In all such reproductions the standard of criticism must be the
same. Plate LVII shows the great church at Doncaster in Yorkshire, a
building erected with singular care and forethought and at great
expense, with the deliberate purpose of imitating what is often called
the “decorated” style of English Gothic. The architect, and his
principal adviser, a gentlemen who had given much thought and pains to
the study of English Gothic, agreed that the perpendicular style, of
the years from 1350 on, had been allowed too great an influence in the
Gothic revival of the time (about 1860) and chose the work of the first
half of the fourteenth century as their prototype. To this style they
were faithful. It is nearly true to say that an imitation so close as to
be deceptive would have been the greatest success, in the opinion of the
designer and his employers. The main exception to this statement--the
main difference avowedly preserved between the modern and an accurate
transfer or cast of an ancient building is to be found in the sculpture
of the capitals in which a modern realistic study of natural plant forms
is evident; and in like manner the design of the font in the near
foreground which is not like any old English font, but is an abstract
design showing much study of old English metal work, silver altar
vessels and the like. Plate LVII also shows the exterior of this
interesting building which is very large for an English parish church,
the tower being one hundred and seventy



[Illustration: PLATE LVII.]


[Illustration: PLATE LVIII.]

feet high and almost exactly equal to the total length.

As there is no architectural style peculiar to the nineteenth century in
any of the lands occupied by Europeans, it is inevitable that the
greater number of modern buildings should be more or less completely
suggested by the fine art of the time when there was a style of interest
and of individual character. Very few are the nineteenth century
buildings which are absolutely without such suggestion. At the same time
there are a certain number in which only a general study of ancient art
is visible, and it is of these that our tenth chapter treats.



The work of Henry Hobson Richardson may be named as a noticeably
intelligent attempt to regain the lost excellence of an ancient style
without copying it closely. This appreciation has to do only with his
buildings of the years from 1875 to a short time before his early death
in 1886. He studied deliberately the Romanesque architecture of the
middle and south of France, and as the elaborate sculpture of human
subject, so common in the churches of that style, would not have been
practicable in America in the nineteenth century, he developed, with the
assistance of certain American sculptors, a semi-Byzantine system of
foliated design which adapted itself well to his arched porticoes and
his elaborate interior compositions of woodwork. Other lands than France
were visited and their treasures put to use: thus, the central tower
and the general grouping of the masses in his celebrated design, Trinity
Church in Boston, Massachusetts (see Plate LVIII), are evidently studied
from a Spanish original. This is well shown in the illustration named,
which shows the church as Richardson left it. The tower on the extreme
left has been replaced by the accessories of the new west porch.

Now in such a design as this we have to separate that which is frankly
copied and that which is of independent design. Thus, the inlay of
different colored stones, so marked in the apse, and in a simpler way in
the transept, on the left of the picture, is taken directly from
churches of Auvergne. The question, then, would be whether, the idea of
a mosaic on a large scale being once adopted, the design furnished is a
good one for the place. Such designs are almost common property: they
float around the world and every designer has his mind stored with them:
the question is not of originality in combining a star with some
zigzags, but rather of providing a pattern of just the right size and
character to fill the given spot, as well as to have an independent
beauty of its own. The great central tower, studied probably from the
cathedral of Salamanca in Spain, is evidently open to question as to
whether it is sufficiently massive in appearance. There is to many
persons an appearance as if the stone work were composed of too many and
too slight colonnettes, lintels, arches, and the rest, involving the use
of a great number of small stones, laid up not in a massive wall but in
a slighter and more exposed fashion, not a skeleton, but suggesting the
idea of something very open to the weather. The Spanish originals have
somewhat the same effect but it is less marked in the old buildings and
with them it is not combined with that mosaic of different colored
stones which, although the practiced builder knows it to be superficial
merely, yet gives to most spectators a feeling as if the wall were not
solidly laid up. The building is certainly faulty in lacking the
appearance of ponderosity. Seen through a haze or by dim light it is a
noble composition, the forms exquisitely balanced, the central tower
perfectly well marking its place and its structure. It is not until the
building is seen in a brilliant light and its detailed effect begins to
tell upon its general masses that any exception can be taken to its
merit as a general central tower. That the lack of solidity in
appearance may be the more clearly understood, it is well to compare
with the church itself the porch which was built long after Richardson’s
death, though avowedly according to his general design. This porch,
though a small structure, has a massiveness in all its parts, which the
church has been said to lack. The sculpture is also especially
noteworthy as being full of that mediæval feeling which forced even the
carefully modelled human figure, with elaborate drapery, into the
service of the architectural design; while still the modelling has that
anatomical truth which modern school-taught generations require.

The conclusion is, with regard to this church, that we are free to judge
of it as an independent design once we have cleared away some few doubts
of archæological accuracy: once it is established that the designer has
felt at liberty to take a general form of his central tower from
impressions received in Spain, while many of the details are taken
almost bodily from the heart of France, the rest is to be accepted, as
also the adaptation and working-in of the borrowed details, as a design
well adapted to the requirements of the building, to its place in an
open and uncrowded site where the building stands free on every side,
and to its material, a sandstone, not very fine nor very hard. It is one
of the best designs in the picturesque fashion which modern times have

A similar piece of bold adaptation to an ancient style is seen in Truro
Cathedral (Plate LIX) in Cornwall, begun about 1880. No person who has
lived among English cathedrals could ever mistake this building for a
design of the Middle Ages; and yet


[Illustration: PLATE LIX.]


[Illustration: PLATE LX.]

its character as a Gothic structure is perfectly maintained. It is to be
judged, then, as an ancient Gothic building is to be judged. One asks
whether the system of vaulting with ribs, and a filling or shell of
light stone work between the ribs, is supported and resisted in the best
and most economical way by the system of buttressing, and whether this
system of buttressing without, and the system of vaulting within, are
equally expressed in the artistic design. The fact that the modern
building cannot be allowed the cost of much architectural sculpture in
its exterior, though unfortunate, cannot be urged as a serious defect,
in view of the fact that the English mediæval churches have but little
sculpture as compared with those of the Continent, their adornment being
concentrated more generally upon the West front, or parts of the

If now we try to call to mind some building inspired, on the whole, by
classical taste and the classical spirit of design, but showing also
independence and a strictly modern conception, we shall find that the
search is not a rewarding one. There are few modern buildings in which
the classic orders are used at all, or in which classic details have
been carefully studied, without what seems to be a strict adherence to
recognized types of classic or neo-classic general design. The Greek who
was building oblong temples, very strictly limited to a given number of
columns and a given slope of roof, might still group small shrines as
they are grouped in the Erectheum; and he, the Greek designer, generally
careful of his Orders, may substitute for his columns a row of draped
statues with perfect success. The designers of imperial Rome, dealing
with dwelling houses, all on one floor, with columned courtyards and
covered porticoes surrounding gardens open to the sky, were still
capable of building on the side of a cliff and in the Imperial City,
too, and producing a house three stories high on one side and one story
on the other--handling their semi-Greek and semi-Italian details with
perfect ease and nearly perfect grace, and investing the whole with a
consistent scheme of ornament. The modern designer in the classical
styles will not do that very often. In the first place, he will have
studied only the grandiose buildings of antiquity, the great temples and
porticoes with their minutely accurate symmetry of plan: and in the
second place, he will have conceived of the modern use of classic forms
as being, on the whole, a simple thing, easy to the naturally gifted
designer. The one thing which the modern workman in classic styles
expects to get from his building is refinement of proportion, reaching
on the one side towards dignity and on the other side towards grace.
Now, to one who is naturally strong in such things, the obtaining of
these beauties of proportion is an easy thing: it is achieved or it is
not achieved in the course of a very few hours of preparation and study
of the problem. It is hardly conceivable that a modern adept in the
classical system of design should think much of detail except as to the
accurate copying of sculpture and of the curvature of mouldings from
ancient examples.

In mediæval styles, we moderns study the small town house, the humble
parish church, with its squat tower and plain windows without tracery,
as well as the great cathedral, typical of the style and embodying its
full character. Of classical antiquity there were no such things to
study, during the years when the modern feeling for classical art took
shape; nor have there been until the present day many opportunities for
judging of the smaller and simpler designs. And therefore we take from
classical art mainly its colonnades, its stately use of the three great
Orders of Greco-Roman antiquity, with a very few of their slighter
modifications. Those buildings of the great days of the empire in which
no columnar adornment existed, we have hardly learned to respect--we
still look upon them as exceptions hardly worthy of the attention of one
who would study the great arts of antiquity. Now it appears to one who
will study the past closely and fearlessly, that the Romans themselves
were a little overawed by their system of columnar architecture, and
were slow to abandon or even modify it during the long centuries of its
constant application to the diverse needs of the old Mediterranean
world. Still more are we moderns overawed by the columns and
entablatures, so that we dare not play with them: and yet, how can you
hope to design if you are afraid to play with the members of your
composition? The taste of the American communities, our great cities
within the borders of the United States, is markedly for that kind of
gravity which we associate with the classical styles--with the few large
openings, the horizontal cornices, the low-pitched or invisible roofs,
the smooth white, or light colored, surfaces of unbroken simplicity, the
carefully studied classical colonnade. The taste of similar communities
in England is as evidently based upon a long familiarity with the
picturesque forms of the Middle Ages and of the Elizabethan and earlier
Jacobean styles, that is to say, of so much of the Renaissance as
reached England before the foundation, by Inigo Jones, of the Italian
semi-classical style in that country. Similar to this is the feeling in
Germany: for it is most surprising to Americans living, as they have
done since 1880, in a time of almost complete agreement among the
architects as to the unique and solitary importance of Italian
neo-classic methods of design, to see the numerous German publications
teem with studies of sixteenth century half timbered fronts, of
seventeenth century stepped gables and turrets crowned with
“extinguishers,” and of eighteenth century florid modifications of the
rococo style. In France there is an orthodox style, a recognized style:
and yet it is in France that the most seriously considered departures
from that style have been made.

The difficulty of expressing in words this complication of architectural
thought is very great. The English designers are in one sense the most
original of all, for they follow less closely in the general
arrangements of the mass, or of the street front, the example set by
former ages. In Germany, such indifference to what the past has taught
is more seldom seen, and when seen, it takes, most generally, an ugly
form of unrestrained fancy, guided neither by tradition nor by strong
over-ruling good taste. In France, good taste is rather the rule. As in
literature, so in all departments of fine art, the fault of the French
work is in the desire not to be rash in the way of innovation, and good
taste is always ready to instruct its votaries to follow the path marked
out by the men who have just passed by in the human procession and who
had needs to supply quite like those of the present day.

It will be well to rehearse these conclusions in the immediate presence
of special examples. Plate LX is an apartment house in that region of
West London which is just northwest of Kensington Gardens. It is not a
costly building in proportion to its size; it is not adorned by
sculpture except for an unimportant piece above the large arches of the
entrance front and slight adornment of the frontons; it is built of
brick with stone moderately used for the purpose of color-contrast, and
its architectural ordonnance is limited to the marshalling of a certain
number of pilasters supporting the simulacra of entablatures and the
reality of very obvious pediments--these, and a tower well enough shaped
and placed at the angle. And the point that the student should make at
once in looking upon such a building is that it is so decidedly removed
from the world of obvious copying. Nothing is copied except a detail
here and there. One has the pleasant conviction that not a square yard
of space has been sacrificed nor a square foot of possible or desirable
window space abandoned for the purpose of archæological verity or the
repute of having built something beautiful in a recognized style. So in
the case of the building shown in Plate LXI, that planned for the West
Ham Institute and built about 1895 in that suburban village which lies
just north of “Woolwich Reach” on the Thames. The design is as
independent of


[Illustration: PLATE LXI.]


[Illustration: PLATE LXII.]

any past style as in the simpler and more commercial building. There is
much sculpture, rather carefully designed and cut with great brilliancy.
There is a rather free use of pseudo-classic columns and colonnettes;
there is a daring combination of larger architectural details, such as
gables of cut stone with rounded outline, capped with bold drip moulds,
pinnacle-towers wrought into niches with statuary, a porch of entrance
with a very boldly projecting hood, well handled, with caryatid figures,
a staircase tower with a cut stone attic of great merit, and ventilation
towers combined with the roof structure and differentiated finely from
the masonry-built forms near them. It is a costly building, a refined
and thought-out design; and yet one cannot say that there is anything of
the past in it more than this--that it is based upon the spirit and
taste of the Renaissance rather than upon that of the classic epoch, or
of the mediæval epoch, early or late, or of the Post-Renaissance epoch,
beginning in the North about 1650. This relative independence is what
the foreigner sees most strongly in modern English architectural

Now, in German lands, there is a little less freshness of artistic
thought; the artist is always in the presence of the great past, in such
a way that even his deviations from its spirit are self-conscious in a
way; and this feeling it is which drives the daring designer--the man
who would be original and who asks us to sympathize with his manly
desire to build for the nineteenth century what the nineteenth century
needs, not what a former century made for itself--to very strange
vagaries. Plate LXII is one of the best of these dashing attempts at
novelty. Every part of the wall-surface is occupied with painting in
neutral colors, which painting is in some cases reinforced by reliefs in
plaster. It is not a polychromatic design, but a design in light and
shade wrought into emblematic, armorial, purely decorative, and even
representative forms. It is noticeable that the realized painting of
human figures and accessories, so marked a feature of the ground story,
with its splendid King Gambrinus at the left, and the Lady Hopfen at the
right, stops with the sill-course, and that the rest of the painting is
much more abstract and conventional. Apart from the painting, the design
is somewhat commonplace in its main masses; though that statement is
unfair as it stands, because it was not intended to be seen without the
painting, while the details, as of the window jambs and mullions, are
very carefully wrought and very interesting. It is only above the eaves
that the design becomes commonplace, and even there it is redeemed by
the very bold fire wall on each side broken into gable-steps of unusual

In this inquiry we are taking smaller buildings as more likely to
express the general thought of the community than are those exceptional
monuments which form landmarks in history. We are compelled, of course,
to select the designs of men who are famous, however unknown they may
have been when the buildings we select were put into shape: but even
the work of such renowned architects as Charles Garnier shows and
explains the general trend of thought, especially when seen in their
earlier tasks. Thus, the building shown in Plate LXIII, the Club-house
of the Cercle de la Librairie, which was completed about 1880, shows the
exceptional merit (exceptional in modern cities) of the Paris fronts,
together with their comparative lack of significance, at least in
detail. The entrance on the corner and the round tower forming a
vestibule below and an admirable card-room above, are characteristic of
Paris streets. Straight from this doorway, and, therefore, diagonally to
both the fronts, goes a passageway into a staircase which forms another
round tower-like structure. In the upper story, the large room at the
left is a billiard room, that on the right, a salon of reception and
entertainment, the “conversation room” of the club. All this is
perfectly well expressed in the external design: and that credit--the
credit of that sort of realism always restrained and always


[Illustration: PLATE LXIII.]


[Illustration: PLATE LXIV.]

guided by good taste, is to be given without reserve to the French
designers of the long years beginning with 1860. Good taste is visible
everywhere, not in an exceptional measure in this building; on the
contrary, it is to be thought by a careful student of the street fronts
of Paris that there is a relative clumsiness which other and less
noticeable buildings have escaped: but there is everywhere the visible
presence of thought--of matured study of the problem, and that is a
thing so rare in the modern architecture of other lands that we are
never brought face to face with the French instances of its active
presence without a new thrill of admiration.

In the United States, some of the most thoughtful buildings have been
those inspired by the semi-Spanish style of the provinces torn from
Mexico in 1848; the missions of California and New Mexico. Inspired by
those blessings of a temperate region, a steady warmth, a brilliant sun,
they are most assuredly: and yet there is originality, so much as to
cause the student almost to forget the origin of their design in such
work of the not very famous past. Such buildings are the hotels built in
Saint Augustine about 1885--the Ponce de Leon, in which the architecture
of old Spain has been studied more carefully, the Alcazar, where the
simpler appliances of Western America are more in evidence.

One of the best things in modern original design is the building shown
in plate LXIV. Its treatment is picturesque rather than severe; and a
sufficient reason for that treatment is the recognized difficulty of
applying the classically simple method of design to one of the modern
high and narrow buildings of many stories and of many, similar,
window-openings. The walls of the side, on the by-street and on the
court, are diminished by the adoption of a roof of abnormally steep
pitch with two stories in it. The two gable-walls are broken, as a
result of the same device, by the beginning of the slope or step inward
of the gable itself. In this way the use of a great many windows all of
the same size is made practicable; the slight differences in design, as
where one story has a row of round arches, and the like, are perhaps
even more marked than was essential; the monotonous repetition of these
openings is prevented from hurting the design by the very
picturesqueness of that design, which overcomes their monotony. The
treatment of the two gables themselves is a remarkable achievement,
securing, as it does, a vivacity which we associate with the Renaissance
of the North: while it is still restrained in such a way as not to clash
with the extreme refinement of the porch of entrance, which in its
general design, as in its sculptured details, has the delicate and
subtile quality of the art of Italy a hundred years before.

This is, it appears, the way in which modern men might design; and this
is the way in which they might succeed if they were able, more often, to
give personal thought to the matter of design. It is obvious, however,
that this giving of personal thought is exactly the most difficult
thing which can be proposed to a twentieth century architect. He must do
everything else first. He must see that the heating apparatus, the
ventilating apparatus, the electrical lighting, the ventilating system,
the cooking appliances, which will come in somewhere, the plumbing,
which will come in everywhere, and the endless modifications of
drainage--he must see that all that is faultless. The owner, or owners,
really care about those things--they do not care about the design. Then
he must see to it that no time is lost. From the moment when the
previous tenants move out and tearing down of the old structure has
begun there must not elapse too many weeks before the new tenants may
move in. Ten months may be allowed; when every consideration demands two
years and a half, or thirty months. And throughout the few weeks before
and after the beginning of that ten-months’ space, the architect
employed will have so very little opportunity to “retire into
himself”--to retire at least into his study and lock the door and think
out that design, taken in its artistic sense, that the hours so given
are hardly to be reckoned with, at all. Uninterrupted thought is not for
the busy architect. The altogether likely sequence of things will be
this--that the design is sketched in a drawing-room car and turned over
next day to a high-paid subordinate to work out according to the
well-known office scheme.

Such traditional ways of doing have proved good in the great days of
art: but the nineteenth century was not, and the twentieth century is
not as yet certain to be a great day of art in the decorative or
artistic sense. It becomes the writer on architecture to treat those two
adjectives as synonymous, for in architecture they are synonymous; and
the decorative, or in other words, the architectural treatment of a
building has grown to be so foreign to our habits, and, from the nature
of the case, so difficult (as urged in the last paragraph), that nothing
but long-continued and enthusiastic thinking over the scheme will
conduce to fine designing.

It is for these reasons that the building of the New York Life Insurance
Company at St. Paul has been shown in our final plate. There seems to be
evidence there of much and of well applied artistic thought. If a
similar instance be sought in the older homes of art, and among more
costly structures, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of London, now
approaching completion in the district south of Buckingham Palace, may
be chosen as such an instance. A few such buildings there are; a few
works of art which show that the power of thoughtfully working out a
complex design is not wholly lost to the world.



Abbeville: Church of S. Wulfrau, 126

Aisle (def.), (note) 54

Ægina: Sculptures from Greek Temple, at, 179

Aix-la-Chapelle: Cathedral, 85

Albi: Cathedral, 128

Amiens: Cathedral, Exterior, 102

Amiens: Cathedral, Interior, 96

Angoulême: Cathedral, 83

Anthemion (def.), (note) 37

Apse (def.), (note) 76

Arch, discharging, 57

Arch, flat, replacing lintel, 57

Architrave (def.), (note) 20

Archivolt (def.), (note) 135

Artists of the classical revival, (ff) 131

Athens: Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, 40

Athens: Church of St. Theodore, 86, 90

Athens: Erectheum, 35, 39, 198

Athens: Parthenon, 14

Athens: Restored model of Parthenon, 26

Athens: Sculptures of Parthenon, 28

Athens: “Portico of the Maidens”, 37

Athens: Temple of Victory, 39

Athens: Theseion, 14

Audenarde: Town Hall, 127

Augustan Roman Art, 47


Barbaric art not unintelligent, 84

Baroque, 167

Barrel-vault (def.), (note) 54

Basilica (def.), (note), 71, 74, 76

Bay (def.), (note) 77

Bell (def.), (note) 23

Benevento: Arch of Trajan, 48, 57

Berlin (Prussia) decorative house front, 206

Blois: Château, Wing of Louis XII, 145

Blois: Château (Wing of François I.), 145

Boston (Mass.): Trinity Church, 193
  Porch of that Church, 195

Bourg-en-Bresse: Ch. of Brou, 124

Bourges: Cathedral, 31

Budroun (Halicarnassos): Tomb of Mausolus, 58

Buttress (def.), (note) 82

Byzantine (def.), (note) 69

Byzantine Architecture, 69, 87


Cambridge: King’s College Chapel, 121

Centralbau (centred building), (ff) 84

Chaîne (def.), (note) 146

Chartres: Cathedral, 105

Chevet (def.), (note) 103

Choir (def.), (note) 32

Choragic (def.), (note) 40

Church Architecture predominant, (ff) 70

Classical Architecture, only the more stately buildings
  studied in modern times, 197-199

Classical Revival in Italy, 131
  the same affecting Architecture, (ff) 133, (ff) 143

Classicismo (def.), (note) 141

Clearstory (def.), (note) 74

Cologne: Ch. Gross St. Martin, 77, 79

Cologne: Church of The Holy Apostles, 79

Cologne: Church of St. Gereon, 85

Color, external decoration in, (ff) 193

Columnar architecture in Roman interiors, 53
  overawes designer, 200

Constantinople: Church of Santa Sophia, Exterior, 88

Constantinople: Church of Santa Sophia, Interior, 88

Constantinople: The Hebdomon palace, 70

Constructional origin of design less marked after 1400 A.D., 118

Corinthian (def.), (note) 39

Coupled columns, 141, 172

Cupola (def.), (note) 51

Curvature in Greek horizontal lines, 21


Decadence in Art; its true nature, (ff) 159

Decorative Art (def.), (note) 13

Design as suggested by structure and purpose, 31, 34, 187-188

Detail, inferior, injuring a good mass, 164, 169, 171

Doncaster (Yorkshire), Church of, 189

Doric (def.), (note) 14

Doric Order (def.), (note) 19


Écouen: Château, 149

Egg & Dart (def.), (note) 37

Eleusis: The Telesterion, 33

English building in the 16th century, 150

Entablature (def.), (note) 18

Entasis, 22

Epidaurus: Temple of Asclepios (restored façade), 26

Epidaurus: The Tholos, 39

European Art founded upon Roman, 55


Fan vaulting, 116, 120

Fashion governs architecture except in the great
  original styles, 165, (ff) 168

Florence: Baptistery, 85

Florence: Campanile, 111

Florence: Cathedral, 96

Florence: Church of San Miniato al Monte, 74

Florence: Chapel of the Pazzi (Ch. of Santa Croce), 134

Florence: Loggia dei Lanzi, 132

Florence: Palazzo dei Medici, 137

Florence: Palazzo Pitti, 137

Florence: Palazzo Rucellai, 137

Florence: Palazzo Strozzi, 137

Florid Gothic a new style, 115
  its nature and epoch, (ff) 116
  its origin not constructional, 117
  in civic buildings, 127-145

Flying Buttress (def.), (note) 82

Frieze (def.), (note) 20


Gelnhausen: Palace of Barbarossa, 70

Genoa: Ducal Palace, 172

Gerasa (Jerash), Syria, 60

Gloucester: Cloisters of Cathedral, 120

Gothic Architecture, 70

Gothic Architecture analysis and dates as in Amiens Cathedral, (ff) 98

Gothic Architecture constructional in origin, 93, 99, 101, 103, 117, 118, 124

Gothic Architecture Details as in Reims Cathedral, (ff) 101

Gothic Architecture: English contrasted with French, 108

Gothic Architecture: Exterior design as exemplified in Chartres, 105

Gothic Architecture: Geographical limitations of, 95-96

Gothic Architecture not strong in Italy, 96

Gothic large churches generally incomplete, 107

Gothic Vaulting, 93, 94

Greek buildings: Their simple plan, 32, 56

Greek buildings: Their simple structure, 33, 56

Greek buildings: Modern opinion of, when first discovered and later, 44-45

Groin-vaulting (def.), (note) 51


Hall, the, of a Country House, or College, 152

Hellenic civilization preserved by the Roman Empire, 67-68

Hexastyle (def.), (note) 18

Hypæthral (def.), (note) 42


Imitative 19th century work--accurate, (ff) 182
  --inaccurate, (ff) 182

In antis (def.), (note) 62

Independent judgment of art, how formed, 11-12

Inlay of Marble, 76

Intercolumniation, why varied, 17-18, 21

Interior, architecture of the, originates with the Romans, 52

Intrados (def.), (note) 135

Ionic (def.), (note) 35


London: Middle-Temple Hall, 152

London: Recent Apartment House, 203

London: Westminster Abbey, Chapel of Henry VII, 121

London: Westminster Hall (roof), 152

Louvain: Town Hall, 116

Lucca: Church of San Frediano, 77


Masonry, Roman, 50

Masonry with dry joints, ch. I, II, 56

Masonry with mortar, 50

Mayence (Mainz): Cathedral, 82

Metope (def.), (note) 17

Milan: Church of Sant’ Ambrogio, 77

Modern Design:
  English the freest, 202
  French the most tasteful, 203, 208
  German marked by innovations, 206
  How marked by thought in U. S., 209, 210
  How marked by thought in England, 214
  why made difficult, 212

Modern Taste in the U. S.--in England, 201
  in Germany, in France, 202

Mohammedan Architecture, 70

Monreale: Cathedral, 77, 96

Mosaic, 76

Munich: Allerheiligenhofkirche, 180

Munich: Auer-Kirche (Mariahilf-Kirche), 181

Munich: Basilica of St. Boniface, 181

Munich: Church of All Saints (see Ch. of Allerheiligenhofkirche).

Munich: Church of St. Boniface (Basilica), 181

Munich: Church of St. Louis, (see Ludwigskirche).

Munich: Church of The Theatiner Monks, 162

Munich: Exhibition Building, 185

Munich: Glyptothek, 180-185

Munich: Königsbau, southern front, 180

Munich: Ludwigskirche, 179

Munich: Pinakothek, the old, 180

Munich: Post Office, north front, 180

Munich: Propylæa, 186

Munich: Royal Library, 180

Munich: Royal Palace (see Königsbau).

Munich: Ruhmeshalle, 181


Naos (def.), (note) 18

Nave (def.), (note) 53

Neo-classic (def.), (note) 32

Neo-classic architecture begins to decline in less than a century, 159


Octastyle (def.), (note) 18

Olympia: Temple of Zeus, 26, 29

Orders of columnar architecture, the Roman use of them, 56

Orvieto: Cathedral, 94


Pæstum: Temple, 14, 24, 29

Painting of Greek buildings, 24

Palazzo, the, in Florence, 137

Palazzo, the, in Rome, 138

Palermo: Cathedral, 77

Pandrosion (def.), (note) 38

Parenzo (in Istria): Basilica (8th century), 77

Paris: Buildings on Place de la Concorde, 174

Paris: Cathedral, 31

Paris: Cercle de la Librairie, 208

Paris; École Militaire, 173

Paris: Louvre (east front), 141

Parma: Baptistery, 85

Parthenon (Athens), 14, 26, 28

Pavia: Church of San Michaele, 77

Pediment (def.), (note) 28

Peterborough: Vault of Choir-aisle of Cathedral, 120

Pilaster in ancient and modern works, 135, 137

Pisa: Baptistery, 85

Poitiers: Tower of St. Radegonde, 83

Poitiers: Church of Notre Dame la Grande, 83

Portico of the Maidens (Caryatides), 36-37

Priene (in Asia Minor): Temple of Athena Polias, 43

Proportion varied in Greek art, 19-20, 29-30
  Cathedral, (ff) 102, 105

Pteroma (def.), (note) 17, 27

Purpose of the artist, the important thing, 16


Ravenna: Baptistery, 84

Ravenna: Basilica of St. Apollinare Nuovo, 77

Ravenna: Basilica of St. Apollinare in Classe, 77

Refinements of Design (see Curvature, Intercolumniation, Slope).

Reims: Cathedral, 31, 101

Renaissance in Italy; (see Classical Revival, Risorgimento).

Renaissance in the North, cause and dates, 144

Renaissance in art at first not classic, (ff) 145

Renaissance introduced gradually, 148

Renaissance classical at Écouen, 149

Respond (def.), (note) 75

Revivals in architecture numerous, 176

Revivals, those only which succeed are notable, 177

Revivals, those of the 19th century did not succeed, 179, 184

Risorgimento (def.), (note) 46

Rocaille (def.), (note) 168

Roman Art of the Empire, 47

Roman changes in Greek design, 56

Roman Empire, intellectual influence, 66-67

Roman Empire, its divergent influence East and West, 66-68

Romanesque (def.), (note) 69

Romanesque Architecture, (ff) 69, 74, 77

Roman Order, the, 139

Rome: Altar of Peace (Arar Pacis), 66

Rome: Basilica of Maxentius, 53

Rome: Basilica of Septa Julia, 53

Rome: Church of S. Maria Maggiore, 72

Rome: Church of S. Maria della Pace Cloister, 141

Rome: Church of San Pietro in Vaticano, 154

Rome: Church (round) San Stefano, 85

Rome: Column of Trajan, 63

Rome: Courtyard of the Cancellaria, 138

Rome: Double Temple of Venus and Rome, 53

Rome: Forum of Nerva, Enclosing Wall, 60

Rome: Forum of Trajan, 47

Rome: Forum Transitorium of Nerva, 60

Rome: Liberian Basilica, (see St. Maria Maggiore).

Rome: Palatine Hill, Dwellings on, 53

Rome: Palazzo Borghese, 141

Rome: Palazzo di Venezia, interior court, 138

Rome: Temple of Antoninus Pius, 48

Rome: Temple of Augustus (Ruined), 49

Rome: Temple of Castor, 48, 49

Rome: Temple of Mars, 49

Rome: Temple of Mars the Avenger (in the Forum of Augustus), 48

Rome: Temple of Minerva, 60

Rome: Temple of Saturn, 48

Rome: Temple of Trajan, 62

Rome: Temple of Vespasian, 48

Rome: Temple of Vespasian, part of Entablature, 57

Rome: Pantheon, 47, 49, 50, 51, 133

Rome: Ulpian Basilica, 53, 62

Ruins not to be judged as works of art, 14, 15

Russia: (Caucasus) Monastery of Gelati near Kutais, 90


Saint Augustine (Florida) Hotel Alcazar, 210

Saint Augustine (Florida) Hotel Ponce de Leon, 210

St. Paul (Minnesota), Building of New York Life Insurance Co., 214

Salamanca: University portal, 116

Salisbury: Cathedral, 108

Saracen: (see Mohammedan).

Screen, the, of a hall, 152-3

Sculpture, architectural, in Doric buildings, 36

Sculpture, architectural, in Ionic buildings, 36

Sculpture, architectural, in Roman buildings, 57

Sculpture, architectural, feeble in 18th century,
  (see Romanesque Gothic), 172

Sculpture, architectural, foliated, 19th century, 192

Sculpture, architectural, of the figure, 19th century, 195

Siena: Cathedral, 96

Slope of Grecian columns, 22

Standard of Excellence hard to fix, 30-31

Stylobate (def.), (note) 21

Sunion: Temple of Athena, 29


Tetrapylon (four fronted gateway), 59

Thermæ (def.), (note) 112

Tholos (def.), (note) 39

Tournai: Cathedral, 78

Tournai: Tower-group, 82

Trabeated (def.) (note), 64

Triforium (def.) (note), 97

Troyes: Church of Saint Urbain, 160

Truro, (Cornwall, England) Cathedral, 196

Turin: Palazzo Carignano, 169

Turin: Palazzo Madama, 171


Valencia: Casa Lonja, 116

Valhalla, The, (near Ratisbon, Bavaria), 181

Valladolid: Portal of Church of St. Paul, 116

Vaulting, 50-51

Vaulting, Roman, 50

Venice: Church of San Marco, 92

Verona: Church of San Zeno, 77


West Ham (Essex), England, West Ham Institute, 204

Windsor Castle, St. George’s Chapel, 121

Wollaton Hall, England, 151

Workmanship of Greek buildings, 24

       *       *       *       *       *

Pictorial Composition and the Critical Judgment of Pictures


_A Companion Volume to “How to Judge Architecture.”_

Quarto, Handsomely Illustrated with 80 Reproductions. Net $1.50.

Postage 14 Cents.

The book develops the processes of pictorial construction, setting forth
the principles which, as a necessary foundation, underlie the work of
the artist.

     R. SWAIN GIFFORD, N.A., Director of the Cooper Union Art School,
     New York

“ ‘Fills the bill’ admirably and must be of great use not only to
beginners, but to professional artists. I shall use it and refer to it.”


“Not only charmingly written, but remarkably able and instructive. I
have read nothing on the subject that compares with it in clear
explanations of qualities in painting that are always most mysterious to
the layman and frequently so to the professional artist.”




Mr. Sturgis is acknowledged the leading critic of art and architecture
in the country. In this book he has sketched the history of modern
opinion of architecture. Aided by plentiful illustrations from the early
Grecian temples, and passing through the great Cathedrals to the modern
business blocks, he has shown the influences which have brought about
the various styles and deduced simple rules for the architectural
judgment of these buildings. No attempt is made to set up absolute
standards, but the reader is enabled to form bases for his own opinion,
and to learn the fundamentals of good and bad in buildings. A reading of
the book will give even the common buildings which are passed every day
a new interest and a new meaning. This book is a companion to “Pictorial
Composition and the Critical Judgment of Pictures,]” by H. R. Poore.

       *       *       *       *       *


(Corrected in etext)

     Page 14, for “Campagna,” read Campania.

     Plate II, for “Southeast,” read Northeast.

     Page 36, line 6, for “plan given here shows,” read views given here

     Page 70, last line, for “make,” read makes.

     Page 89, middle, for “North, west,” read Northwest.

     Page 95, middle, for “Mercy,” read Mersey.

     Page 102, middle, delete comma after “them”; insert comma after

     Page 120, the plate opposite this page should be lettered XXXIII.

     Page 145, middle, for “was called,” read is called.

     Page 172, middle, for “LV,” read LIV.

     Plate LV, upper figure, for “Madama,” read Carignano.

     Plate LVI, for “Gebaude,” read Gebäude.

     Page 173, 5th line from bottom, delete comma.

     Page 193, middle, for “left of the church,” read left of the

     Page 206, middle, for “--what,” read not what.


[1] Decorative Art: Fine art which is applied to the beautifying of that
which has primarily a useful purpose. Architecture is the most complex
of the decorative arts, and for this reason, and because it is also
carried out on a large scale with great possibilities of noble effects,
the most important of the decorative arts.

[2] Doric: Belonging to the Dorians, a Greek people. The term, Doric
style, was first applied to the very few Roman buildings and parts of
buildings of which the basement story of the Theatre of Marcellus and
that of the Colosseum at Rome, are good instances. When the Grecian
buildings of Athens, Girgenti and Pæstum were studied, the term was
extended to them; and these give us what we call Grecian-Doric.

[3] Metope: The word means originally the space between two triglyphs
(see definition of entablature); but is generally applied in English
writing to the slab or block of stone which fills this space in the
Doric temples known to us. It is evident that the outer surface of this
block was sometimes painted, and it is known that it was sometimes
carved in low relief, as at Selinuntum, of which temple sculptured slabs
are preserved in the museum at Palermo; while those of the Theseion and
the Parthenon were in very high relief.

[4] Pteroma: The side or flank, hence, in modern usage, the space
covered by the roof of a portico, and therefore including the columns
and intercolumniations, although in general usage it applies only to the
passage between the columns and the wall behind.

[5] Naos: Called also cella: the enclosed part of a Greek temple, that
which has solid walls and may be divided into two or three rooms: also
sometimes the larger of these subdivisions as distinguished from the
Opisthodomos, or Treasury.

[6] Octastyle: Having eight columns, when said of a portico; having
eight columns in front, when said of a temple or similar building.

[7] Hexastyle: Having six columns; as in the case of octastyle for

[8] Entablature: In a piece of classic architecture, the three
horizontal members above the columns when these three are taken together
as forming one part of the order. The entablature consists of architrave
or epistyle, immediately above the columns, the frieze, and the cornice,
each of which may have several decorative subdivisions. Thus in the
Ionic Order the epistyle may be divided horizontally into three surfaces
projecting slightly more and more from the bottom upward. The frieze in
the Doric style (Roman or Greek) is divided by triglyphs into metopes;
and in the other orders has often sculptured ornament. The varieties of
form in the cornice are very considerable. A triglyph is one of those
blocks cut with vertical channels, which seem to rest upon the epistyle
and to support the cornice. The metopes are the spaces between; and also
the non-structural slabs or blocks which fill those spaces. In a very
few instances the entablature is irregular in some respect; thus the
portico of Caryatides, Pl. VI, may be said to have no frieze, but
epistyle and cornice only. In Roman work the whole entablature is
occasionally arched up, bent to a curve, as in a temple at Baalbec, and
as in a palace at Spalato.

[9] Doric Order: In Greek and Roman architecture, and in those
neo-classic styles founded upon antiquity, the Order is the unit of
design and consists of one complete column (shaft and capital, with
base, if any, and pedestal, if any) and so much of the entablature as
may be sufficient to show its whole character. The Grecian Doric Order
alluded to in the text, is peculiar in the shape and number of the
channels of the shaft, in the echinos-shaped bell of the capital, in the
square and unadorned abacus, in having no base, in having the frieze
broken up into short lengths by the triglyphs, and in the minor details
depending upon the above.

[10] Architrave:

[11] Frieze: for these terms see footnote Entablature above.

[12] Stylobate: The flat, continuous surface upon which the columns
stand, as in a colonnade. When the whole flat surface forming the floor
of the passageway (see Pteroma) is considered, the word stereobate is

[13] Bell: That part of the capital of a column which is between the
necking below and the abacus above. The term is applied also to the
imagined general form of the same member apart from the ornamentation;
thus the bell of a Corinthian capital is to be traced beneath the
acanthus leaves.

[14] Pediment: The triangular wall at the end of the low pitched roof,
in a Greek or Roman building. The sunken panel alone, above the
horizontal cornice and beneath the raking cornice, is called the
Tympanum, or, in Greek temples, often the Aetos (ἀετός) or Eagle.

[15] Neo-classic: Studied from Greco-Roman monuments; said of a work of
art or of a style. The neo-classic architecture of Europe begins about
1420 in Italy. (See Risorgimento and Renaissance.)

[16] Choir: Properly, the space in a church reserved for the clergy and
their assistants, especially the singers: hence, by extension I--The
enclosure itself which is sometimes very massive and elaborate, a high
stone wall sculptured or otherwise richly adorned, and

II--That part of a cruciform church which contains this enclosure,
namely, the fourth arm of the cross, that one which extends generally
towards the east from the meeting of the nave and transept.

[17] Ionic: Belonging to the Ionian Greeks; Ionic style, that
characterized by capitals adorned with volutes, shafts much more slender
than in the Doric style and decorated by flutes instead of channels;
these flutes having a nearly semicircular section and being separated by
narrow fillets or flat bands instead of meeting at the sharp arris.

[18] Anthemion: Any floral ornament arranged like a bouquet; an abstract
decoration of sprigs or branches rising from a common point and
separating into a broader head. The Greek anthemion, often called
palmette, or honeysuckle ornament, seems to be composed of slender
leaves; whereas the anthemion in Persian and other Asiatic art is often
a group of flowers, perhaps alternating with leaves.

[19] Egg-and-Dart: An ornament consisting of an alternation of flattened
balls or bosses with sharp pointed members like arrow heads. The minor
details vary much; but it is usual for the flattened eggs to be
surrounded by a deep cutting or a raised rim, and for the arrow points
to be alternated with these.

[20] Pandrosion: The shrine temple or enclosure of the nymph Pandrosos,
a daughter of Cecrops. It is known that this was situated close to the
temple of Erectheus, and therefore the portico of Caryatides on the
south flank of the Erectheion has been called by that name.

[21] Corinthian: Derived from Corinth; Corinthian Order, the latest to
be introduced of the three Grecian Orders and the one taken over most
readily by the Romans. The details are very like those of the Ionic
Order except the capital which is the first instance in antiquity of a
generally concave bell invested thickly with leafage.

[22] Tholos: A circular building; used in archæological writing to
describe one whose purpose is not certainly known, as the Tholos of
Atreus at Mykenai, generally thought to be a tomb; that near Epidauros
thought by some to be the spring-house, or the sacred well of Asklepios.

[23] Choragic: Having to do with the Choragos, the manager of the sacred
chorus in Athens. This was an honorary post involving much expense and
labor to the occupant.

[24] Hypæthral: Open to the sky; Hypæthral opening, a space uncovered,
part of a Greek temple, perhaps entirely unroofed, perhaps only having a
roof partly opened in sky-lights. Hypæthral Theory: any one of several
opinions as to the possible lighting of the interior of a temple from
above, either through the roof, or by the partial omission of a roof so
as to form a central open court.

[25] Risorgimento: In Italian, a new arising; this is the common term
for the revival of classical learning in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, coupled with the advance in expressional painting and
sculpture of the same epoch, and developing later in the revival of
classical design in architecture. The term Rinascimento (rebirth) is
used in the same sense, but is apparently rather a reflection of the
prevailing French word Renaissance. It would be well if English writers
would employ the term Risorgimento for the Italian movement of the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and Renaissance for the French
movement of the sixteenth century with its equivalents in northern
Europe. As for Spain, in which the classical revival followed very
closely upon that of Italy, the term Renacimiento seems to correspond
very closely to the Italian Risorgimento and the French Renaissance.

[26] Cupola: A cup-shaped roof, either built of solid masonry and so
really a vault, or a mere decorative shell.

[27] Groin-vaulting: Vaulting in which one barrel vault meets and
intersects another, so that the projecting solid angles, called groins,
are formed by the meeting of the hollow rounded surfaces.

[28] Nave: In a building with three or more parallel subdivisions,
forming together one great hall, like a large Gothic church, that part
which rises highest, and has generally windows above the roofs of the
lower aisles.

[29] Aisle: See the definition of nave.

[30] Barrel-vault: A vault whose cross-section is everywhere the same as
if part of a tube.

[31] In antis: Latin, between the antæ. The anta is the end of a wall
treated so as to be an almost independent member, like a square pillar
in which the wall ends. The portico made by two of these set opposite
one another and with columns between, is said to have two columns or
four columns in antis.

[32] Trabeated: Built with beams or lintels (said of a building, or part
of a building) or characterized by the use of beams and lintels to the
exclusion of arches (said of a building or a style). Thus the Pantheon
at Rome though entirely vaulted in its main structure has a trabeated
portico, and the screens in front of the great niches within (see Pl.
IX) are of trabeated construction as far as they go--that is they
consist of an entablature supported on columns. The term “arcuated” is
used in direct contradistinction from trabeated and denotes that which
is constructed on the principle of the arch or that which is
characterized by the use.

[33] Romanesque: Literally, semi-Roman, or would-be Roman; applied to
any or all styles of art, especially architecture, which were developed
directly from the Roman imperial art of the years before 450. In
ordinary usage, the basilica style of Italy and even the similar art in
the northwest of Europe are called Latin, and the style built up in
eastern Europe with Constantinople for its centre, is called Byzantine;
but Romanesque may be considered a term covering all these, and as
including, too, all European art until the complete establishment of the
Gothic art in the northwest, and in the East until the establishment of
Saracenic or Mohammedan art about the ninth century, A. D.

[34] Byzantine: The art of the Eastern Empire centred in Byzantium or
Constantinople. Modern developments of this art, without radical
changes, exist in Moldavia and the Caucasian regions, and its influence
is seen in the native architecture of Russia.

[35] Basilica: Originally, under the Roman imperial system, a building
for varied business, public and private, having often a courtroom
connected with the open hall: hence, under the earlier Christian
control, a church built like most of the earlier basilicas, that is to
say, with a nave and two or more aisles. A special feature of the
Christian basilicas was the transept, a high and open hall built across
the upper end of the nave and aisles: and beyond this (that is, farther
from the entrance doorways) was often the apse, a generally semicircular

[36] Clearstory: That part of the nave which rises above the aisle
roofs, and has windows to light the interior.

[37] Respond: The pilaster, or engaged column, or pier of any shape,
which forms the end of an arcade or colonnade marking the place of
meeting with the enclosing wall.

[38] Apse: A projecting member of a building, usually forming an
enlargement or addition to a large hall, as a Roman basilica, or
especially, a Church. The plan is usually a semicircle, or a semicircle
with an added parallelogram to lengthen it, or a polygon approaching a
half circle.

[39] Bay: One division of a long building whose successive parts are
alike, or very similar.

[40] Buttress: A mass of material, usually masonry, intended to resist,
by its dead weight, the thrust of an arch, or vault, or, more rarely,
the spread of a framed roof or the like.

Flying buttress: A sloping bar of stone, supported on an arched
structure which serves to carry the thrust of an arch or vault across a
space to the buttress beyond.

[41] Triforium: Properly, a gallery more or less open, built in the wall
opposite the aisle roof, and therefore above the great arches of the
nave and choir and below the clearstory windows. Often, a gallery in the
wall below the clearstory but less accurately placed.

[42] Chevet: In mediæval and especially Gothic architecture the rounded
end of the choir including the aisles which pass around the sanctuary
and the chapels outside of the aisles. The shape may be curvilinear or
polygonal. The original term in French is applied to square east ends
also; but this is hardly accepted in the English usage.

[43] Thermæ: In Latin an establishment for warm baths: a plural noun
used for a single building or group of buildings. The Thermæ of
Caracalla mentioned in this chapter, occupied all the space within a
bounding wall which formed a square of 1,100 feet (about twenty-eight
acres) and within this were gardens, running grounds and the like, and
among these the massive central building itself, 400 × 750 feet, twice
the space occupied by the capitol at Washington, which is also
immeasurably less massive and permanent in structure.

[44] Risorgimento: See note, p. 46.

[45] Archivolt: the outer vertical face of an arch; and, where there are
several concentric arches, the general outer face of the whole group;
that face which seems to form part of the wall in which the arch is

[46] Intrados: The under or concave face of the solid structure of an

[47] Classicismo: The epoch of close study of antiquity, 1520 to 1570.

[48] Chaîne: In French, a system usually vertical of larger and more
perfectly dressed stones in a wall of lighter or rougher material. Thus
the quoins at the corner of a building and the alternately long and
short stones at a window opening or door opening are chaînes, but the
same device may be used to stiffen a long and unbroken wall.

[49] Rocaille Decoration: That which had originally a rough imitation of
natural rock forms mingled with shells; a fashion passing rapidly into
scroll-work in relief, giving very peculiar shapes to panels, doors,
window-casements and even to details of masonry. The rococo style is
partly based upon rocaille decoration.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

the cloister of S. Maria delle Pace=> the cloister of S. Maria della
Pace {pg 141}

(see Ch. of Allerheiligenkirche=> (see Ch. of Allerheiligenhofkirche {pg

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "How to judge architecture - a popular guide to the appreciation of buildings" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.