"I believe architecture must be the beginning of arts, and that the others must follow her in their time and order; and I think the prosperity of our schools of painting and sculpture, in which no one will deny the life, though many the health, depends upon that of our architecture." — John Ruskin.
In August of 1848, John Ruskin and his new bride visited northern France, for the gifted young critic wished to write a work that would examine the essence of Gothic architecture. By the following April, the book was finished. Titled The Seven Lamps of Architecture, it was far more than a treatise on the Gothic style; instead, it elaborated Ruskin's deepest convictions of the nature and role of architecture and its aesthetics. The book was published to immediate acclaim and has since become an acknowledged classic.
The "seven lamps" are Sacrifice, Truth, Power, Beauty, Life, Memory, and Obedience. In delineating the relationship of these terms to architecture, Ruskin distinguishes between architecture and mere building. Architecture is an exalting discipline that must dignify and ennoble public life. It must preserve the purity of the materials it uses; and it must serve as a source of power and renewal for the society that produces it. The author expounds these and many other ideas with exceptional passion and knowledge, expressed in a masterly prose style.
Today, Ruskin's timeless observations are as relevant as they were in Victorian times, making The Seven Lamps of Architecture required reading for architects, students, and other lovers of architecture, who will find in these pages a thoughtful and inspiring approach to one of man's noblest endeavors.
This authoritative edition includes excellent reproductions of the 14 original plates of Ruskin's superb drawings of architectural details from such structures as the Doge's Palace in Venice, Giotto's Campanile in Florence, and the Cathedral of Rouen.
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Book-length essay on architecture by John Ruskin, published in 1849. According to Ruskin, the leading principles of architecture are the "lamps" of Sacrifice, Truth, Power, Beauty, Life, Memory, and Obedience. The noblest style of architecture was Gothic, but in time medieval architecture had lost the power to resist innovation. This loss of vitality was the result of the spiritual decline of Christianity during the materialistic Renaissance. The essay took the studies of a generation of medievalists and provided them with a general framework and a moral flavor. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
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