Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/71

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Sect. XIV.
39
INTRODUCTION.

value of his design may be doubled by their introduction. It is only by the combination of the Phonetic utterance with the Technic and Æsthetic elements that a perfect work of art has been produced, and that architecture can be said to have reached the highest point of perfection to which it can aspire.


XIV.—Uniformity.

Considerable confusion has been introduced into the reasoninsf on the subject of architectural Uniformity from the assumption that the two great schools of art—the classical and the mediæval—adopted contrary conclusions regarding it, Formality being supposed to be the characteristic of the former. Irregularity of the latter. The Greeks, of course, when building a temple or monument, which was only one room or one object, made it exactly symmetrical in all its parts; but so did the Gothic architects when building a church or chapel or hall, or any single object: in ninety-nine instances out of a hundred, a line drawn down the centre divides it into two equal and symmetrical halves; and when an exception to this occurs, there is some obvious motive for it.

But where several buildings of different classes were to be grouped, or even two temples placed near one another, the Greeks took the utmost care to prevent their appearing parts of one design, or one whole; and when, a sin the instance of the Erechtheium,[1] three temples are placed together, no Gothic architect exer took such pains to secure for each its separate individuality as the Grecian architect did. What has given rise to the error is, that all the smaller objects of Grecian art have perished, leaving us only the great monuments without their adjuncts.

If we can conceive the task assigned to a Grecian architect of erecting a building like one of our collegiate institutions, he would without doubt have distinguished the chapel from the refectory, and that from the library, and he would have made them of a totally different design from the principaFs lodge, or the chambers of the fellows and students; but it is more than probable that, while carefully distinguishing each part from the other, he would have arranged them with some regard to symmetry, placing the chapel hi the centre, the library and refectory as pendants to one another, though dissimilar, and the residences so as to connect and fill up the whole design. The truth seems to be that no great amount of dignity can be obtained without a certahi degree of regularity; and there can be little doubt that artistically it is better that mere utilitarian convenience should give way to the exigencies of architectural design than that the latter


  1. See woodcuts further on.