Page:Ruskin - The Seven Lamps of Architecture.djvu/21

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2. Proud Admiration. This kind of applause, so far from being courted, I found ought altogether to be deprecated by the noble architect, and that no building could be really admirable which was not admirable to the poor. So that there was an essential baseness in the Renaissance (i.e. the modern Italian and Greek style), and an essential nobleness in the Gothic, consisting simply in the pride of the one, and the humility of the other. I found the love of largeness, and especially of symmetry, invariably associated with vulgarity and narrowness of mind, so that the person most intimately acquainted with the mind of the monarch to whom the Renaissance architecture owed its principal impulse, describing his principles of religion, states that he 'was shocked to be told that Jesus Christ spoke the language of the humble and the poor'; and, describing his taste in architecture, says that he 'thought of nothing but grandeur, magnificence, and symmetry'. [1]

3. Workmanly Admiration. This, of course, though right within certain limits, is wholly uncritical, being as easily satisfied with the worst as with the best building, so that the mortar be laid smoothly. As to the feeling with which it is usually united, namely, a delight in the intelligent observance of the proportions of masses, it is good in all the affairs of life, whether regulating the disposition of dishes at a dinner table,<ref.'At the château of Madame V, the white-headed butler begped madame to apologise for the central flower-basket on the table: "He nad not had time to study the composition".' — Mrs. Stowe's Sunny Memories, lett. 44.</ref> of ornaments on a dress, or of pillars in a portico. But it no more constitutes the true power of an architect, than the possession of a good ear for metre constitute

  1. Madame de Maintenon, quoted in Quarterly Review, March, 1855, pp. 423-8. She says, afterwards: 'He prefers to endure all the draughts from the doors, in order that they may be opposite one another — you must perish in symmetry '.