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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/38

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6
Part I.
HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE.

utterly incapable of Phonetic expression, and the first hardly even can be raised to the second class, though air combined with warmth does afford pleasure to the senses. Joinery may convey an idea of perfection from the mode in which it is designed or executed; while gastronomy, as above mentioned, does really afford important gratification to the senses, approaching nearly in importance to the plain food-supplying art of cookery. Jewelry may combine extreme mechanical beauty of execution with the most harmonious arrangement of color, and may also be made to express a meaning, though only to a very limited extent. Clothing depends on both color and form for its perfection more than even beauty of material, and may be made to express gaiety or sorrow, though perhaps more from association than from any inherent qualities. The arts of the potter can exhibit not only perfection in execution, but practically depend, both in color and form, especially the latter, to raise their products out of the category of mere Technic arts; while the paintings on them, which are indispensable to the highest class of ceramique, render them capable of taking their place among those objects which affect a Phonetic mode of utterance. As mentioned above, floriculture and landscape gardening may, besides their use, afford infinite pleasure to the senses and even express gaiety or gloom, and from mere prettiness, may rise towards something like sublimity of expression.

Architecture is, however, the central art of the group, which in its highest form combines all the three classes in nearly equal proportions, but not always necessarily so. The Pyramids of Egypt, for instance, though Technically the most wonderful buildings in the world, have very little Esthetic, and hardly more than one of Phonetic, value. The great temple at Baalbec,—and in fact all the Roman temples, may be classed as containing six parts of Technic value for mechanical excellence of size and construction, four for beauty of form and detail, but certainly not more than two parts for any expression of religion or intellect they may exhibit, making up twenty for the index of their artistic value. Cologne cathedral takes very nearly the same position in the scale, but Rheims, Bourges, and the more perfect Gothic cathedrals may be classed higher, as five Technic, three Æsthetic, and four Phonetic, making twenty-three altogether as their index; and they are only surpassed by such a building as the Parthenon at Athens, which, though not so large and imposing as some others, is, so far as we know, the most perfect building yet erected by man. It owes this perfection mainly to the equal balance of parts. There is nothing so difticult or startling in its construction as there is in most Gothic cathedrals; but what there is is mechanically perfect, both in design and execution. Its form is nearly perfect, combining stability with simplicity, and at the same time avoiding monotony or any appearance of greater strength than is