Our last few posts have been lengthy, that feature hopefully making worthwhile the thoughts they carried. Today, I offer something consdierably shorter–one of Ruskin’s (unintended–he never meant them as such) aphorisms, one that I came across in my usual morning reading. It is good to keep such brief reminders in one’s awareness in the midst of our hectic days.
He was writing about architecture and sculpture, making the case that these are much more powerful art forms than painting. The paintings that are worth seeing, however beautiful and precious they may be, are sequestered in our homes or on display in frequently hard-to-get-to musuems which give us limited hours for viewing. But our architecture and sculpture are on permanent public display, to be enjoyed or reacted to by all who pass by during a day, can be enjoyed at night, or sunset or… (see the remarkable picture of the Basilica San Marco in Venice at sunset on the right of the banner at the top of this page; see also Post 98). Sometimes, if our architecture and sculpture are well built and have the good fortune to dodge terrible weathers and occasional bombs, they can be enjoyed for centuries (“The Little Man and the Dragon” on Rouen’s Cathedral’s north porch, let alone the incredible exterior of the cathedral itself, are fine examples: Post 99).
At the heart of this pair of sentences is one of his central arguments: that what makes architecture and sculpture greater forms of art is their social presence. They are created as a means of influencing the awareness of as many people as will come into view of them. As such they “live closer” to the core of a fundamental law of the universe.
It is a law of God and of Nature that your pleasures–as your virtues–shall be enhanced by mutual aid. As, by joining hand in hand, you can sustain each other best, so, hand in hand, you can delight each other best.
That’s good fodder for thought, about architecture as well as about what we are going to do during the next hour or two of this day we are living.
Until next time,
Be well out there!