Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

sketch to illustrate this has been added adopt the French fashions, which at from the work of Mr.

Fig. 6.

that time retained the powerful influence Elmes. To the finial is

in this country, which the profligate fastened a strong metal

and frivolous court of Charles II, had ring, and to that is sus.

bestowed upon them. pended a large piece of

We have omitted to notice the College timber, 80 feet long, load

of Physicians,* built by Wren, which, in ed with iron; at the bot

a particular department, was one of the tom are two oak floors,

most scientific of Wren's edifices. The the upper about two in

exterior, indeed, was nowise to be adches and a half, and the

mired; but in the interior, for the purlower three inches less

poses of utility and convenience, it was than the interior masonry

considered perfect, as affording, every of the spire. When the

facility both for seeing and hearing, in wind blows the spire out

the display of anatomical operations of the perpendicular, the

and philosophical experiments. As a pendulum floor touches

study of acoustic and optical architecthe lee side of the spire,

ture it was perhaps unrivalled, the pethus tending to restore the

culiar character of the roof and form equilibrium of the ma

of the section being admirably adapted sonry.

to the distribution of sound, and the The Doric column at

form of the hall equally suited to the the foot of London Bridge,

convenience of seeing. (Monument,) the largest

In the construction of theatres and single column in existence,

of churches, the propagation of sound except the Wellington testimonial, at is one of the most important points to Dublin, was also designed by Wren; its be attended to. The doctrine of acouentire height is 202 feet, being 42 higher stics is little understood by builders in than Trajan's column; the pedestal is this country, and yet, however hidden 40 feet high, 20 feet square; the dia- to us the subject may be, it is certain meter of the base is 15 feet, and there the ancients understood its principles is a staircase in the shaft of 345 steps. with great accuracy; whilst in modern

The works of Sir C. Wren do not times this important object of archiappear to have been all uniformly suc- tecture has been almost wholly negcessful. Hampton Court and Win- lected. Vitruvius describes the effects chester Palace are far from being fa- of the science as well understood by vourable specimens of the art. The the Greeks. The method of producing studies made by him from the buildings the effect of the increase of sound in of Louis the Fourteenth had too visi- their theatres was singular; and from ble an effect on his own designs of the mention of it in Vitruvius, as being palaces and private buildings; and of frequent use both in these and in “ it may be considered fortunate," the Roman theatres, it is to be inferred observes Horace Walpole, “ that the that the effect sought was produced, French built only palaces and

The arrangement, as described, conchurches, and therefore Saint Paul's sisted in placing bronze vases or jars in escaped, but Hampton Court was sa

small chambers or recesses having an crificed to the god of false taste," opening in front in the precinctio, beWren's failure at Hampton Court may, tween the first and second row of seats. in a great measure, be attributed to his These jars were inverted, having one end having worked under the directions of partially raised : they were of different William, whose favourite residence it sizes, and are said to have been arwas, and whose taste in architecture was ranged according to some principle of far below his merit as a patriot king; harmony. It has been a matter of conindeed, when the arrangement of the siderable surprise that, with the numlow cloisters was criticized, the mo ber of travellers who have been of late narch, with his wonted honesty, took so actively exploring the antiquities of the whole blame on himself, acknow. Greece and Italy, no remains of this ledging that they had been constructed contrivance have been discovered. Mr. by his own particular orders. Nor is Banks, however, it is said, discovered it unreasonable to infer that in his other at Scythopolis the remains of these buildings, the defects arose in some de- chambers situated in the precinctio, gree from the taste of his employers, and that he was compelled by them to • This bui.ding is now dismantled,

no

with doors at the back, apparently

well in the orthography may not be good in the for the convenience of access to adjustjections and every thing that is good in model

model, especially where are many, angles and prothe vases This is an important sub may not be so when built; because a model is seen ject of consideration in the construction

from other stations and distances that the eye sees

the building ; but this will hold universally true, of theatres, and more particularly in that whatsoever is good in perspective, and will church architecture. In the present hold so in all the principal views, whether direct or churches it not unfrequently happens oblige, will be as good in great, if this only caution that the architect ensures the congre the eye in the principal stations. gation full opportunity of contemplating many bea bers, be well furnished with ornaments

,

Things seen pear at hand may have small and his edifice, by so building it that no ar and may lie tlatter; on the contrary, all this care ticulate sound can reach half the per

is ridiculous at great distances; there buiky mem

bers and indl projections casting quick shadows are sons present. There is another im

commendable; small ornaments at too great dis. portant point in the construction of tance serve only to confound the symmetry and to churches, which has been hitherto

take away the lustre of the object, by darhening it

wih many little shadows. mainly overlooked, namely, the advan “ There are different reasons for objects, whose tage arising from what is termed hy chief view is in frunt, and for those whose chief view

is sideways. pethral light, or light from the roof.

* Fronts ought to be elevated in the middle not When this is adopted, the interior archi the corners; because the middle is the place of tecture has its own light and shade in the greatest dignity and first arrests the eye; and

rather projecting forward in the middle than hollow. same way as the outside ; and that so

For these reasons pavilions at the corners are lemn effect, so well adapted to sacred naught, because they make both faults, a hollow buildings, is attained by the appear

and depressed front. Where hvllows and sulids are

mixed, the hollow is to be in the middle; for ance of seclusion and abstraction which hollows are either niches, windows, or doors. The the light coming from above instead of

first require the middle to give the statue dignity :

the second, that the view from within may be the sides is calculated to bestow.

direct; the third, that the visto may be straight. Wren did not publish any works in

The ancients elevated the middle with a tympaa

and statue, or a dome, The triumphant arches, his lifetime, except his contributions to

which now seem Ant, were elevated by the magthe Royal Society, and his answer to Diticent figure of the victor in his chariot with foor the attacks made against him. In the

horses abreast, and other statues accompanying it.

No sort of pinnacle is worthy enough to appear in Parentalia, a few fragments of essays the air but statue. Pyrauids are Gothic; pots are are printed, some of which contain very

modern french. Chininies ought to be hid if not well

adorned. No roof can have dignity enough to apjudicious observations on the science pear above a cornice but the circular: in private of architecture. The limits of this buildings it is excusable. The ancients affected sketch do not, however, permit any

fatness. In buildings where the view is sideways,

as in streets, it is absolutely required that the very long extracts; the following are, composition should be square; intercolumniations perhaps, the most interesting :

equal; projections not great; the cornices un

broken, and every thing strait, equal, and uniform, “ Position is necessary for perfecting beauty. Breaks in the cornice, projectures of the upright There are only two beautiful positions of strait members, variety, inequality in the parts, various lines, perpendicular and horizontal; this is from heights of the roof, serve only to confound the pernature, and consequently necessity, no other than spective and make it deformed; while the breaches upright being firm. Oblique positions are discord and projections are cast upon one another and obto the eye, unless answered in pairs, as in the sides seure all symmetry. In this sort of building there of an equicrural triangle; therefore Gothic but seems no proportion of length to the height; for tresses are all ill-favoured and were avoided by the a portico the longer the more beautiful, in intinitum; ancients, and no roofs, alınost, but spheric raised to on the contrary, ironts require a proportion of the be visible, except in the front, where the lines breadth to the height : higher than three times the answer in spheric in all positions the ribs answer. breadth is indecent, and as ill to be above three Cones and multangular prisms want neither beauty times as broad as high. From this rule I except nor tiridess, but are not ancient.

obelisks, pyramids, columns, such as Trajan's, &c., * Views contrary to beauty are deformity, or a which seem rather single things than compositions; defect of uniformiiy: and plainness, which is the I except also long portieoes, though seen direct, excess of uniformity : variety makes the mean. where the eye, wandering over the same members,

** Variety of uniformities makes complete beauty. Uniformities are best tempered, as rhymes in poetry,

intinitely repeated, and not easily finding the bounds,

mahes no comparison of them with the height." alternately, or sometimes with more variety, as in stanzas.

“ Modern authors, who have treated of architec" In things to be seen at once much variety ture, seem generally to have little more in view, makes confusion, another vice of beauty. In things but to set down the proportions of columns, archithat are not seen at once, and have no respect one traves, and cornices, in the several orders as they to another, great variety is commendable, provided are distinguished into Dorie, lonic, Corinthian, and this variety transgress not the rules of optics and Composite; and in these proportions, finding them geometry.

in the ancient fabrics of the Greeks and Romans, “ An architect ought to be jealous of novelties, in (thongh inore arbitrarily used than they care 10 which fancy blinds the judgment; and to think his acknowledge,) they have reduced them into rales, judges as well those that are to live five centuries after too strict and pedantic, and so as not to be transhim, as those of his own time. That which is com gressed without the crime of barbarity; though, in mendable now for novelty, will not be a new in their own nature, they are but the modes and vention to posterity, when his works are often fashions of those ages wherein they were used; but imitated, and when it is unknown which was the because they were found in the great structures, original; but the glory of that which is good of (the ruins of which we now admire,) we think ouritself, is eternal.

selves strictly obliged still to follow the tashion, " The architect ought above all things to be well though we can never attain to the grandeur of those versed in perspective, for every thing ibat appears works.".

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER VII,

source of architectural combination, The School of Wren.- His Successors. judicious advantage. The Library at

of which they often took great and It may be proper to close this trea- Luton is one of the most striking extise with a few observations on the amples of this happy adaptation. successors of Wren,-on the present Without being entirely devoted to taste for architecture, — and on the what is termed the Palladian school, French school.

or wishing to be supposed insensible to Hawkesmore, Vanbrugh, Gibbs, and the beauty of the pure Grecian archi. others, of the same date, followed in tecture, it must be admitted that the his footsteps, proceeding upon the present taste for the pure Greek is foundations laid by the revived or carried too far. While we acknowledge Palladian school. Hawkesmore was the excellence of the great original, amongst the most successful pupils; there is danger that some of the present he was so considered by his master, professors may lose sight of the valuable and he certainly surpassed his con additions which architecture has actemporary, Vanbrugh. It is observable, quired from the labours of the Romans, that after the age of Wren, something and after them from the Revival school. beyond the pitch of the art was at These improvements are more adapted tempted by his immediate successors, to utility than the Grecian architecture, and amongst the foremost in this attempt which was besides deficient in some of was Hawkesmore. Something beyond the most important principles of magnifithe orders, something almost colossal cence, as for instance those obtained by appears to have been effected; but al- the introduction of the arch, which openthough there was a partial success, it ed a new field for grandeur, variety, and seems as if something greater was in- extent, and enabled the architect to cover tended than was, or indeed could be, a space beyond the power or combinaattained. The works of Hawkesmore tion of the Greeks to reach. It is almost evince great beauties of conception, but impossible, by taking the very few existmixed with so many caprices and so ing examples of Grecian architecture many defects, that he has perhaps (consisting only of sacred edifices) as never yet received his due share of models, to erect buildings calculated to credit.

serve the infinitely varied purposes of The steeple, as applied to a building on modern wants, without the risk of distorthe plan of a Grecian or Roman temple, tion and misapplication. The excellence is always absurd, and even Wren himself of Greek architecture consisted in its could not always rescue it from deserv- principles of elegance and proportion, ed and contemptuous criticism: but and what may be termed the detail, Hawkesmore appears to have been the rather than its utility for the great puronly one who has ventured to place this poses of construction. The shape of the steeple on one side of the building, as Grecian temple admits of no change in St. George's, Bloomsbury; by this without the destruction of its beauty : means avoiding at least the incongruity add a side wing as a vestry, or let a tall of making a steeple rise out of a temple. spire shoot up above the low tympanum, St. George's, Limehouse, and St. Mary's and every principle of proportion and Wolnoth's, may be considered as the fitness is destroyed. Besides, the thing best specimen of his style; and the we produce has little resemblance to beautiful portico of St. Martin's in the the original: the Grecian temple was Fields, now again about to see the designed to form a feature in the surlight, is the masterpiece of Gibbs. rounding landscape, to be a vehicle

Amongst the succeeding class in the for the exposition of sculpture, of the Palladian school, the most conspicuous most exquisite and elaborate kind; were Ware, Sir William Chambers, and it was radiant with gold, azure, and the Adams. Sir William Chambers's vermilion, laid on the pure marble; works are remarkable for their taste the delicate mouldings were to be seen and elegance, and for a purer imitation under an unclouded sun, and to remain of the antique of Italy. The Adams, in a climate which conserved an unwith many defects chiefly from falling changed appearance for ages. How into the details of the Venetian school, different is the copy, cooped up in the produced works worthy of admiration, smokes of a great city, composed of and were the first who investigated the coarse materials, and without any aid Roman baths and the remains of the of ornament, except a few mock stone Roman villas, thus opening a new vases or figures wretchedly executed !

The exclusive admiration of the Gre- ladio, whilst we have followed the or. cian architecture is becoming the cant of ders of Vigniola ; but with this differthe day. It is impossible to agree with ence;—they adopted the plans of Palthe dogmas of the professors in their ladio entire, and accompanied by all exclusion of all the resources which the their elegance and simplicity, whilst ingenuity of the moderns has furnished, we have applied the orders of Viand which the necessities of greater gniola to the most complex shapes in civilisation require : yet this different our buildings, and which we have and less intolerant opinion may be en overloaded with whimsical ornaments tertained without any deficiency in ad- of the very worst taste; and the remiration of the beautiful specimens of sult of a comparison between the anantiquity. This country is greatly in- cient architecture and ours is, that our debted to the publications of Stuart own is complex, whilst that of the anand Revett, and of the Dillettanti So- cients was simple; theirs exhibits ciety, who first cultivated the true grand ideas in the most trifling edifices, taste for Grecian antiquities, and laid whilst ours, in the execution of the accurate representations of them be greatest objects, are but a collection of fore the public. Stuart, whose ori small parts, and those united with difginal employment was that of painting ficulty, which is miscalled ingenuity." fan mounts, but whose talents and in The fact is, the French were ambitious dustry enabled him to surmount all diffi- of forming a new school : they were to culties,conceived the happy idea of going invent new orders which were to be exto the original source of the beautiful in clusively French; and their buildings in the arts; and from reading the Grecian the age of Louis XIV. exhibit examples, history, figured to himself that there in which all kinds of incongruous must remain at Athens a purer style than ornament are collected together withhad been adopted either by the Romans out principle or meaning. To this sucor by the Revival school. He perform- ceeded what they conceived to be the ed the journey on foot, with very slender pure Grecian taste; but as it was beresources, and joining company with fore the Grecian monuments had been Mr. Revett, produced the work which studied or understood, this second manhas redounded so much to the credit of ner was in truth very little more elehimself and of his country. His project gant or perfect than the former. They immediately excited the jealousy and are scarcely ever successful in their atwith it the rivalry of the French, who tempts to adopt the styles of antiquity : despatched Le Roy in order to anticipate although there is no nation so prone their labours, which he did by publish- to affect a species of classical show, ing his work at Paris long before the and none more ambitious of giving to work of Stuart and Reveit appeared. the productions in art a classical air. Le Roy however employed only twenty- This is observable particularly in their one days in execut ng that which his school of design, and in their drama; rivals were engaged on for three years. and yet it is impossible to contend that The res might be easily foreseen. they have been successful. The difference Le Roy's book soon sold' for waste of taste and manner between the French paper, and the Athenian Antiquities and the English, may, perhaps, be achave since their publication in Eng- counted for in some degree by their lanıl been reprinted at Paris.

different modes of study. The French In mentioning the different great both in their studies and in their purartists of the English school, we suits adopt more of the academic system should do injustice in omitting the than is followed in England; they work names of several distinguished ama in bodies, and under the direction of the teur architects. Amongst the foremost government, whilst our most laboured of these stand Lord Pembroke, Lord productions are the works of indiviBurlington, Lord Leicester, Dr. Aldriche, duals, and consequently more likely to and Dr. Clarke, whose labours have afford specimens of originality, it not tended so much to the advancement of of perfection. Without entirely denythe science, and whose works redound ing the benefit of academies for the so much to their credit.

advancement of the arts, it is only from In comparing the French and Eng- frequent experience of their failure glish modern schools of architecture, through mismanagement, that the arMonsieur Le Grand, in his Essay, has gument arises against increasing their very candidly admitted our superiority: number, or extending their influence. “The English,” he says, “ adopted Pal

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

CHAPTER I.

revival of letters, of the fine arts, and Introduction - Michael Angelo's Early the discovery of printing, which folLife.

lowed in quick succession. It was to

wards the close of this time, that Mr. There is no period in the history of the CHAEL ANGELO BUONAROTI attained world so fertile in striking and impor- his greatest eminence. tant events, as that which embraces the It was mainly his genius that was

B

« AnteriorContinuar »