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Wharton, Edith (1862-1937); Codman Jr., Ogden (1863-1951) / The decoration of houses
(1898)

Conclusion,   pp. 196-198


Page 198

198            The Decoration of Houses
  The supreme excellence is simplicity.  Moderation, fitness, rele-
vance - these are the qualities that give permanence to the work
of the great architects.   Tout ce qui n'est pas n~ce~saire e~t nui~i-
EWe.  There is a sense in which works of art may be said to
endure by virtue of that which is left out of them, and it is this
"tact of omission" that characterizes the master-hand.
  Modern civilization has been called a varnished barbarism: a
definition that might well be applied to the superficial graces of
much modern decoration.      Only a return to architectural princi-
ples can raise the decoration of houses to the level of the past.
Vasari said of the Farnesina palace that it was not built, but really
born - non murato ma veramente nato; and this phrase is but the
expression of an ever-present sense - the sense of interrelation of
parts, of unity of the whole.
  There is no absolute perfection,   there is no communicable
ideal;  but much that is empiric, much that is confused and
extravagant, will give way before the application of principles
based on common sense and regulated by the laws of harmony
and proportion.


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