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The craftsman
Volume XXXI, Number 3 (December 1916)

Freehof, M. E.
Old architectural details which inspire modern architectural beauty,   pp. 259-266 PDF (3.0 MB)


Page 260


OLD ARCHITECTURAL DETAIL AND
_-VĂ½2
* ..               ,        1"     difference between a blank surface
of Caen
                                   stone and one mixed from    Genoa and
Car-
 study of roof- rara, of serpentine with snow; but as regards abstract power
ries from Gra-
ida suggesting  and awfulness, there is no question; without breadth of surface
it
ariety that  is in vain to seek them, and it matters little, so that the
surface be
ould be incor-
Nrated to advan- wide, bold, and unbroken, whether it be of brick or of jasper;
the light
ge in our own of heaven upon it, and the weight of earth in it, are all we
need; for
ty architecture, it is singular how forgetful the mind may become both of
material
             and workmanship, if only it have space enough over which to
range,
             and to remind it, however feebly, of the joy that it has in
contemplat-
             ing the flatness and sweep of great plains and broad seas. And
it is
             a noble thing for men to do this with their cut stone or moulded
clay,
             and to make the face of a wall look infinite, and its edge against
the
             sky like an horizon: or even if less than this be reached, it
is still de-
             lightful to mark the play of passing light on its broad surface,
and to
             see by how many artifices and gradations of tinting and shadow,
time
             and storm will set their wild signatures upon it; and how in
the rising
             or declining of the day the unbroken twilight rests long and
luridly
             on its high, lineless forehead, and fades away untraceably down
its
             tiers of confused and countless stone..
             "ND among the first habits that a young architect should
learn,
               "Ak is that of thinking in shadow, not looking at a design
in its
                      miserable liny skeleton; but conceiving it as it will
be when
              the dawn lights it, and the dusk leaves it; when its stones
will be hot,
              and its crannies cool; when the lizards will bask on the one,
and the
              birds build in the other. Let him design with the sense of
cold and
              heat upon him; let him cut out the shadows, as men dig wells
in un-
              watered plains; and lead along the lights, as a founder does
his hot
              metal; let him keep the full command of both, and see that
he knows
              260
A
lit
V.8
co
ta
ci
the principle of power, and, in some sense, of
beauty also. For, whatever infinity of fair
form there may be in the maze of the forest,
there is a fairer, as I think, in the surface of
the quiet lake; and I hardly know that associa-
tion of shaft or tracery, for which I would ex-
change the warm sleep of sunshine on some
smooth, broad, human-like front of marble.
Nevertheless, if breadth is to be beautiful, its
substance must in some sort be beautiful; and
we must not hastily condemn the exclusive
resting of the northern architects in dividedc
lines, until at least we have remembered the


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