📍 🇮🇹 Precision vs humanity at Venetian angles
"Like a fortress flipped on its thin crown, and whose thick root is hanging in the air..." said French author Chateaubriand, passing by it in 1833 CE. "The central building of the world, containing equal proportions of Roman, Lombard and Arab elements", added English historian Ruskin later on in 1850.
So much to see inside that one forgets the joy of decrypting the outward pillars and their three angles: the Fall of Adam and Eve, the Drunkenness of Noah, the Judgment of Solomon. Ruskin praises the first one, the earliest (~1300 CE?) as being true Gothic in subject and form: "superb sweep of the foliage, faces stiff and wearied, serpent designed in angular lines", reminding us of man's sins, of Christianity's core lessons.
Noah's sculpture (~1350 CE?), by the bridge of Sighs, displays "a profusion of flowing hair and beard; an attempt at extreme finish with veins carved too sharply..." (Ruskin again, a tad more negative).
Finally, the Solomon piece (~1500 CE?) is "much more free in design, Renaissance in spirit; the foliage imitates that of Adam and Eve but by being studiously varied in flow, it has none of the original truth...". What we gain in precision and technicality, we lose in humanity according to him.
Foci-Tip: go from one to the other to form your own opinion 🙂
____ Sources ____
>> John Ruskin, “The Stones of Venice”, 1851