Photographs by Landow July 1966 and October 2000; by Freidus February 2020. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

“Now the first broad characteristic of the building, and the root nearly of every other important peculiarity in it, is its confessed incrustation. It is the purest example in Italy of the great school of architecture in which the ruling principle is the incrustation of brick with more precious materials” (10.93).

“For it is on its value as a piece of perfect and unchangeable colouring, that the claims of this edifice to our respect are finally rested. . . .It possesses the charm of colour in common with the the greater part of the architecture, as well as of the manufactures, of the East; but the Venetians deserve especial note as the only European people who appear to have sympathized to the full with the great instinct of the Eastern races. They indeed were compelled to bring artists from Constantinople to design the mosaics of the vaults of St. Mark’s, and to group the colour of its porches” (10.97-98)

Bulging shaped domes: “The bulging outline, or concave surface [is] of no more use, or rather of less, in throwing off snow or rain, than the ordinary spire and gable; and it is rather curious, therefore, that all of them, on a small scale, should have obtained so extensive use in Germany and Switzerland, their native climate being that of the East, where their purpose seems rather to concentrate light upon their orbed surfaces. I much doubt their applicability, on a large scale, to architecture of any admirable dignity: their chief charm is, to the European eye, that of strangeness; and it seems to me possible that in the East the bulging form may be also delightful, from the idea of its enclosing a volume of cool air. I enjoy them in St. Mark’s chiefly because they increase the fantastic and unreal character of St. Mark’s Place; and because they appear to sympathise with an expression, common, I think, to all the buildings of that group, of a natural buoyancy, as if they floated in the air1 or on the surface of the sea. But assuredly, they are not features to be recommended for imitation” (9.183-84).

More of Ruskin's Venice

Last Modified 26 March 2020