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The arched staircase that Ruskin discusses below appears in both photographs.

Ruskin uses this building several times in his close analyses of the development of Venetian gothic architecture. In the third volume of the The Stones of Venice, he includes outline drawings of the shape of its cornices and archivolts (11.379, 383). In the second volume, he uses the Corte de Remer as an example of the way Venetian architecture changed as the Gothic replaced Byzantine forms. Ruskin explains that although “the Venetian builders adopted . . . Arabian forms of arch where grace of ornamentation was their only purpose, they saw that such arrangements were unfit for ordinary work; and there is no instance, I believe, in Venice, of their having used any of them for a dwelling-house in the truly Byzantine period” (10.292). Things changed with coming of the gothic. When the “Gothic influence began to be felt, and the pointed arch forced itself upon them,” Venetian builders adopted the pointed arch, abandoning the round one. Ruskin next includes a drawing of “the door and two of the lateral windows of a house in the Corte del Remer, facing the Grand Canal, in the parish of the Apostoli.”

“It is remarkable,” Ruskin continues, “as having its great entrance on the first floor, attained by a bold flight of steps, sustained on pure pointed arches wrought in brick. I cannot tell if these arches are contemporary with the building, though it must always have had an access of the kind. The rest of its aspect is Byzantine, except only that the rich sculptures of its archivolt show in combats of animals, beneath the soffit, a beginning of the Gothic fire and energy. The moulding of its plinth is of a Gothic profile,* and the windows are pointed, not with a reversed curve, but in a pure straight gable, very curiously contrasted with the delicate bending of the pieces of marble armour cut for the shoulders of each arch” (10.293-94).

More of Ruskin's Venice

Photographs 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.]


Ruskin, John. The Works. Ed. E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. “The Library Edition.” 39 vols. London: George Allen, 1903-1912.

Last Modified 27 March 2020