Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Twin Brethren, the eye rests also on the Rome fittingly cast off its great fetters, gigantic vaults of the Basilica of Con- and stood forth in a form which was to stantine. We may even catch a distinct | be the root of the later architecture of all glimpse of the huge arcaded mass of the Europe. The construction which first Flavian Amphitheatre, nor do we wholly showed itself in the Great Sewer, at last turn away from the arch of Severus and won for itself a consistent form of decothe small fragments of the disfigured ration in the palace of Diocletian and in arcades of the Tabularium. All these the churches of Constantine. are Roman works; Greek decorative. The history of Roman architecture, as elements are to be traced in all of them ; a whole, is still to be written, because the but what stands out in all its boldness, history of Roine itself, as a whole, is still in all its dignity, is the true native art of to be written. Writers who deal with the Rome. That is the art which used the architecture of Rome, or with anything round arch as its constructive feature, else that belongs to Rome, from any of and which could therefore bridge over those special points of view which are and bind together distant spaces which implied in the words “classical," “mewere altogether beyond the reach of the diæval,” and “modern," are often doing Greek system of the column and entab-l admirable service within their own spelature. When we see the Roman system cial range, but they are not grappling of construction carried out on the mighti- with the subject as a whole. I have now est scale, when, in such a pile as Caracal- to speak only of the buildings of Rome, la's Baths, we see Roman art preparing and not of any of the other aspects of itself to influence the world as purely Roman history; but the same law apGreek art never could do, it is not amiss plies to all. I have put at the head of to remember that at the same moment this article the names of three books men like Ulpian and Paulus were building published within the last twelve years, of up that great fabric of purely Roman Law which the first two are of a very different which was in the like sort to influence character from the third. The volumes the world, to be the source of the juris- of Professor Reber and Mr. Burn are of prudence of modern Europe, and to win the utmost value to the student of Rofor Rome a wider dominion than was man topography and history in every ever won for her by the arms of Julius way that has to do with the buildings of and Trajan. At last the two great ele- classical and pagan Rome. But there ments of revolution drew nigh. New they stop. Alongside of sound and nations were knocking at the gates of scholar-like books like these one would Rome, asking, not to wipe out her name bardly have ventured to mention a book or to destroy her power, but rather to be like that of M. Wey, which does not asthemselves admitted to bear the one and pire to anything higher than pleasant to wield the other. A new creed, born gossipping talk, save for one thing only. in one of her distant provinces, was M. Wey, in his unsystematic rambles, making its way, in the teeth of all oppo- has in one sense bridged over the gap sition, to become the creed of the Roman better than the careful research of the Empire and of all lands which bowed to German and the English scholar. He Roman rule, whether as subjects or as has at least dealt with Pagan temples and disciples. Diocletian might be the per-Christian churches in one volume as secutor of the Church and Constantine parts of one subject. In architectural might be her nursing-father ; but both matters, as well as in other matters, we alike were men of the same period; each have to fight against the superstition had a share in the same work. Each that Rome came to an end in 476. This alike marks a stage in the change by superstition, as applied to art, naturally which the chief magistrate of the Roman demands that a wide line should be Commonwealth grew, first into the des- drawn between the heathen basilica potic sovereign girt with the trappings of which Maxentius reared and of which eastern royalty, and then into the for- Constantine took the credit, and the Chriseign King who came to be anointed as tian basilica which Constantine reared in Cæsar and Augustus with the rites of a readiness for the crowning of his Teucreed of which the first bearers of those tonic successor. From my point of view, names had never heard. Under the line we can no more draw any wide line in of Emperors from Diocletian to Theo-matters of architecture than we can in dosius the real influence of Rome was matters of law or language or religion. not ending, but beginning. And it was The story is one, without a break, alin these days too that the architecture of most without a halting place. The former part of the tale is imperfect without the Rome and Christendom. The same powlatter; the latter part is unintelligible er which can call up the Flavian Amphiwithout the former. Rome invented the theatre in its ancient form might also round arch at an early stage of her his- call up the mighty pile of the old Saint tory. She has used it down to our own | Peter's, when the crowning place of the day in every stage of her history. But Cæsars had not been swept away for the it was in that stage of her history which gratification of papal vanity. The nar. is marked by the reigns of Diocletian row prejudices which once looked on and Constantine that she first made the such buildings as these as worthless and round arch the leading feature of an in- barbarous, unworthy of a glance or a dependent and harmonious style of archi- thought from the eve or the mind of tecture. This aspect of Roman history, taste, have surely passed away along with like every other, should be written as one the kindred prejudice which once looked story, and as yet it has not been written as with the same contempt on the wonders one story. I still long to see the history of mediæval skill in our own and in of the genuine Roman buildings of Rome, other northern lands. The early Chrisfrom the first strivings after the arch in tian buildings of Rome and Ravenna the roof of the Tullianum to the church are indeed far from lacking their votaof the third Otto and the house of Cre-ries ; they have been in many quarters scentius, traced out as one single volume carefully studied and illustrated, and of the history of art, the later pages of their history has been carefully traced which must not be unkindly torn away out. What is needed is to put them from the earlier.

| thoroughly in their true relation with reThe many works, chiefly the result of gard to the buildings which went before German scholarship, by which the topog. them and to the buildings which followed raphy and early history of Rome have them. The steps by which the arrangebeen so largely illustrated during the ments of the earliest churches grew out last forty years deal of course largely of the arrangements of pagan buildings with the buildings of all dates ; but their have been already often traced out; but it object is hardly to supply a connected is no less needful to show the steps by history of architecture at Rome. But the which both the system of construction and minute and splendidly illustrated volume the architectural detail of the so-called of Professor Reber is specially devoted classical period changed into the constructo the buildings of the city, and it deals tion and the detail of what the classical elaborately with their architectural detail. purist is tempted to look on as the barbarIn Mr. Burn's book also, the buildings oc-ous Romanesque. In architecture, as in cupy, though not an exclusive, yet a prom- everything else, the works of the true inent, place, and they are largely illus- Middle Age, the time when two worlds trated by engravings. And both the stood side by side, is the time which, in German and the English writer give us the view of universal history, has an inalso an introduction specially devoted to terest beyond all other times. But with a sketch of the origin and growth of Ro- regard to architecture, just as with reman architecture down to the point at yard to other things, it is exactly the pewhich they unluckily stop. Both books riod which is least studied and least ungive the result of real research and sound derstood. It is neglected because of that scholarship, but of course the work of very transitional character which gives it Professor Reber, as specially devoted to its highest interest. There is a classical the buildings, treats their details in a school and there is a mediæval school; more elaborate and technical way. And each studies the works of its own favourif Professor Reber is a little too believ- ite class in the most minute detail ; but ing as to the traditions of early times, it the intermediate period, the period whose is a fault which does little damage in a works tie together the works on each work which by its nature is almost whol- side of it into one unbroken series, is ly concerned with the remains of the his- (looked on by both parties as lying withtorical ages. Our only complaint is that out its range. The classical purist looks so diligent an inquirer and so clear an on a basilican church as something hopeexpositor did not go on further. It lessly barbarous -- something put towould surely not have been a task un-gether out of fragments ruthlessly plunworthy of his powers to have given the dered from buildings of a better age. same skill with which he has traced out He sees a sign of degraded taste in the the buildings of earlier times to trace out greatest step in advance which architecthe first estate of the head church of 'ture ever took since the arch itself was

brought to perfection, in that bold stroke time of Augustus or Trajan. And this of genius by which Diocletian's architect belief is strengthened by the fact that, in at Spalato first called into being a consist-' the subsidiary arts, in painting, sculpture, ent round-arched style. On the other and the like, the later time really was a hand there is, or was a few years back, a time of decline. But when we once take school which looked on the old Saint in the position which the age of DiocleJohn's and the old Saint Peter's as build- tian and Constantine holds in universal ings only half escaped from paganism, history, we shall at once see that it is exand which professed itself grieved to see actly the age in which great architectural an Ionic or Corinthian capital placed, developments were to be looked for. It even in an architectural treatise, side by is certain, as the ornaments of the arch of side with what it was pleased to call Constantine prove, that in Constantine's “the sacred details of Christian art,” day the mere art of sculpture had gone By these “sacred details " were meant down not a little since the days of Trajan. the details of the architecture of England, It is certain also that the bricks of the age France, and Germany from the thirteenth of Constantine are not so closely and to the sixteenth centuries. Between two regularly fitted together as the bricks of such sets of narrow prejudices as these, the age of Nero. But there is no absurdthe buildings of the intermediate time, the ity in holding that, while the arts of the time when the true Roman construction sculptor and of the bricklayer went down, was throwing off its incongruous Grecian the art of the architect might go up. If mask, have, for the most part, fared but we allow that the chief merit of architecbadly. A small special school gave itself ture is consistency, that the constructive to their study, but they have been cast and the decorative system should go hand aside by the two larger schools on either in hand, architecture was certainly adside of it.

| vancing, while the subsidiary arts were I have more than once, in different decaying. Through the whole - classical ” ways, tried to set forth the seeming para- period construction and decoration were dox that the architecture of the so-called kept asunder: the construction was Ro“classic” days of Rome is really a tran- man ; the decoration was Greek. It was sition from the Grecian, the pure style of only in buildings which needed little or the entablature, to the Romanesque, the no decoration that the inconsistency is fully developed style of the round arch. avoided. In an amphitheatre the Greek The case is perfectly plain. The Greek elements are so secondary that they do architecture works its main constructive not force themselves on the eve; the features, the column and the entablature, half columns have sunk into something into its main ornamental features. The like the pilasters of a Romanesque buildRomanesque architecture also works its ing, and the general effect is that of a main constructive features, the round consistent round-arched style. In some arch and the piers or columns on which amphitheatres, and in bridges and aqueit rests, into its main ornamental features. | ducts, the Greek ornamental features vanThe classical Roman, coming between ish altogether, and we see the Roman the two, does not follow this universal law construction standing out in all its grand of all good architecture. Sometimes, as and simple majesty. Buildings of this in most of the temples, it simply imitates kind are the direct parents of the plainer Greek forms: in other buildings it com- and more massive forms of Romanesque, monly uses the round arch as the princi- such as we see in many of the great pal constructive feature, but masks it, as churches of Germany. But such a Style far as it can, under a system of decora- as this is essentially plain, essentially tion borrowed from the Greek construc- massive, and there are places where tion. This inconsistency marks the clas- buildings are wanted which are at once sical Roman style as an imperfect and lighter and more enriched. The begintransitional style. The difficulty in ac- nings of a light and ornamental roundcepting this doctrine comes from two arched style showed themselves when the causes. Till men have learned to take arch was first allowed to spring directly wide views of history as a whole, it is from the capital of the coluin. We now hard for them to believe that the time of have for the first time a pure and consiste the seeming decline of Rome was really ent round-arched style, better suited for the time of her new birth. It is hard for the inside of a church or ball or other them to believe that the time of Diocle- large building than the massive arches of tion and Constantine was, in architecture the amphitheatre and the aqueduct. And or in anything else, an advance on the when the column and arch were once es. tal lished as the main constructive fea- , the transplanted art of Greece ; we call tures, they naturally supplied a new sys- up before our eyes the full splendour of tem of decoration. As arched buildings the vast expanse of colonnades, the had once been inconsistently decorated ranges of temples and palaces and basilwith ornamental columns and entabla- icas, which covered the hills and valleys tures, they could now be consistently of Rome. Imagination fails as it strives decorated with ornamental arcades. We to conceive the spreading forest of marsee the beginning of this system as early ble which gathered round the soaring as the church of Suint Apollinaris at column from which the sculptured forın Classis ; and from thence, diverging at of Trajan looked down on his mighty one time into the wilder and ruder forms, works. And yet, if we could see them in oi Lorsch and Earls Barton, it grows into their splendour, an eye accustomed to the endless decorative arcades of Pisa other forms of art might perhaps grow and Lucca, and into the more moderate i weary of the endless repetition of one use of the same kind of enrichment in idea. We might feel that we had had the Romanesque of Normandy and Eng. more than enough of the stiff forms of lind. Thus it was that Romanesque grew the Grecian portico; we might weary of up. Change the form of the arch, de- horizontal lines, of flat roofs, however vise a system of mouldings and other or- rich with bronze or gilding. We might niments which suit the new form of arch, I long to see the unvaried outline broken and Romanesque changes into Gothic. by the spreading cupolas of Byzantium, Te hall of Sprlato is thus the true be- by the tall campaniles of mediæval Italy, ginning of every later form of good and or by the heaven-piercing spires of Gerconsistent architecture. It is the imme- ! many and England. We might feel too cinte parent of Durham and Pisa ; it is that, after all, the splendours of Rome the more distant parent of Westminster were not Roman, that the conqueror had and Amiens.

simply decked himself out in the bor. On the whole, the course of the earlier rowed plumes of conquered Hellas. In stages of this long history can be no- such a mood, we might turn away from where so well studied as in Rome. Rathe Temple of the Capitoline jupiter, renna has its own charm and its own les- from the vast Julian Basilica at its foot, 500. It has a perfectly unique collection to those works in which somewhat of a of buillings of an age of which there are Roman spirit showed itself beneath the few buillings elsewhere. In the later mask and varnish of the foreign sysOrms of Romanesque Rome is far less tem of ornament. A plain arch of brick, rich than Pisa and Lucca, or than Milan even if put together with the utmost aad Pavia; and of Gothic, even of Italian skill of the days of Nero, is in itself a far Gothic, there is at Rome all but an abso- less beautiful object than a fluted column lute lack. But nowhere else can we find crowned by a Corinthian capital. But on the same store of pagan and early Chris- the soil of Rome the arch of brick is natian buildings standing side by side. tive, and the Corinthian capital is foreign. Vowhere therefore can we so weil trace A day was to come when the foreign form out the steps by which the inconsistent of beauty was to be pressed into the serCoussical Roman style was improved into vice of the native form of construction ; the consistent Romanesque. We start but that day was still far distant. The from the very beginning. We have seen two forms still stood side by side, either in Rome theinvention - one of the many standing wholly apart or else welded into independent inventions of the arch it. one whole by a process of union much self. But, as far as we can see, Rome like that which was delighted in by the filed to make the most of her own inven- mythical Etruscan tyrant.* We might 177. If we had any perfect buildings of mark, as we still mark, with more of wonthe time of the Kings and of the early der than of pleasure, the attempt of hipublic, we should be better able to blow out our subject. But, as far as we need hardly quote the description of the Vircan see, the charm of Greek art, the ex- gilian Mezentius: ausite loveliness of Greek forms, cut “Mortua quinetiam jungebat corpora vivis." short all native effort in this as in other Certainly nothing can be more truly living than the wars. Rome, in her most brilliant days. I grand conception of the really Rornan part of the

duy, Pantheon, while the Greek portico had become someLiled to form a native architecture, just thing very nearly dead, with the unfluted columns, the 25 she failed to form a native literature. I disproporrionate pediment, and the frieze where -- \n

doubiediy very much for the convenience of historians

the name of a living man took the place once allotted site examples which Rome has to show of to the sculptured forins of gods and heroes.

[ocr errors]

E BUILDINGS OF ROME.

Hooked for. We are told that the Janus Suadrifrons was once adorned with dehed columns; but they are gone and do not miss them. The old Latin

might be well satisfied with the four

arches and the vault which were the
stion of his own land; he needed not
further enrichment of features bor-
d from the temples of the deities of

mythology. In all these exam-
and in many more - wherever, in

use came first and decoration id- the Roman forms hold an uo

Ved supremacy, and sometimes they have banished the foreign element alto

Ter But it was a higher achievement

Constantine, as they

the se

features. They grace and made to give equal grace and

man

RECENT WORKS ON THE BUILDINGS OF Agrippa to tie on a would-be Grecian looked for. We. portico to a truly Roman body. And Quadrifrons was when we see that the classic architect tached columns : bu knew no better way of lighting so great we do not miss ther and splendid a pile than by making a hole deity might be well sa in the top which left its pavement to be bold arches and the va drenched by every passing shower, we creation of his own land might turn to the ranges of windows in the further enrichme some despised early Christian church, rowed from the temples of and think that, in one respect at least, another mythology. In a the builders of the days of Constantine ples, and in many more. and Theodosius had made some improve- short, use came first an ments on the arts of the days of Augus- second - the Roman for tus. From such an incongruous union doubted supremacy, and som of two utterly distinct principles of build- have banished the forejor ing we might turn with satisfaction to gether. But it was a higher a those buildings where the real Roman to lay hold on the noblest featur spirit prevails, more truly Roman some-foreign style, to press it into the times in their decay, when the Greek cas- of the native construction, to teach the ing has been picked away from them, columns of Greece to bear the than they could ever have been in the Rome. What the entablature was days of their perfection. The Baths Greek system the arch was in the R of Caracalla, the Temple of Venus and and no greater step in the history of Rome, the Basilica of Maxentius or of was ever taken than when it was found Constantine, as they now stand ruined, that the column which had given so much show only their Roman features. They grace and beauty to the one construction amaze us by the display of the construc- could be made to give equal grace and tive powers of the arch on the very beauty to the other. At the bidding of grandest scale. In the days of their Diocletian consistent round-arched archiglory, features of Greek decoration, beau- tecture first showed itself. The restorer tiful no doubt in themselves, but out of and organizer of the Empire might fitplace as the mask of such a noble reality, tingly be also the restorer and organizer must have marred the vast and simple of the building art. The Emperor who majesty of the true Roman building. As handed on the legacy of Rome to so many it is we see in them links in a chain ages might well be also the creator of a which takes in the Cloaca Maxima at one type of building which contained in itself end and the naves of Mainz and Speyer the germ of every good and consistent at the other, when they were perfect, building which was to follow it. their exotic features might have made It is at this point that our guides fail them as inharmonious as the Pantheon. us, that they hand us over to other We can admire the theatre of Marcellus, guides, and that they leave us to bridge we can almost forgive the purpose of the the chasm which yawns between them Flavian Amphitheatre, when we see how for ourselves. Chasm in truth there is completely the Roman element has tri none; all is true and genuine growth, umphed over the Greek. So, in one fea- step by step, though the battle was long ture especially Roman, one for which the and hard, longer and harder in Rome habits and the arts of other nations could itself than it was elsewhere. At Ravenna supply no parallel, in the triumphal | the triumph of the arched system, with arches, we see the native Roman forms the arches resting on columns, seems to stand forth as the leading feature of have been complete from the moment the structure, while the Greek features, that the city became an Imperial dwellthe columns added simply for ornament, (ing-place. Nowhere in the buildings of gradually lose their importance. In the Placidia or Theodoric do we see the arches of Severus and Constantine the columns still supporting the entablature. columns have lost much of the import- | Nowhere at Ravenna are the horizontal ance which they have in the arches of lines of the outside of the Grecian temple Drusus and Titus. and Titus. But the most con- transferred to the inside of the Christian

But the most consistent work of the kind is really the de- church. But the triumph of the new style spised arch of Gallienus, where the round was perhaps less thorough because it was arch boldly spans the way, and where so speedy. Nowhere at Ravenna does the the Greek element has shrunk up into a arch rest, as it does at Spalato, at once on shallow pilaster which has almost to be the abacus of the column. An interme.

« ПредишнаНапред »