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gent enthusiasm, and brought back to France prolific seeds of Greek sentiment. This sentiment afterwards took. form in what was known a few years ago in Paris as "the Romantic School," which consisted in the admission of a larger scope of invention and in the refinement of architectural forms by somewhat of the Greek feeling for purity and elegance of line. It was rather a Renaissance of Greek expressions than of Greek principles, and, owing to the facility with which even caprices could assume an air of studious elegance under this treatment, it became so popular and so well suited to French taste, that, after the construction of the Library of St. Genevieve by M. Labrouste, the prejudices of the Academy were overcome, and it became an essential element of French architecture.

Meanwhile, in this uncongenial atmosphere, the Gothic or mediæval school received its chief encouragement from the archæological spirit; and M. Lassus and M. Viollet-le-Duc became engaged, not in the legitimate and practical development of their theories of art, but in the restoration of the Gothic monuments of France.

The academic style of Paris has thus enjoyed the unprecedented advantage of an undisturbed growth of four hundred years in the hands of the wealthiest and most artistic people in the world. They have lavished upon the Roman orders and upon their Italian derivatives of the fifteenth century · a basis of a few simple architectural motifs all the decoration and refinement of nearly four centuries of industrious and consistent culture. What wonder if the civilized world accepts the extraordinary result with admiration? Elsewhere, it may be said, architecture has suffered from anarchy; here is what may be accomplished by the vigorous administration of art. Why ask for it ( the blessing of perfect freedom, when discipline can achieve If all this is wrong, where shall we look for the right? Who shall tell us how we can develop good architecture? Who, in short, shall interpret for us the architectural myth?

such triumphs?

There has hitherto been such a mystery about the practice of architecture, such an unexplained accumulation of formulas and rules, such peremptory exclusions on the one part, such affectations of lawlessness and caprice on the other, such a warfare between the picturesque and the symmetrical, that the theory of architecture has gone begging for a rational exposition. Literary enterprise both in France and England has occupied this tempting field of speculation with more or less of dogmatic assertion. In France the æsthetic faculty is by birth and growth so diffused, that criticism in the hands of Quatrèmere de Quincy and other men of letters has been kept in a work



manlike track, and has done its work with comparative modesty and efficiency. But in England, to use the words of a late writer in the "North American Review," ""since Mr. Ruskin set the example of a literary man erecting himself into a dictator on questions of art, we have been subjected to a fearful tyranny in æsthetics. It is true that no one else has carried matters so far nor with so high a hand, but there are innumerable petty despots laying down the laws of the sublime and beautiful, who only lack the ability to be as peremptory, as arbitrary, and as paradoxical as he." Thus, in the absence of a natural appreciation in regard to art and taste, the literary view of the theory of architecture has with us absorbed popular attention and moulded popular opinion. As for the architects, they have, with few exceptions, addressed no word of explanation to the public, and the speculators have had the field to themselves; indeed, in this country and in England certainly, the art itself for the last twenty has been affected rather by prejudices based upon the literary exposition of the question than by convictions founded upon practical knowledge,—rather, in short, by sentiment than by reason. Since the publication of the "Seven Lamps of Architecture" and the "Stones of Venice," the characteristic expres-. sion of English architecture has been obviously colored by the medieval monuments of Northern Italy. Many conspicuous structures have been directly inspired by these examples. The Manchester Assize Courts, the new Town Halls, most of the designs for the new Law Courts in London, would scarcely have existed in their present form but for this predominance of letters in art. It is premature to declare, perhaps, that these phenomena are evidences of more than an ephemeral fashion. M. Viollet-le-Duc maintains in the text (without reference, however, to this phase of actual experience) that the architecture of Northern Italy developed biographies and not history, and that it can accordingly afford but little profitable instruction. He also elsewhere very justly remarks that a true Renaissance has never arisen from corrupted types: "Only primitive sources can furnish the energy for a long career." But if, as has been asserted in some quarters, this adaptation of Southern motifs in a Northern architecture contains the elements of a just and reasonable progress towards a national style, this new English Renaissance exhibits curious and instructive contrasts with that of the sixteenth century in France; while the latter was the result of warlike conquests, and followed in the footsteps of French armies returning with captives and spoils from Italian cities, the former has come in this nineteenth century from the same fountain of art through the peaceful medium of literature and critical exegesis. However, we are witnesses of a rebellion taking place at this moment in the

very strongholds of these

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English mediævalists, in the revival here and there throughout England of the long square windows, the brick panels, the attenuated orders, the fretted and ornamented gable lines of the reign of Queen Anne. Is this an indication of anarchy, or is it a healthy reaction from a mere artificial excitement? We have noted the results of the discipline of the schools in France, in the scholastic elegance and finish of their monuments. Is this picturesque and uneasy groping after a type in England likely to result in something nobler than the façades of the Hôtel de Ville of Paris and of the New Opera? In this condition of doubt we may welcome any man of trained observation and large professional experience, acquainted with the technicalities and manipulations of the various crafts whose labors enter into the construction of a building, — any architect, who is willing and able to explain the sources of his convictions. And here at last is a man who has studied, measured, analyzed, and drawn Greek and Roman monuments in Italy and the Greek colonies, certainly with singular fidelity and intelligence; who has rebuilt and completed the great Gothic château of Pierrefonds, built the town-halls of Narbonne and St. Antonin, restored numerous churches, constructed the flêche and sacristy of the Cathedral of Paris; repaired the fortifications of Carcassonne; architect of the works on the cathedrals of Laon, Sens, and Amiens, and the abbeys of St. Denis and Vézelay; author of the exhaustive Dictionnaire Raisonné de l'Architecture Française, du Xe au XVIe Siècles, and other works of large research. Thus equipped, M. Viollet-le-Duc appears upon the scene, and endeavors to set forth the true sources of design; how best to analyze, classify, and use the enormous accumulation of precedents in all styles, by which we are so seriously embarrassed; how to receive the developments of modern science in the arts of construction, and how to give them place and due expression in our modern architecture; how to subject all our fancies, impressions, and prejudices to rigid philosophical investigation, and how thus to create new things fairly representative of the spirit of modern civilization, if not the new style for which literary criticism is constantly clamoring. We do not mean to assert that M. Viollet-le-Duc has succeeded in all these things, but we think it important to give a new publicity to this honest and earnest effort, and to place it side by side with similar essays of literary men and amateurs, that it may do its work with theirs.

It will be observed, as a characteristic of his argument, and as a reassuring fact to the professional reader, that at every step the allurements of mere sentiment, so irresistible to the layman, are distrusted, and that the

premises of every conclusion claim to be practical facts in the arts of building. It is admitted, of course, that he starts with a strong professional bias in opposition to the practice of architecture as carried on under the inspiration of the School of Fine Arts, and with a zealous admiration of the principles both of Greek and of mediæval art; but if his argument is logical, his appreciation of the great historical and contrasting styles reasonably discriminating and just, and his field of observation large and well occupied, we may well pardon the bias for the sake of his contributions to knowledge and the picturesque contrasts of his historical retrospect. Convictions based upon practical knowledge, gained from experience and observation, even if involving some professional bias or one-sidedness, are at least worthy of comparison with theories evolved in the literary manner and subject to the literary temptations of arbitrary statement and sweeping generalizations.

We Americans occupy a new country, having no inheritance of ruins and no embarrassments of tradition in matters of architecture; we are absolutely free from historical prejudice; and yet with our great future we have a constant and growing necessity to make of architecture a living and growing art; we may therefore be in a position peculiarly well adapted to appreciate at its just value any honest and earnest effort to give this art true development according to modern necessities. The great range of architectural precedents at no point touches our local domain or concerns our national pride. We are so far removed from such entanglements, that we alone of all civilized people may be said to occupy a position of judicial impartiality, and perhaps to us, therefore, with our obviously great material resources, may be intrusted the duty of finding a new solution of the architectural problem. If this be our great function, let us be worthy of it; let us prepare ourselves, whether as architects or critics, by understanding our duties.

But why, it may be asked, being so free and untrammelled, may we not break off from the past entirely and create a new American architecture, — why not begin afresh? To this, of course, there can be but one intelligent reply. All the past is ours; books, engravings, photographs, have so multiplied, that at any moment we can turn to and examine the architectural achievements of any age or nation. These suggestions of beauty and use are always with us. It must not be forgotten that the most essential distinction between the arts of primitive barbarism and those of civilization is that, while the former are original and independent, and consequently simple, the latter must be retrospective, naturally turning to tradition and precedent, and are therefore complex. A beginning once made by primitive dis

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covery and experiment, art, like nature, must thenceforward proceed by derivation and development; and where architectural monuments and traditions have accumulated to the vast extent that they have in modern times, the question is not whether we shall use them at all, but how shall we choose. among them, and to what extent shall such choice be allowed to influence our modern practice.


It is not to be inferred that the "hope of modern architecture "— to use the imposing phraseology of the latest petty tyrant of art resides in the library of the antiquary. His researches among the architectural characteristics of nations are made in an entirely different spirit from those of the architect. The former seeks among the monuments of the past for illustrations and vouchers in his historical studies, and, by curious analysis and patient comparison, to place before us in all their minute details such restorations as shall enable those monuments to play the part of authentic archives of human progress. His function is to make out of these the complement and completion of the political story and of the records of princes and parties. He aims to discover in tombs, temples, cathedrals, abbeys, and palaces, in all religious and civic structures, whether of pomp or necessity, deliberate and unconscious expressions of the prevailing sentiments, the social and political condition of the people in any given time. But such studies do not make architects nor affect architecture further than to create such a spirit of imitation, and, with it, such a mania for absolute "correctness" and such an abject fear of anachronism, as. in England, during the early part of this century and up to within twenty years perhaps, bound the art hand and foot, and proved a stumbling-block in the path of its progress. The architect has felt himself called upon to make arbitrary selection of the "style" in which he would design his building, and to be "correct" in his archæological reproduction of its minutest details, leaving little room for the free spirit of invention, and no opportunity for the honest adaptation of his work to the new social and material conditions constantly pressed upon him in the advance of knowledge. If his work was in "Early English," he must anxiously consult his authorities, lest some characteristic detail of an earlier or later period should find its way into his design and ruin his reputation. Under the pressure of this widely prevailing spirit of antiquarianism, Sir Charles Barry was constrained to meet the exceedingly complicated requirements of the new Houses of Parliament with a masquerade of obsolete architecture of the time of Henry VII.

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