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The Stones of Venice, Volume 2

John Ruskin

Book Overview: 

The Stones of Venice is a three-volume treatise on Venetian art and architecture by English art historian John Ruskin. Intending to prove how the architecture in Venice exemplified the principles he discussed in his earlier work, The Seven Lamps of Architecture, Ruskin examined the city in detail, describing for example over eighty churches. He discusses architecture of Venice's Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance periods, and provides a general history of the city as well. The book aroused considerable interest in Victorian Britain and beyond. The chapter "The Nature of Gothic" (from volume 2) was admired by William Morris, who published it separately in an edition which is in itself an example of Gothic revival. It inspired Marcel Proust; the narrator of the Recherche visits Venice with his mother in a state of enthusiasm for Ruskin. The Stones of Venice is considered one of the most influential books of the 19th century.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The intention is farther confirmed by the singular variation in the breadth of the small fillet which encompasses the inner marble. It is much narrower at the bottom than at the sides, so as to recover the original breadth in the lower border.

15 Its elevation is given to scale in fig. 4, Plate XIII., below.

16 “Luogo de’ ninfe e de’ semidei.”—M. Andrea Calmo, quoted by Mutinelli, Annali Urbani di Venezia (Venice, 1841), p. 362.

17 “The women, even as far back as 1100, wore dresses of blue, with mantles on the shoulder, which clothed them before and behind.”—Sansorino.

It would be difficult to imagine a dress more modest and beautiful. See Appendix 7.


“Whom Eve destroyed, the pious Virgin Mary redeemed;

All praise her, who rejoice in the Grace of Christ.”

Vide Appendix 8.


CHAPTER IV. ST. MAR. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I adored this book. I was shocked at the great combination of poetic evocation with nuts-and-bolts practicality - moving from his practical introduction to the basics of architecture, which helped me a lot, to his prose-poetry about the delights of travel in the pre-railroad era. It's like a textboo

Many people, capable of quickly sympathizing with any excellence, when once pointed out to them, easily deceive themselves into the supposition that they are judges of art.

I recently went on a short trip to Venice, for which I chose an abridged version of this work to accompany me. Ruskin is an

Caro Rus, sorvolando sulla tua idiosioncrasia (massì, chiamiamola col suo nome, odio totale) per tutto quello che viene dopo il gotico, e massimamente per quell'orrore architettonico prima ancora che culturale del Rinascimento, ho molto apprezzato le dritte per distinguere gli archi che meritano una

This is a gorgeous ode to Venice by art critic John Ruskin (adored by Marcel Proust). If you love Venice and you love art and culture, this is an essential book. If you have never been to Venice, this and Jan Morris's Venice are perfect ways to prepare your voyage!

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