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The Stones of Venice, Volume 3

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: 
. . .eth up;” and the father of all modern science, writing directly in its praise, yet asserts this danger even in more absolute terms, calling it a “venomousness” in the very nature of knowledge itself.

§ XXXI. There is, indeed, much difference in this respect between the tendencies of different branches of knowledge; it being a sure rule that exactly in proportion as they are inferior, nugatory, or limited in scope, their power of feeding pride is greater. Thus philology, logic, rhetoric, and the other sciences of the schools, being for the most part ridiculous and trifling, have so pestilent an effect upon those who are devoted to them, that their students cannot conceive of any higher sciences than these, but fancy that all education ends in the knowledge of words: but the true and great sciences, more especially natural history, make men gentle and modest in proportion to the largeness of their apprehension, and just perception of the infinit. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Much more limited than the first two volumes and, to me, much less interesting. This volume (The Decline) is merely a run down on the degradation of Venetian architecture that coincided with the introduction of Renaissance architecture and the decline of the city on the world stage. Some interesting

The last volume in this famous trilogy, John Ruskin offers his most subjective assessment of Venetian architecture yet. With a critical approach typical of the Victorian Period, one will receive an excessive amount of postulating, hyperbole, and florid prose, but the result is still an extremely imp

If you're going to read just one book before visiting Venice, find something else, for this three volume set is far too long and should be read slowly. You'll be amazed how little you knew about architecture, how interesting it is from basic wall to intricacy of ornament, and how much and how well t