“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ruskin's Definition of Gothic

British art critic John Ruskin, in his work “The Stones of Venice”, wrote that there are six characteristic elements of Gothic architecture--1. Savageness/rudeness. 2. Changefulness/love of change. 3. Naturalism/love of nature 4. Grotesqueness/disturbed imagination 5. Rigidity/obstinacy. 6. Redundance/generosity. He claimed that Gothic architecture “was intended to imply reproach, and express the barbaric character of the nations among whom that architecture arose.” He was referring to the Goths, a Germanic people who ended up conquering the Roman Empire. Ruskin believed that Gothic workmanship was rude and imperfect, representing the soul of the creator. But he did believe that it was still beautiful. He mentioned that the glass created by Gothic Venetians “was muddy, inaccurate in all its forms, and clumsily cut, if at all.” However, “the old Venetian was justly proud of it.” While the Gothics creations were imperfect, they were beautiful in their own eyes due to the imperfections. Ruskin stressed that imperfections are what make a piece exquisite and unique.

This is a typical view of the fallen man. Man views his imperfections as unique and good, while God views our imperfections as evil and worthy of death (Rom 3:10; 6:23). On our own, we can never become perfect physically, mentally, or spiritually. It is Christ, through His eternal sacrifice, who makes us perfect forever (Heb 10:14).

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