Ginzburg - _- .r: ,, kqufi: $1.153 rvmumygmmmd...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–12. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
Background image of page 9

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 10
Background image of page 11

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 12
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: _- .r: ,, kqufi: $1.153 rvmumygmmmd éiuieoz—Cq Ml Q. I'MHJBYDF CTI/lAb u 3HOXA HPOMEHH COBFEMENNOM APXNTEA‘TYPN I'OCYAAPCTDEHMOE MJAATEAbCTbO HOCKbA Title page ofthe original ediliou nr'Style and Epoch. Preface‘ Architectural style and modernity? The modernity ofpuritying storms. when the erected biiildin have scarcely numbered in the tens? So what style can there be any talk about? This is certainly the attitude of persons who are free from the doubts and delusions plaguing those in pursuit of new directions. of paths to new que sts; it is the attitude of those who patiently await the final results with tally in hand and verdict on their lips. But their time has not yet come; their turn still lies ahead. The pages of the present book are devoted not: to What has already been accomplished, but only to meditations on what is being accomplished, meditations on the phase now proceeding from the already dead past to the emerging modernity, on the throes of the evolving new style dictated by the new life, a style whose aspect is still not clear but is nonetheless desired, growing and becoming stronger among those who are looking to the future with confidence. l The lnl>lr theses of the [H't‘M‘HI unrk \iere M‘l inrili by me on .\l:l\‘ IN. 1933. .i. ii lerture ileliwred at lliz‘ Mi»in Architectural Sour-Ly Illus-A‘mwmu Vll'klll’t A'hu'mwIlli,<l'«'lws!!‘lr|, on February 5. 15131. the eminent ul'tlie already completed book was read by me at the Rll>>lali Academy of Artistic Srienres Iliumviskuin .»lA‘mlennni Khmluflu \m n «wk/i Null/c l. 1. ‘ Style. Elements of Architectural Style. Continuity and Independence in the Change of Styles 1w \Hlllillllnvhlhh ill nmm [With Tin-mill .i. \‘vlllllllllllll.llll1lll_'.ill'rllllhuFillll'l'rI‘lllxl‘l ln 4 WM. «l .n u in lmmwn" ll \\'ul['llna. I." wwmn. 4:an Illler/Hl Battleship or nearly two centuries architectural creativity in Europe has lived parasite Fcally off its past. At a time when the other arts somehow managed to move forward, systematically transforming their revolutionary innovators into “clas- sics,” architecture persisted, with unparalleled stubbornness, in refusing to tear its sights away from the ancient world or from the epoch of the Italian Renais— sance. Academies of art were concerned with nothing more. it seems. than weeding out young people’s enthusiasm for the new and leveling their aptitude for creative work without, however, teaching them to see in the creations of the past the system of legitimate development that always flows inevitably out of the vital structure of the epoch and thus derives its true meaning only in that context. Consequently, such “academic” training yielded two results: the pupil lost touch with modernity and, at the same time. remained alienated from the true spirit ofthe great creations of the past This also explains why artists seek- ing to express a purely modern understanding of form in their art often deliber« ately ignore all the aesthetic accomplishments of past epochs. However. a thoughtful examination of the art ofthe past and ofthe creative at— mosphere in which it evolved leads to different conclusions It is precisely ex, perience. consolidated in the creative efforts of centuries, that quite clearly shows the modern artist his path—the bold quest, the daring pursuit ofthe new, and the joy of creative discoveriesvthe whole thorny path, which ends in triumph only when the movement is genuine and the aspiration vivid and washed ashore by a vital, truly mod» ern wave. Such was the art ofall the best periods of human existence, and, of course, such it must be today as well. If we recall the harmonious environ- ment in which the Parthenon was .;~--;‘;3~' -.-»—-" ..=:. ._i;..:.—‘.~.I>.‘-?:'.-:¢' ¥ » created, how the syndicates of wool and silk producers competed with one another during the epoch of the Italian Renaissance for the superior realization ofan aesthetic ideal, or how the women peddling vegetables and small wares responded to the new details ofa cathedral under construction, then we shall clearly understand that the entire matter comes down to the fact that both the architect ofthe cathedral and the old woman peddling vegetables breathed the same air and were contemporaries. True, everyone is also aware of historical examples of how the authentic prophets of new form remained misunderstood by their contemporaries, but this is merely indicative ofthe fact that these artists intuitively anticipated and sur- passed a modernity that, after a certain fairly significant period oftime, caught up with them. If a truly modern rhythm begins to reverberate in a modern form in unison with the rhythms of labor and the joys of the present day, then naturally it will at length also have to be heard by those whose life and toil create that rhythm. It can be said that the artist’s craft and any other craft will then proceed toward a single goal, and there will inevitably come a time when, finally, all these lines will intersect, i.e., when we shall discover our great style, in which the acts of crea— tion and contemplation will become fused—when the architect renders his deA signs in the same style as the tailor makes his garments; when a choral song, in its rhythm, easily unites extraneous and diverse rhythms; when epic drama and 0,9 15‘ street humor are embraced, for all their diversity ofform. by common character- istics of one and the same language. Such are precisely the symptoms ofany au- thentic and healthy style, in which the cause and interdependence“ of all these phenomena will be found upon serious analysis to derive from the basic factors of the epoch. Thus we arrive in earnest at the concept ofstylc. \\ hich is so often applied in dif- ferent contexts and which we shall attempt to decipher. Indeed, at first glance. this word is full of ambiguity. We use style in connection with a new theatrical production. and we use style in regard to the fashion ofa lady's hat. We often subsume in the word style characteristics peculiar to the most subtle nuances ofart (we say, for example, "the style ofthe forties" or “the style of Michele Sanmicheli"), and we sometimes attribute to it the meaning of entire epochs or ofa cluster ofcenturies (as. for example. "the Egyptian style" or “the style of the ltenaissance"!. In all these instances \w ha\ c in mind a certain natural iiiiiix 'l..it is til\t‘t‘l'llllilt‘ in the phenomena under consideration. Certain characteristics of style in art can be discerned if we compare its evolu» tion with that ofother realms ofhuman activity, such as science, for example. Iii- deed, the genesis ofscientific thought presupposes a continuous chain ofproposi— tions, in which each new proposition proceeds from an old one and thus outgrows the latter. Here, there is direct evidence ofdefinite growth, ofan increase in the objective value of thought. This is how chemistry outgrew alchemy and ren— dered it obsolete, and this is how the latest research methods have become more precise and scientific than the old ones; the individual having a command of the modern physical sciences has advanced beyond Newton or Galileo.1 In other words, we are dealing here with the case ofa single, integral, and perpetually evolving organism. The case is somewhat different for an artistic creation. which first and foremost satisfies itself and the environment that has engendered it, as well as for a crea— tion that actually fulfills its goals and, as such, cannot be surpassed.2 Thus, it is extremely difficult to apply the word progress to art; the word is germane only in the context of the technical potentialities ofart. There are certain things that are different and new in art—forms and their combinations—which sometimes can- not be anticipated; and just as an artistic creation represents something of value, so it remains unsurpassed in its particular value. Indeed, can it be said that the artists ofthe Renaissance surpassed the artists ofGreece, or that the Temple at Karnak is inferior to the Pantheon? Of course not. It is only possible to say that just as the Temple at Karnak is the result ofthe particular environment that en— gendered it and can only be understood against the background ofthis environ— ment, of its material and spiritual culture, so the perfection of the Pantheon is the result ofsimilar factors, which are virtually independent ofthe merits of the Karnak temple. It is well known that the characteristics of the flat Egyptian fresco, unfolding its narrative in horizontal bands placed one on top of another, are not symptomatic 1- of the imperfection ongyptian art but are simply a reflection ofthe characteris— if tic Egyptian understanding of form, for which such a method proved not only the k; 39 l. lonas Kim (Jonas ('oliii), (His/whom I’Nfeflka [General Aesthetics}, trans. Samson (Moscow: (losizdat, 1921). 3. The distinction between science and art is discussed by Schiller. See his letters to Fichte of 3-4 August 1975 [sic]. (l’i's'nm [Letters], I\'. p. 222.) [Ginzburg likely was citing the Russian edition of Schiller's letters: Poliioe sohrtiiiie pisem (Complete t‘ollecton of Letters), 7 vols. (St. I’etersburg, 15974.] best, but also the only one bringing complete satisfaction. Were a modern pic- ture to be shown to an Egyptian. it doubtless would be subjected to very harsh criticism. The Egyptian would find it to be both inexpressive and unpleasant to the eye; he would be compelled to say that the picture was a bad one. And we. conversely, in evaluating the aesthetic merits of Egyptian perspective, after having obtained a completely different conception of perspective from the art- ists ofthe Italian Renaissance. must not only comprehend all of Egyptian art as a whole, but also perform a certain feat of reincarnation: we must strive to pene- trate the Egyptians mode of perceiving the world around him. What, then, for someone investigating the arts, should be the interrelationship between an Egyptian and a Renaissance fresco? Naturally, the commonly accepted meaning ofthe word progress is not applicable here. as we certainly could not argue objec- tively that the Egyptian fresco is "worse" than that of the Renaissance. or that the Renaissance system of perspective obliterates the Egyptian system of fres- coes and divests it of its appeal. On the contrary. we know that along with the one developed in the Renaissance there exists a different kind of perspective system. tag, that oftheJapanese. which has been charting its own course; that we are capable even today of deriving pleasure from Egyptian mural painting; and finally, that modern artists sometimes intentionally distort the system of Italian perspective in their own work. At the same time. a person making use of the achievements in electricity cannot. under any circumstances, be forced to re- vert to steam power, which must in any case be recognized objectively as having been superseded and thus incapable of instilling in us either a sense of admira- tion or a desire to imitate it. It is quite apparent that we are dealing here with different kinds of phenomena. This difference between two kinds of human activity—the artistic and the scien- tific—does not. however, prevent us from taking this opportunity to affirm‘the fact that the art of the Italian Renaissance contributed its share to the universal method of creative work and enriched it with a new system of perspective that was unknown prior to that time. ‘hus, we are ultimately dealing here with a certain growth. expansion, and en- richment ofart, which is quite real and objectively discernible, but which does not abolish in the process the previously existing method of creative work. Ac- cordingly, it is possible to speak in a certain sense of the evolution of art, of the progress of art, quite apart from its technical aspect. Only this progress or evolution can culminate in the capacity to evolve new val- ues and new creative systems. thereby enriching mankind as a whole. However, this enrichment, this emergence of the new in art cannot be called forth by chance. by a fortuitous invention of new forms and new creative methods. We have already said that the Egyptian fresco, like the fifteenth-century Italian painting, can be understood and hence receive the benefit of objective evaluation only after all the art contemporary with it has been comprehended as a whole. Frequently, however, even this is not enough. It is necessary to become ac- quainted with all the realms of human activity that were contemporary with the given painting, with the social and economic structure of the epoch and its climatic and national characteristics. in order fully to comprehend it. A person appears to be one way and not another not because of the “fortuitousness” of his birth. but as a result of the highly complex influences he has experienced, the so- 40 1.“... w" Maw—nu .. cial environment surrounding him, and the effects of natural and economic condi— tions. Only the sum total of all these factors can engender a particular spiritual disposition in a person and beget in him a particular world outlook and system of artistic thought that guides human genius in one direction or another. However great the collective or individual genius of the creator, however origi- nal and resilient the creative process, there is a causal interdependence between practical. real-lifefactors and a man's system ot'artistic thought, and, in turn, between the [atterand the/ormal creative work ot'an artist; and it is precisely the existence of this interdependence that explains both the character of the evolu— tion of art that we have spoken about and the need for a transformation that fos- ters the objective historical evaluation of a work of art. However, this interde— pendence must not be understood in too elementary a manner. The same basic causes are sometimes capable of eliciting different results: misfortune can at times sap our strength and at other times build it up many times over. depending upon the particular character traits ofthe individual. In precisely the same man- ner. we can. depending upon the nature of the genius peculiar to either an indi< vidual or a people. detect one result in some instances and. conversely, the oppov site result in others. In both instances. however, it is not possible to dismiss the presence of this causal interdependence which provides the only background against which a work ofart can be evaluated, not on the basis ofa personaljudg- ment ot'taste. in terms (it“liking” it or “not liking” it, but as an objective histori- cal phenomenon. Formal comparisons can only be made among works ofart be- longing to a single epoch or a single style; only within these limits is it possible to establish formal attributes for works of art. The better ones among them, the ones responding most expressively to the system ofartistic thought that engenv dered them, are usually those which have acquired a better formal language. It is not possible, from a qualitative standpoint, to compare an Egyptian fresco and an Italian painting. Doing so would only produce one result: it would point to two distinct systems of artistic creation, each one having its own sources in a differ- ent environment. This is why it is impossible for a modern artist to create an Egyptian fresco; this is why eclecticism, however brilliant its representatives, is genetically barren in most instances. It does not create anything “new,” does not enrich art and, con- sequently, in the evolutionary course ofart, yields not a plus but a minus, not an expansion but a compromising combination of often incompatible aspects. An examination of the most varied products ofhuman activity in any epoch, par— ticularly any forms of artistic endeavor, reveals that despite the diversity brought about by organic and individual causes, they all have something in com— mon, some indication that, in its collective social origins,b gives rise to the con— cept of style. The same social and cultural conditions, methods and means ofpro— duction, and climate, the same outlook and psychology all leave a common mark on the most diverse formations. Consequently, it is not surprising that the ar- chaeologist who, a thousand years later, uncovers a pitcher or a statue or a frag— ment of clothing will be able, on the basis of such common characteristics, to at- tribute these objects to one epoch or another. W‘o‘lfflin, in his examination of the Renaissance and Baroque, has shown the range of human activity in which it is possible to trace the characteristics of style: he says that the manner of standing or walking, ofdraping a coat in one way or another, of wearing a narrow or wide shoe, of each sundry detail—all these can serVe as indications ofa style. Thus, 41 W ., ,. . . ‘efinite 5i. ()sval d shticnizler “SWIM Whittier). the word style signifies cot—Iain kinds oi nathl1 Phenomen‘i that lmPODB‘d five Z‘lk‘" E’TWW lThe Dt‘Cline Dime We“ 1- traits on all manifestations o fhuman activityv large and_sman' qulte inebpec 1 vol. 1; Russian trans. lby L. I). Frenkel. “fwhether or nm their coniemporaries might have aspired to or even have been (VimctmvPetrt ad: Mt : l' at} . 1923. . , , ‘ ‘ I ' “ " from the crea- 4“ NFikolai] [a- Janilevsrxoéiiujl I at all aware of them. Revert heless, the law: ehmmdtmg chance . i v . ressiveness for 5pm,,“ “3911‘”; Ha kunmwma , tion of any man—made pro duct assume thelr 0“ “kcgncremiggin one way and politic/kaun onzosheuzia 51mm its/toga each facet oi'creative activi ty. Thus, a musical WU! 1b 01 gam d d b’ dif- nura A‘ gcrmanskomu. Russia and a literary work in another. Yet in these rather dlfferent laWS, engenberiej y i e v , ~ .V , , e .. (iscernet Europe. A \ 1e“ oi the (,ultural and ferences m the formal met bed and language of each artform, can e _ Political Relations between the blaVlC and i . t , - crystallizmg the whole and bind German Worlds] (3d ed. [St Petersburg: tier-Pam mmmon'.umfied premlses‘ soAmeth'mgl in the broad sense Of the word. "Obshchestvennaia poi'za"], 155m, ing it together—in other w o rds, a unity o] 532/ 6 Thus, the determination ot‘ t he style of an artistic phenomenon can be regime: as being definitive when it L n cludes not only an Illumination 0fth'6 OKgZLnlljlat ltmm laws of that phenomenon. liut also the establishment or adefinite in he weht' these laws and the given h istorical epoch. and a verification of them t routg a comparison with other forms of creative. work human actix poranmus \\’1[l‘1[l1£1[i'ptlt‘ll, It L't‘l‘tailll)’ is not [tutti-111101111 10 “Tm :1” 1‘9 d :h ) ship for any of the historical styles. The indii'isible connection )etw eeii it ‘t‘ monuments ofthe Acropolia‘. the statues of Phl‘ll'dfi 0" I ()[3’k18110§vPhefrégit“: ofAeschylus and Euripides, the economy and culture othreece, itspo itita ant social order, its clothing an d utensils and sky “ml [Urram'ds Just 35 m‘de'btmul‘ ble, in our View, as that between analogous Phenomena or any Other bt-‘le' Such a method of analyzing artistic phenomena. because of its relative objectiv- ity, supplies the investigath with powerful tools for dealing With more contro— versial questions as well. Thus, proceeding from such a point of VieVV t0 (levelol’medts “191” 0W1? artlbtlt life during the preceding decades, it is possible to recognize, Without 2;ny ticular difficulty, that such tendencies as the i‘MOdéme 3“? the De.“ enter. as well as all our “neo-class.icisms" and “neO-R?n81558nC€S. cannot in any wlay stand the test of modernity- Having originated 1“ the mind? Ofa few hlghly C“ U' vated and refined architect s and, as a result of their considerable talent, (lifts-n yielding rather accomplishe d images in their OVf'n Tightv thlS superfiClal.aeSt 9. 1C crust, like all other possible eclectic manifestatlollsi represent‘s 3“ Idle mvggtlo: that appealed for a time to tlie taste ofa narrow Circle of connotsseurs butl i .not reflect anything other tham the decadence and impotence of an obso escen world In this manner, we discern a certain self—su ffiClenQ U 0f style, the uniquenefss of the laws governing it, and the relative isolation ofits formal manifestations rofm the products ofother styles. We discard the purely 1nd1VlduahStlc evaluatlonlo 3 work ofart and consider the ideal of the beautlfill: that Eternally Changeabtlie 3“ transitory ideal, as somethi ng that peU'eCtl‘z/julfills the reqmrements an con- cepts ofa given place and epoch. Questions naturally arise: What is the relatiOnShlp betweegl the indiyiduil man; ifestations of art in the different epochs? And are Spengler and DamleVS y “0 correct in their theories, isolated and separated though they are from one another by a gap in cultures ‘2 Although we have established the exclusivity of the laws of any style, we are 42 H naturally far from entertaining the notion of renouncing the principle ofinterde- pendence and influence in the changes and developments of these styles. On the contrary, the precise limits between one style and another are blurred in actual reality. It is not possible to fix the moment when one style ends and another be- gins; style, once born, lives out its youth. maturity, and old age; but old age is still not fully spent. atrophy not yet complete. when another new style arises to assume a similar course. Hence. in reality. not only is there a link between con- secutive styles, but it is even difficult to establish a precise boundary between them, as is the case in the evolution ofall forms oflife. without exception. When we speak of the self—sufficient significance of style, we naturally have in mind a synthetic conception ofit, the quintessence of its true nature, which is reflected primarily in the peak phase of its flowering and in the best works of that phase. Thus, in speaking ofthe Greek style, we have in mind the fifth century B.C., the century of Phidias, lctinos. (‘allicrates and their age, ratherthan the withering Hellenistic art. which already contained many characteristics anticipating.r the emergence ol'tlie Roman style. In any event, the wheels ofthe two consecutive styles become coupled. and the circumstances oi‘this coupling are rather inter- estintr to follow, We shall limit ourselves. in the present instance, to considering this question in the context oi" architecture, which is the subject of greatest interest to us. To do so. however. it is necessary at the outset to elucidate those concepts that enter into the formal definition of an architectural style. We are already quite well aware of what distinguishes a painterly" style: we speak of drawing, color, composition. and all these aspects are naturally subjected to the analysis of the investigator. It likewise is not difficult to convince ourselves of the fact that the first ofthese, drawing and color, are the basic elements whose organization on a surface constitutes the art of composing a painterly Work. So, too, in architec- ture it is essential to make note of a whole number of concepts without whose elucidation the formal analysis ofits products is inconceivable. The need to create shelter from the rain and cold induced man to build a dwell— ing. And this need has determined to the present day the very character of ar- chitecture, which hovers on the edge between vitally useful creative work and a “disinterested” art. This aspect was first reflected in the need to isolate, to 671‘ close a certain portion ofspace with some substantive materialforms. To isolate ‘ Space, to enclose it within certain specific boundaries, constitutes the first of the ' problems confronting the architect. The organization of isolated space, of the i crystalline form that envelops what is essentially amorphous space, is the char— acteristic that distinguishes architecture from the other arts. That which estab- lishes the particular character of spatial experiences, so to speak, the sensations derived from the interiors of architectural works, from being inside buildings, from their spatial boundaries, and from the system illuminating this space——all this constitutes the primary indication, the primary distinguishing characteris- tic of architecture, which does not recur in the perceptions of any other art. Ti But the isolation of space, the method of its organization, is accomplished by means of utilizing material form: wood, stone, brick. In isolating the spatial prism, the architect clothes it in material form. Thus, we unavoidably perceive this prism not only from within, in spatial terms, but also from without, in purely volumetric terms, analogously to the way we perceive sculpture. Here, too, however. there exists a distinction of vital importance between architecture and the other arts. The material forms used to solve the architect’s basic spatial 43 .. _-_ ._~W problems are not altogether arbitrary in their composition. It is essential that the architect comprehend the laws of statics and mechanics in order to accom» plish his objectives empirically. whether in an intuitive or strictly scientific man- ner. Doing so represents that fundamental constructive sensibility which must. without fail. be basic to the architect and which establishes a definite method in his work. The solution ofthe spatial problem will inevitably involve this particu- lar organizational method as well, entailing a solution with the minimal expendi- ture ofenergy. Thus, what essentially distinguishes the architect from the sculptor is not only the organization ofspace, but also the construction ofits isolating environment. Out of this evolves the basic organizational method of the architect, for whom the world of form represents not a series of unlimited and endless possibilities, but merely a skillful attempt to strike a balance between what is desirable and what is possible to implement: it is quite natural that, in the final analysis, what is possible influences the development ofthe very character ofwhat is desirable. Accordingly, the architect never builds even “castles in the air" that cannot be developed within the framework of this organizational method: even architec- tural fantasy itself. seemingly devoid of constructive considerations, satisfies the laws ofstatics and mechanics. and this already points to a characteristic that is unquestionably fundamental and most essential to understanding the art ofar- chitecture. This also explains the relatively limited range of forms in architec- ture as compared to painting, as well as the basic approach to conceiving of ar— chitectural forms as functions of that which supports and that which is sup- ported, ofthat which is holding up and that which is lying prone, ofthat which is in tension and that which is at rest, ofthe vertical and the horizontal extension of forms, and of any other aspects operating as functions of these basic tendencies. This organizational method also conditions those rhythmic aspects by which ar- chitecture is distinguished. Finally, it already determines, to some extent, the character ofeach individualformal molecule, which is always distinctfrom the elements ofsculpture or painting. Thus, the system of architectural style is made up of a series of aspects, spatial and volumetric, which represent the solution of one and the same problem both from within and from without, and are materialized by formal elements; these elements are organized according to various sets of compositional characteris— tics, giving rise to the dynamic problem of rhythm. Only an understanding of architectural style in all these complex aspects can ex— plain not only a given style, but also the relationship of one individual stylistic phenomenon to another. Thus, analyzing the change from the Greek to the Roman style, from the Romanesque to the Gothic, and so forth, we often discern contradictory aspects. For example, the Roman style is, on the one hand, viewed by investigators as an evolution ofthe pure forms of the Hellenic legacy; yet on the other hand, it is impossible not to call attention to the fact that the compositional methods and the organization of space in Roman buildings are the virtual antithesis of those established by the Greeks. In precisely the same way, the art of the early Renaissance in Italy (the Quat— trocento) was still filled with isolated aspects of the moribund Gothic style, while the methods of Renaissance composition already seemed so new and so unex- pected as compared to the Gothic, their spatial experiences so altogether differ— ent, that they elicited in a contemporary——the architect Filarete—the famous statement concerning the Gothic: “cursed be the one who invented this non— ~14 sense. 1 think that only barbaric people could have. brought it with them to 7). (Although (iinzburgdocs not cite his Italy."“ source for this statement by Filarete, it probably was Gustav J. von Allesch, Dic . . . . . . Renaissance III [talien (Weimar: G. From this vantage point there looms, in addition to the evaluation of a work of wepenhauer‘ 1912), a work to which art or an entire style historically, i.e.. with respect to the environment that (linzburg ret'ers in chapter 2. Von created it, yet another method of objective evaluatiom—the genetic one, i.e., the Allesch‘s book includes?“ excerpt from method determining the value of a phenomenon from the standpoint of its re- fjllare‘evs "93“5‘3' enufled “Antonlo ,. ' ' . - l‘ilarete an Francesco bforza in Mailand lationship to the further growth ofastyle. tothe evolution ofa general process. (pp. 20941). which endS with this And in View ofthe fact that an artistic style, like any Vital phenomenon, is not re— particular statement abom Gothic. or generated all at once or in all its manifestations. but relies more or less partially more precisely. "modern" architecture .l on the past, it is possible to distinguish which styles are more or less valuable in a genetic sense. insofar as they possess the qualities more or less suitable for re- generation. the potential for creating something new. (Ilearly this evaluation is not always made with respect to the quality of the formal elements in a work of art. Frequently, that which is formally weak—Le, an imperfect or incomplete work;may be of greater value genetically—Le, by virtue of its potential for creatingr something new—than a monument that may be impeccable. but which nonetheless employs highly obsolete material from the past and is incapable of further creative development. What. then. do we have here? Is it continuity or new and utterly independent principles that underlie the change from one style to another? It is both, ofcourse. At a time when some ofthe constituent elements generating style still maintain continuity, other elements. which are more sensitive and which more rapidly reflect the changes in human life and psychology, already are taking form according to principles that are quite different, often contrary, and often entirely new in the history of the evolution of styles; and only after a cer- tain length of time, when the incisiveness of the new compositional method has reached the fullness ofits development, is it then passed on to the remaining ele- ments of style as well, to an individual form, subjecting it to the same laws ofde- velopment and even modifying it according to the new aesthetic of style. Con- versely, it is frequently the case that various laws ofthe new style are reflected, first and foremost, in entirely different formal elements, initially maintaining a continuity with past compositional methods and only gradually becoming mod- ified in the ensuing phase. Yet irrespective ofwhich of these routes art might fol- low, the appearance ofa new and consummate style is possible only as a result of both these principlesqontiriuity and independence. The complex phenomenon of architectural style cannot change at once and in all respects. The law ofcon- Linuity economizes the creative inventiveness and resourcefulness of the artist, consolidating his experience and skill, while the law Ofindependence constitutes that motive force which gives creativity its healthy, youthful juices and satu- rates it with that poignant aspect of modernity without which art simply ceases to be art. The flowering ofa style, condensed in a brief period oftime, will usually reflect these new and independent laws of creative work, while the archaic and decadent aspects of the epoch, whether in isolated formal elements or composi— tional methods, will be linked to both preceding and ensuing stylistic periods. That is how this apparent contradiction is reconciled and finds its explanation not only in the emergence of a new style, but in any historical epoch as well. Were it not for a certain continuity, the evolution of each culture would remain forever infantile, perhaps never once reaching the summit of that flowering 45 - a..." sm— ‘ m4 ‘ w ti. Letter of Leone Battista Alberti to Matteo de Bastia (tle' I’astii in Rimini (Rome. lb’ November 1454). In a letter to Ilrunelleschi (14:36). Alberti states. "I believe that our merit should be all the greater if. without teachers and without any models. we could discover arts and sciences hitherto unheard of and unseen,” [Although tlinzburg does not cite the source for these two quotations. again it is probably yon Allesch's [)ie Renaissance 1H Ila/ten, which includes both letters: "Leon Battisti Alherti an Filippo Brunellesco lI-‘lorencc, 1436)." pp. 987100; and “Leon Battista Alberti an Matteo de Bastia zu Iiitnini (Rome. In November 14547) " pp. 1035). T. I‘ iansua Benua l Francois Benoit I. Frunuukoe l.\/\'il.\'.\"t'ti en’no'n i‘t'i‘o/wlsii ll’rent'h Art from the I’eriod ofthe Ilevttlut ioiii Trans b\ .\' I’lzitoiim a lion]! prepared for publication ll‘erusal ofKt/izumiio /l min i Book Annals: for the period of 19213719531 failed to turn up the publication of the above Russian translation. nor ha\ a any other references to it turned up in Soviet scholarly or bibliographical literature ofthe period. The original French edition of Benoit's book is entitled L'Air Francois sous la Reno/alto)! ct [‘EIHIJII’P (Paris: Iiihrairie I}. Baranger, 1:597); mention ofthe transformation of St. Hilaire cited by (iinzburg occurs in fo. 2. p. 11.] which is attained only as a result ofthe consolidation ofthe artistic experience of preceding cultures. Yet at the same time, were it not for this independence, cultures would fall into a state ofperpetual old age and helpless atrophy lasting forever. since it is impos» sible to chew perpetually on the same old food. What is needed. at all costs, is the daring blood of barbarians who do not know what they are creating, or people who have a relentless penchant for creative work and an awareness ofthe legiti~ macy of their emerging and independent “self.” so that art can become renewed once again and enter anew into its period of flowering. This makes it possible to comprehend psychologically not only the destructive barbarians, whose blood pulses with the assured legitimacy oftheir potential strength, even in relation to refined but decrepit cultures. but also the entire gamut of “vandalisms” that are so often encountered in the history ofthe most highly civilized epochs, when the new destroys the old, even the beautiful and the sublime. merely on the strength of the legitimacy granted to youthful daring. Let us recall what was said bv .\llH‘I'Ii. the representative ofa culture which pos- sessed so many elements of continuity. but which in its essence serves as an ex ample ofthe establishment ofa new style: "I have more faith in those who built the 'I‘hermae and the Pantheon and all the other edifices . . . and in reason a n great deal more than in any person." The same growing confidence in the correctness of his own creative stance often prompted Bramante, in realizing his grandiose projects, to tear down entire blocks. and earned him the nickname "Ruinante" among his detractors. But the same nickname could just as well have been applied to any of the leading ar— chitects of the Cinquecento or Seicento. Palladio. after the tire of 1577 at the Doge’s Palace in Venice, repeatedly counseled the Senate to rebuild the Gothic palace in the spirit of its own particular Renaissance world outlook—in Roman forms. In 1661 Bernini, faced with the task of building the colonnade in front of St. Peter's basilica, demolished Raphael's I’alazzo dell’Aquila without any par— ticular doubts or hesitation. Many more such instances occurred in France. of course, during the period ofthe Revolution In 1797, for example, the old church of St. Hilaire in Orleans was transformed into a modern market,7 Even if we were to disregard this extreme manifestation ofa staunch faith in the legitimacy of the creative ideas of modernity. however, any glance we might cast on the past would convince us of the existence in the highest periods of human culture of a remarkably well-defined sense of the legitimacy of an independent, modern understanding of form. Only decadent epochs are distinguished solely by a desire to subordinate modern form to the stylistic complex of past centuries; the very idea of subjecting the treatment of new sections ofa city not to the lat— ter's own organism, which lies beyond the realm of any formal specificities of style, but to the style ofold, existing sections, even those which are the most for mally developed—an idea that became firmly rooted in the minds of our best ar— chitects in the preceding decade and often caused them to subject their treat— ment of entire blocks and sections of the city to the formal aspects of some group of stylistic monuments from the past—is an excellent indication of modernity’s creative impotence. In the best periods, architects have mastered previously created stylistic forms on the strength of the power and acuity of their modern genius. while still correctly anticipating the organic development of the city as a whole. 46 -v|1‘[~V :‘rmfim' nva "Wu-v i. f TW' '“v‘w‘ , WSW”? "'3 ‘1': What is more, the artist who is filled to the core with his own creative ideas and with the reality that surrounds him cannot work in any other way. He works only on things that are on his mind. he can create only modern forms. and least of all does he become preoccupied with what others, even his most brilliant pred» ecessors. Would have done in his place. In this sense. the Greek temple. imbued with a certain tradition, has for a number of centuries provided a most interesting case in point. Constructed over an extended period of time, the temple sometimes yields a vivid chronology of that construction through its columns. It is perfectly clear that the Greek architect was concerned neither with any sense of continuity nor with subjecting his design to any particular sense ofhar- mony; he was filled with a rapt and persistent desire to realize at each point in time what for him was a modern form. Inasmuch as the creative outlook of Hellas on the whole remained unified, continuity and harmony emerged in their own right. In precisely the same way, those cathedrals begun in the epoch of the Itomaiiv esque style and completed a century or two later unavoidably assumed the charac~ ter of the contemporary Gothic style. just as Renaissance architects, without a moment's hesitation. completed the cathedrals begun in the epoch and forms of the Gothic style in the purest forms ofthe Renaissance, which were utterly alien to these cathedrals. Naturally, these architects could not have behaved in any other way, because true creativity cannot be anything but sincere and, as a re- sult, modern. All other considerations seem insignificant in comparison to this persistently felt desire to manifest one’s own creative character. A flower grows in the field because it cannot help but grow; thus, it cannot contemplate whether or not it is appropriate to the field that existed before it. On the contrary, by its very appearance, the flower transforms the general image of the field. An interesting phenomenon from this point of view is the philosophy of early Ital- ian Futurism, which ran to the other extreme. Reared on and surrounded by a countless array of perfect monuments from the past, the Italian artists believed that it was these very monuments that by their perfection weighed too heavily on the artist's psyche and thus did not allow him to create a modern art; hence. the tactical decision to do away with all of this heritage. One must sack all the museums and destroy all the monuments in order to be able to create anything new! Certainly this desperate gesture is psychologically understandable be- cause it demonstrates the artists’ conscious craving for genuine creativity; but alas, it also portrays equally well the creative impotence ofthis art, as well as the eclectic thrusts of the passéists.“ Neither a concern for continuity nor the destruction of the art of the past can help in any way. These are but symptoms indicating that we have fully arrived at a new era. Only a spark of creative energy born of modernity and producing art- ists capable of working not in whatever style they like but only in the innate lan- guage of modernity, reflecting in the methods of their art the true essence ofthe present day, its rhythm. its everyday labor and concerns, and its lofty ideals— only such a spark can generate a new flowering, a new phase in the evolution of forms, a new and genuinely modern style. And perhaps the time is already close at hand when we shall enter into this blessed realm. 47 ...
View Full Document

Page1 / 12

Ginzburg - _- .r: ,, kqufi: $1.153 rvmumygmmmd...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 12. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online