Hegel's Lectures on Aesthetics. Part 3
By making its content emerge into a determinate existence in the real world, art becomes a particular art and therefore we can now speak for the first time of art realized and so of the actual beginning of art. But since particularization is to bring about the objectivization of the Idea of beauty and art, there is at once present along with it, as the Concept requires, a totality of particulars. If therefore in the series of particular arts architecture is treated first, this must not merely mean that it is presented as the art offering itself for treatment first on the strength of its being so determined by the nature of art; on the contrary, it must equally clearly be seen to be the art coming first in the existence of art in the world. Yet in answering the question of where art has begun alike in conception and in reality, we must throughout exclude both the empirical facts of history and also the external reflections, conjectures and natural ideas that are so easily and variously propounded about it.
There is a common urge, namely, to visualize a thing in its beginnings, because the beginning is the simplest mode in which the thing is to be seen. In the background of this there is retained the dim idea that this simple mode reveals the thing in its essential nature and origin, and then that the development of this beginning up to the stage really in question is to be understood, equally easily, by the trivial reasoning that this progress has gradually brought art up to this stage. But the simple beginning is something so insignificant in itself, so far as its content goes, that for philosophical thinking it must appear as entirely accidental, even if precisely for this reason origination is regarded in this way by people’s ordinary minds as so much the more intelligible. So, for example, to explain the origin of painting there is a story told of a girl who traced the outline of her sleeping lover’s shadow. Similarly for the beginning of architecture there are cited now a cavern, now a tree-trunk, etc. Such beginnings are so intelligible in themselves that the origin seems to need no further explanation. The Greeks especially have invented many charming tales to explain the beginnings not only of fine art but also of ethical institutions and other relationships of their life. With these tales they satisfied the need to bring the earliest origin before their minds in a picture. Historical such beginnings are not and yet they are not supposed to have the aim of making the mode of origin intelligible by deriving it from the Concept of the thing: on the contrary, this mode of explanation is supposed to keep to the pathway of history.
What we have to do is to establish the beginning of art by so deriving it from the Concept or essential nature of art itself that we can see that the first task of art consists in giving shape to what is objective in itself, i.e. the physical world of nature, the external environment of the spirit, and so to build into what has no inner life of its own a meaning and form which remain external to it because this meaning and form are not immanent in the objective world itself. The art on which this task is imposed is, as we have seen, architecture which originally began to be developed earlier than sculpture or painting and music.
Now if we turn to the earliest beginnings of architecture, the first things that can be accepted as its commencement are a hut as a human dwelling and a temple as an enclosure for the god and his community. Next, in order to determine this starting-point more precisely, people have seized on the difference between materials that could be used for building, and it is disputed whether architecture begins in building with wood-the opinion of Vitruvius [ii. I-4] whom Hirt had in view when he maintained the same-or with stone. This contrast is important of course because it does not merely affect the external material but also, essentially connected with it, the fundamental architectural forms and the manner of their embellishment. Nevertheless we can leave this whole difference aside as a purely subordinate matter affecting rather what is empirical and accidental, and we can turn our attention to a point of greater importance.
In the case of a house and a temple and other buildings the essential feature which interests us here is that such erections are mere means, presupposing a purpose external to them. A hut and the house of god presuppose inhabitants, men, images of the gods, etc. and have been constructed for them. Thus in the first place a need is there, a need lying indeed outside art, and its appropriate satisfaction has nothing to do with fine art and does not evoke any works of art. Men also take pleasure in leaping and singing and they need the medium of speech, but speaking, jumping, screaming, and singing are not yet, for this reason, poetry, the dance, or music. But even if, within architecture’s adaptability to the satisfaction of specific needs, whether of daily life, religious worship, or the state, the urge for artistic form and beauty becomes conspicuous, we nevertheless have on our hands immediately a division in the case of this art of architecture. On the one side stands man, the subject, or the image of the god as the essen11aI-purpose for which, on the other side, architecture provides only the means, i.e. the environment, the enclosure, etc. With such an inherent division we cannot make a beginning, for in its nature the beginning is something immediate and simple, not a relativity and essential connection like this. Instead we must look for a point at which such a difference does not yet arise.
In this connection I have already said earlier that architecture corresponds to the symbolic form of art, and, as a particular art, realizes the principle of that form in the most appropriate way, because the meanings implanted architecture it can in general indicate only in the externals of the environment that it creates. But should there be absent at the beginning the difference between (a) the aim, explicitly present in man or the temple-image, of seeking an enclosure and (b) the building as the fulfillment of this aim, then we will have to look around for buildings which stand there independently in themselves, as it were like works of sculpture, and which carry their meaning in themselves and not in some external aim and need This is a point of supreme importance which I have not found emphasized anywhere although it is implicit in the concept of the thing and can alone provide an explanation of the varied external shapes of buildings and a guiding thread through the labyrinth of architectural forms. But all the same such an independent architecture is distinguished again from sculpture by reason of the fact that, as architecture, it does not produce constructions the meaning of which is the inherently spiritual and subjective and has in itself the principle of its appearance which throughout is adequate to the inner meaning. On the contrary, what this architecture produces is works which can stamp the meaning on their external shape only symbolically. For this reason, then, this kind of architecture is of a strictly symbolic kind both in its content and in its mode of presenting it.
What has been said about the principle of this applies equally to its mode of presentation. Here too the mere difference between building in wood and in stone will not suffice because it points to the means of delimiting and enclosing a space devoted to particular religious or other human purposes, as is the case with houses, palaces, temples, etc. Such a space can be formed either by hollowing out masses already fixed and solid in themselves or, conversely, by constructing surrounding walls and roofs. With neither of these can independent architecture begin and consequently we may call it an inorganic sculpture because although it erects independently existent productions it does not pursue at all the aim of creating free beauty and an appearance of the spirit in a bodily shape adequate to it; on the contrary, in general it sets before us only a symbolic form which is to indicate on itself and express an idea.
Yet at this starting-point architecture cannot remain. For its vocation lies precisely in fashioning external nature as an enclosure shaped into beauty by art out of the resources of the spirit itself, and fashioning it for the spirit already explicitly present, for man, or for the divine images which he has framed and set up as objects. Its meaning this enclosure does not carry in itself but finds in something else, in man and his needs and aims in family life, the state, or religion, etc., and. therefore the independence of the building is sacrificed.
From this point of view we can put the progress of architecture in the fact that it makes above-mentioned difference between end and means merge as the separation of the two, and for man, or for the individual anthropomorphic shape of the gods which sculpture has worked out in objects, builds an architectonic receptacle analogous to the meaning of these, i.e. builds palaces, temples, etc.
Thirdly, the final stage unites both factors and therefore appears within this cleavage as independent at the same time.
These considerations give us for the division of the entirety of architecture the following parts which comprise both the differences entailed in the Concept of the thing at issue and also the historical development of architecture;
(i) strictly symbolic or independent architecture;
(ii) classical architecture which gives shape to the individual spirit but divests architecture of its independence and degrades it to providing an artistically formed inorganic environment for the spiritual meanings that for their part have now been independently realized;
(iii) romantic architecture, so-called Moorish, Gothic, or German, in which houses, churches, and palaces are indeed likewise only the dwellings and assembly-places for civil and religious I needs and for spiritual occupations, but, conversely, undisturbed as it were by this purpose, are framed and erected on their Own account and independently.
While therefore architecture’ Its, fundamental character remains throughout of a symbolic kind, still the artistic forms, the strictly symbolic, the classical, and the romantic, are its determinants at different stages and are here of greater importance than they are in the other arts. For the entire principle of sculpture is so deeply penetrated by the classical form, and that of painting and music by the romantic form, that only a more or less narrow room is left for the development in these arts of the typical character of the other art-forms. Although poetry, lastly, can stamp on works of art in the most complete way the whole series of art-forms, we nevertheless will not have to divide it according to the difference between symbolic, classical, and romantic poetry but instead according to the systematic arrangement specific to poetry as a particular art, namely its division into epic, lyric, and drama. Architecture on the other hand is the art whose medium is purely external, so that here the essential differences depend on whether this external object has its meaning within itself or whether, treated as a means, it subserves an end other than itself, or whether in this subservience it appears at the same time as independent. The first case coincides with the symbolic form as such, the second with the classical because here the meaning proper attains portrayal on its own account and then the symbolic is tacked on to it as a purely external environment, and this is implicit in the principle of classical art. But the union of the two runs parallel with the romantic, because romantic art does use the external as a means of expression, but it withdraws into itself out of this external reality and therefore can leave the objective existent free to be shaped independently.
The primary and original need of art is that an idea or thought generated by the spirit shall be produced by man as his own work and presented by him, just as in a language there are ideas which man communicates as such and makes intelligible to others. But in a language the means of communication is nothing but a sign and therefore something purely external and arbitrary; whereas art may not avail itself of mere signs only but must give to meanings a corresponding sensuous presence. That is to say, on the one hand, the work of art, present to sense, should give lodgement to an inner content, while on the other hand it should so present this content as to make us realize that this content itself, as well as its outward shape, is not merely something real in the actual and immediately present world but a product of imagination and its artistic activity. If, for instance, I see a real living lion, its individual shape gives me the idea ‘lion’ just as a picture of it does. But in the picture something more is implicit: it shows that the shape has been present in idea and found the origin of its being in the human spirit and its productive activity, so that now we have no longer acquire merely idea of an object, but the idea of man’s [i.e. the artist’s] idea. But for a lion, a tree as such, or some other single object to be reproduced in this way there is no original need for art. On the contrary, we have seen that art, and especially visual art, comes to an end when the representation of such objects has the aim of displaying the artist’s subjective skill in producing semblances of them. The original interest [of art] depends on making visible to themselves and to others the original objective insights and universal essential thoughts. Yet such national insights are abstract at first and indefinite in themselves, so that in order to represent them to himself man catches at what is equally abstract, i.e. matter as such, at what has mass and weight. This is capable of acquiring a definite form, but not an inherently concrete and truly spiritual one. On this account the relation between the meaning and the sensuous reality whereby the meaning is to issue from [the artist’s] conception into the spectator’s can be only of a purely symbolical kind. But at the same time a building which is to reveal a universal idea to spectators is constructed for no other purpose than to express this lofty idea in itself, and therefore it is an independent symbol of an absolutely essential and universally valid thought, or a language, present for its own sake, even if it be wordless, for apprehension by spiritual beings. Thus the productions of this architecture should stimulate thought by themselves, and arouse general ideas without being purely a cover and environment for meanings already independently shaped in other ways. But in these circumstances the form that lets such a content shine through it may not count as merely a sign in the way that, for instance, crosses are erected as signs on graves, or cairns in memory of a battle. For although a sign of this kind is suitable for stimulating ideas, a cross and a cairn do not themselves indicate the idea which their erection aimed at arousing, for they can just as easily recall all sorts of other things. These considerations give us the general nature of architecture at this stage.
With this in view, it may be said that whole nations have been able to express their religion and their deepest needs no otherwise than by building, or at least in the main in some constructional way. However, as is clear from what I have said already in the course of discussing the symbolic art-form, this is essentially true only in the east, in particular, the constructions of the older” art in Babylonia, India, and Egypt, now partly in ruins, which have been able to brave all periods and revolutions and which excite our wonder and astonishment as well by their fantastic appearance as by their colossal massiveness, either bear this character entirely or else are for the most part its product. The building of such works exhausts the entire life and activity of nations at certain times.
Yet if we ask for a more detailed systematic arrangement of this chapter and the chief productions belonging to this context, we cannot in the case of this architecture, as we can in that of the classical and romantic kinds, start from specific forms, e.g. for a house; for here there cannot be cited any explicitly fixed meaning, or therefore, any fixed mode of configuration, as a principle which then in its further development is applicable to the range of different buildings. In other words, the meanings taken as content here, as in symbolic art generally, are as it were vague and general elemental, variously confused and sundered abstractions of the life of nature, intermingled with thoughts of the actual life of spirit, without being ideally collected together as factors in a single consciousness. This absence of connection makes them extremely varied and mutable, and the aim of architecture consists exclusively in visibly setting forth now this and now that aspect for contemplation, in symbolizing them, and by human labour making them pictorial. In view of the manifold character of this content, there therefore cannot be any intention of treating it exhaustively or systematically and I have therefore to restrict myself to connecting together into a rational classification, so far as that is possible, only the most important material.
The guiding considerations are, in brief, the following:
For content we demanded purely universal views in which individuals and nations have an inner support, a unifying point of their consciousness. Consequently the primary purpose behind such explicitly independent buildings only in the erection of something which is a unifying point for a nation or nations, a place where they assemble. Yet along with this there is the subordinate aim of making obvious, by the mode of configuration, what does in general unify men: the religious ideas of people. These then provide at the same time a more specific content for such works to express symbolically.
But, in the second place, architecture cannot stop at this original feature determining it as a whole; for the symbolic productions become individualized, the symbolic content of their meanings is determined in more detail and therefore permits their forms to be more clearly distinguished from one another, as, for example, in ~he case of lingam-pillars, obelisks, etc. On the other hand, in such Individualized independence within itself, architecture presses on towards a transition to sculpture, i.e. to the adoption of organic animal shapes and human figures. Yet it tends to extend these into n:assive and colossal constructions and to set them in rows alongside one another; partitions, walls, gates, passages are added, and therefore what is like sculpture on them is treated purely architecturally. The Egyptian sphinxes, Memnons, and enormous temples belong to this category.
Thirdly, symbolic architecture begins to show a transition to classical by excluding sculpture and beginning to become a structure for other meanings, not those directly expressed architecturally.
In order to elucidate these stages further I will refer to a few familiar masterpieces.
‘What is holy?’ Goethe asks once in a distich, and answers: ‘What links many souls together.’ In this sense we may say that the holy with the aim of this concord, and as this concord, has been the first content of independent architecture. The readiest example of this is provided by the story of the Tower of Babylonia. In the wide plains of the Euphrates an enormous architectural work was erected; it was built in common, and the aim and content of the work was at the same time the community of those who constructed it. And the foundation of this social bond does not remain merely a unification on patriarchal lines; on the contrary, the purely family unity has already been superseded, and the building, rising into the clouds, makes objective to itself this earlier and dissolved unity and the realization of a new and wider· one. The ensemble of all the peoples at that period worked at this task and since they all came together to complete an immense work like this, the product of their labour was to be a bond which was to link them together (as we are linked by manners, customs, and the legal constitution of the state) by means of the excavated site and ground, the assembled blocks of stone, and the as it were architectural cultivation of the country. In that case, such a building is symbolic at the same time since the bond, which it is, it can only hint at, this is because in its form and shape it is only in an external way that it can express the holy, the absolute unifier of men. The fact that the centre of unification in such a building was forsaken again by the peoples and that they separated is likewise reported in this tradition.
Another more important building, for which the historical grounds are more secure, is the Tower of Bel [in Babylon] of which Herodotus gives an account (i. 181). We will not examine here the question of what relation this tower has to the one in the Bible. This whole building we cannot call a temple in our sense of the word, but rather a temple precinct; it was an enclosure two furlongs square with brazen entry gates. In the middle of this sanctuary, we are told by Herodotus who had seen this colossal structure, there was a tower of solid masonry (not hollow inside but solid, a pyrgos steros a furlong in length and breadth; on top of this was a second tower, on that a third, and so on up to eight. On the outside is a path winding round the eight towers up to the very top. About halfway up there is a halting-place with benches where those making the ascent take a rest. On the topmost tower there is a spacious temple, and in the temple there is a huge bed richly caparisoned and in front of it a golden table. Yet there is no statue set up in the temple and no one sleeps there at night except one of the native women selected from them all by the god, according to the Chaldaeans, the priests of this god. The priests also maintain (ch. 182) that the god visits the temple himself and reposes on the bed. Herodotus also relates (ch. 183) that below, in the sanctuary there is still another temple in which there is a large sitting-figure of the god, all of gold, with a large gold table in front of it. In the same chapter he mentions two altars outside the on which sacrifices are offered. In spite of all this, however, we cannot put this gigantic structure on a par with temples in the Greek or modern sense. For the first seven cubes are entirely solid and only the top storey, the eighth, is a habitation for the invisible god who enjoys up there no worship from priests or congregation. The statue was below, outside the building, so that the whole structure rises really independent by itself and serves none of the ends of worship, although what we have here is no longer a mere abstract point of unification but a sanctuary. The form here is still left a matter of accident and is made square only for the material reason that a cube is stable. But at the same time it occurs to us to demand that we should seek for a meaning which, taken for the work as a whole, may provide a more fundamental determinant, a symbolic one, for the form. We must find this, although Herodotus does not mention this in so many words, in the number of the solid storeys. There are seven of them, with the eighth above them for the nightly visit of the god. But the number seven probably symbolizes the seven planets and heavenly spheres.
In Media too there are cities built in accordance with such a symbolism, as, e.g., Ecbatana with its seven encircling walls. Of these Herodotus relates (i. 98) that each is made higher than its neighbour below, partly because the rising ground on the slope of which they are built favoured this arrangement but partly deliberately and skilfully; and the ramparts are differently coloured: white on the first wall, black on the second, purple on the third, blue on the fourth, orange on the fifth; but the sixth is coated with silver and the seventh with gold. The royal palace and the treasury are within the last. In connection with this sort of building Creuzer says (Symbolik, i. 469), ‘Ecbatana, the city of the Medes, with the royal palace in the centre, represents, with its seven encircling walls and seven different colours on their battlements, the heavenly spheres surrounding the palace of the sun.’
The next advance which we must proceed to consider is this, that architecture adopts more concrete meanings as its content, and for their more symbolical representation has recourse to forms which are also more concrete, though whether it uses them in isolation [for monoliths] or assembles them into great buildings, it does not employ them in a sculptural way but in an architectural one in its own independent sphere. In dealing with this stage we must descend to details although here there can be no question of completeness or a development of the subject a priori because when art advances in its works to the wide field of actual historical views of life and religious pictorial ideas, it loses itself there in what is accidental and contingent. The fundamental character here is that architecture and sculpture are confused, even if architecture remains the decisive element.
Our previous treatment of symbolic art gave us occasion to mention that in the East what was emphasized and worshipped was the universal force of life in nature, not the spirituality and power of consciousness but the productive energy of procreation. This worship was general, especially in India, but it was propagated also in Phrygia and Syria under the image of the Great Goddess, goddess of fecundity, a pictorial idea adopted even by the Greeks. In particular the conception of the universal force of nature was represented and sanctified in the shape of the animal generative organs, i.e. in the phallus or the lingam. This cult was principally disseminated in India, but even the Egyptians were not strangers to it, as Herodotus relates (ii. 48). Something similar at least occurred at Dionysiac festivals: ‘only instead of phalli the Egyptians have invented other images, a cubit long; pulled by a thread, women take them round to the villages; the pudendum is always bent forward and is not much smaller than the rest of the body.’ The Greeks likewise adopted a similar cult, and Herodotus expressly informs us (ch. 49) that Melampus, not unacquainted with the Egyptian Dionysiac sacrificial festival, introduced the phallus which was carried in procession in honour of the god.
Especially in India this kind of worship of procreative force in the shape of the generative organs gave rise to buildings in this shape and with this meaning: enormous columnar productions in stone, solidly erected like towers, proader at the foe! than above. Originally they-were ends in themselves, objects of veneration, and only later did people begin to make openings and hollow chambers in them and to place images of the gods in these, a practice still maintained in the Greek Hermae, small portable temples. But in India this cult started with solid phallic columns; only later was there a division between an inner kernel and an outer shell, and they became pagodas. The genuine Indian pagodas must be essentially distinguished from later Mohammedan and other imitations, because in their construction they do not originate from the form of a house; on the contrary, they are slender and high and their original basic form is derived from these column-like structures. The same meaning and form is present in the conception, enlarged by imagination, of the hill Meru which is represented as a whorl in the Milky Way from which the world was born. Similar columns Herodotus mentions also, in the form partly of the male generative organ, partly of the female pudendum. He ascribes the construction of them to Sesostris (ii. 102) who in his wars set them up everywhere amongst the peoples he conquered. Yet in the time of Herodotus most of these columns no longer existed; only in Syria had he seen them himself (ch. 106). But his ascription of them all to Sesostris of course has its basis only in the tradition he followed; besides he expresses himself entirely in the sense of the Greeks because he transforms the naturalistic meaning into one concerned with ethical life and says [ch. 102]:
In the countries where the people were brave in battle against Sesostris during his wars, he erected columns on which he inscribed his own name and country and how he had here reduced these peoples to subjection; where, on the contrary, they submitted without a struggle he added to this inscription on the pillar a female pudendum to indicate that they had been cowardly and unwarlike.
Further similar works intermediate between architecture and sculpture are to be found especially in Egypt. Amongst these are obelisks which do not derive their form from the living organic life of nature, from plants and animals or the human form; on the contrary they have as purely regular shape, though they do not yet have the purpose of serving ashouses or temples; they stand freely on their own account and independently and are symbols meaning the rays of the sun. Creuzer (Symbolik, i. 469) says ‘Mithras, the Mede or the Persian, rules in the sun-city of Egypt (On-Heliopolis) and is advised there in a dream to build obelisks, the sun’s rays in stone, so to speak, and to engrave on them the letters called Egyptian.’ Pliny (Nat. Hist. xxxvi. 14) had already ascribed this meaning to obelisks. They were dedicated to the sun-god whose rays they were to catch and represent at th, time. In Persian monuments too flashes of fire occur, rising 01. columns (Creuzer, ibid., i. 778).
Next to the obelisks, we must make special mention of Memnons. The huge Memnon statues at Thebes had a human form; Strabo saw one of them preserved, chiselled out of a single stone, while the other which gave a sound at sunrise was mutilated in his time. These were two colossal human figures, seated, in their grandiose and massive character more inorganic and architectural than sculptural; after all, Memnon columns occur in rows and, since they have their worth only in such a regular order and size, descend from the aim of sculpture altogether to that of architecture. Pausanias says that the colossal sounding statue was regarded by the people of Thebes as an image of Phamenoph. But Hirt (Geschichte tier Baukunst bei den Alten-History of ancient architecture- Berlin, 1821-7, i. 69) refers this statue not to a divinity but rather to a king who had his memorial here, like Ozymandias and others. Nevertheless, these huge constructions should really convey a more or less distinct idea of something universal. The Egyptians and Ethiopians worshipped Memnon, the son of the dawn, and sacrificed to him when the sun sent forth its first rays, and in this way the image greeted the worshippers with its voice. Thus by sounding and giving voice it is not of importance or interest on the strength of its shape, but because in its existence it is living, significant, and revealing, even if at the same time it indicates its meaning only symbolically.
What is true about the Memnon statues is true about the sphinxes which I have discussed already in their symbolic meaning. Sphinxes are found in Egypt not only in enormous number but of the most stupendous size. One of the most famous of them is the one standing near the group of pyramids at Cairo. It is 148 feet long, the height from claws to the head is 65 feet, the feet extended in front are 57 feet from the breast to the point of the claws, and the claws are 8 feet high. Yet this enormous mass has not first been hewn at all and then transported to the place it now occupies; on the contrary, excavation at its base has discovered that its foundation is limestone so that it became obvious that this immense work had been hewn from one rock of which it still only forms a part. In its most colossal proportions it approaches sculpture proper more nearly; but all the same the sphinxes were set alongside one another in avenues, and this at once gives them a completely architectural character.
Now independent formations like these do not as a rule stand separate from one another but become multiplied to form huge temple-like buildings, labyrinths, and subterranean excavations, and are used en masse, surrounded by walls, etc.
In the first place, as regards the Egyptian temple-precincts, the fundamental character of this huge architecture has been made familiar to us recently principally by French scholars. It consists in the fact that they are open constructions, without roofing, gates, or passages between partitions, especially between porticos and whole forests of columns. There are works of enormous extent outside and variety inside. In their purely independent effect, without serving as a habitation and enclosure for a god or the worshipping community, they amaze us by their colossal proportions and mass, while at the same time their individual forms and shapes engross our whole interest by themselves because they have been erected as symbols for purely universal meaning or are even substitutes for books since the manifests the meaning not by their mode of configuration but by writings, hieroglyphic, engraved on their surface. In a way these gigantic buildings might be called a collection of sculptures, yet they generally occur in such a number and such repetition of one and the same-shape that they become rows and thereby only in this ordering in rows acquire their architectural character, but then this ordering becomes an end in itself again and is not at all just a support for architraves and roofs.
The larger buildings of this kind start with a stone-paved avenue a hundred feet wide, Strabo says, and three or four times as long. On either side of this walk (dromos) there stand sphinxes in rows of fifty to a hundred, twenty to thirty feet high. Then follows a huge ceremonial entrance (propulon), narrower above than below, with pylons, and pillars of prodigious size, ten to twenty times higher than a man, some of them standing free and independently, others grouped in walls or as magnificent jambs; these, being likewise broader at the base than above, rise in a slant, freely, and independently to the height of fifty or sixty feet; they are unconnected with transverse walls and carry no beams and so do not form a house. On the contrary, their distinction from perpendicular walls which hint at the purpose of carrying beams shows that they belong to independent architecture. Here and there Memnons lean against the sloping walls which also form galleries and are bedecked all over with hieroglyphics or enormous pictures in stone so that they appeared to the French scholars who saw them recently as if they were printed calico. They can be regarded like the pages of a book which by this spatial limitation arouse in mind and heart, as the notes of a bell do, vague astonishment, meditation, and thought. Doors follow one another at frequent intervals, and they alternate with rows of sphinxes; or we see an open square surrounded by the main wall, with pillared galleries leading to these walls. Next comes a covered square which does not serve as a dwelling but is a forest of columns; the columns do not support a vault but only flagstones. After these sphinx-avenues, rows of columns, partitions with a surfeit of hieroglyphics, after a portico with wings in front of which obelisks and couching lions have been erected, or again only after forecourts or surrounded by narrower passages, the whole thing ends with the temple proper, the shrine oikos of massive proportions, according to Strabo, which has in it either an image of the god or only an animal statue. This shrine for the god was now and again a monolith, as, e.g., Herodotus (ii. 155) relates of the temple at Buto that ‘it was constructed from one stone, equal in height and length, each wall being forty cubits square, and its roof was again one stone projecting four cubits over the eaves’. But in general the shrines are so small that there was no room for a congregation; but a temple requires a congregation or otherwise it is only a box, a treasury, a receptacle for keeping sacred images, etc.
In this way such buildings go on indefinitely with rows of animal shapes, Memnons, immense gates, walls, colonnades of the most stupendous dimensions, now wider, now narrower, with individual obelisks, etc. We can wander about amid such huge and astonishing human works which in part have only a more restricted purpose in the different acts of worship and we can leave these towered masses of stone to utter and reveal what they like of the nature of the Divine. For when these buildings are looked at more closely, symbolical meanings are clearly interwoven with them throughout, so that the number of the sphinxes and Memnons and the position of the pillars and the passages, are related to the days of the year, the twelve signs of zodiac, the seven planets, the chief phases of the moon. Here sculpture has not ‘worked itself free from architecture; while on the other hand really architectonic features, proportion, distances, number of columns, walls, storeys, etc. are so treated that these relations do not have their proper purpose in themselves, in their symmetry, rhythm, and beauty, but are determined symbolically. For this reason this building and constructing is seen to be an end in itself, as itself a cult in which King and people are united. Many works like canals, Lake Moeris, waterworks in general, are related to agriculture and the inundations of the Nile. For example, Sesostris, according to Herodotus (it 108), had the whole country, hitherto used by horses and carriages, cut up by canals for the sake of a water supply and thereby made horses and carriages useless. But the chief works are still those religious buildings which the Egyptians piled up on high in the same instinctive way in which bees build their cells. Their property was regulated, their other concerns likewise, the soil was interests and occupations engrossing other peoples occur here, and apart from priestly stories about the maritime undertakings of Sesostris [Herodotus, ii. 102], there are no reports of sea voyages. On the whole the Egyptians were restricted to this building and constructing in their own country. But the independent or symbolic architecture affords the fundamental type for their colossal works, because here the inner and spiritual life of man has not yet apprehended itself in its aims and external formations or made itself the object and product of its free activity. Self-consciousness has not yet come to fruition, is not yet explicitly complete; it pushes on, seeks, divines, and produces on and on without attaining absolute satisfaction and therefore without repose. For only in the shape adequate to spirit is spirit in its completeness satisfied and then only does it impose limits on its productive activity; whereas the symbolic work of art is always more or less limitless.
In the same category with such productions of Egyptian architecture are the so-called labyrinths-courts with avenues of columns round which are passages enigmatically interwoven between walls; yet their twistings and turnings are not designed for the silly problem of finding the way out, but for an intelligent wandering amongst symbolic riddles. For the course of these passages, as I have indicated already, is intended to imitate and picture the course of the heavenly bodies. Some of these labyrinths are built above ground, others below j apart from paths, they are equipped with enormous rooms and halls, the partitions of which are covered with hieroglyphics. The largest labyrinth which Herodotus saw himself (ii. 148), was the one in the neighbourhood of Lake Moeris. He found it beyond description and surpassing even the pyramids. He ascribes its construction to twelve Kings, and sketches it in the following way. The entire building, surrounded by a single wall, consisted of two storeys, one above ground and the other below. Altogether they contained 3,000 rooms, 1,500 in each storey. The upper storey, the only one that Herodotus was allowed to examine, was divided into twelve courts beside one another, with gates opposite to one another, six facing north and six south. Each court was surrounded by a colonnade built of white stones closely fitted together. Herodotus goes on to say that from courts he went into chambers, out of these into halls, out of these into other rooms, and again from these into courts. Hirt (op. cit., i. 75) thinks that Herodotus makes this last remark only to make it clearer that the chambers open directly on to the courts. Of the paths in the labyrinth Herodotus says that the numerous paths through the decorated rooms and the varied windings of the paths across the courts filled him with infinite amazement. Pliny (Nat. Hist. xxxvi. 19) describes these paths as dark and, for a stranger, exhausting in their windings, and he says that when the doors are opened there is a noise like thunder; and it is clear too from Strabo [17. i. 37], who is important as an eyewitness like Herodotus, that the labyrinthine passages encircled the spaces formed by the courts. It was principally the Egyptians who built labyrinths like this, but a similar, though smaller, one, an imitation of the Egyptian, occurs in Crete, and also in Morea and Malta.
But this architecture by its chambers and halls is already approaching something like a house, while, on the other hand, according to what Herodotus reports, the subterranean part of the labyrinth, which he was not allowed to enter, was designed for the graves of the builders and the sacred crocodiles. Here, therefore, it is only the labyrinthine paths which have a really independent symbolical meaning. Consequently we may find in these works a transition to the form of symbolic architecture, which of itself already begins to approach the classical form.
However astonishing the buildings are which we have just considered, the subterranean architecture of the Indians and Egyptians, which is common in many ways to eastern peoples, must seem to us to be even more prodigious and wonderful. Whatever great and excellent structures we find built on the surface, they cannot compare with what exists below the soil in India, in Salsette (an island off Bombay) and Ellora, and in upper Egypt and Nubia. In these marvellous excavations there is obvious first of all the immediate need for an enclosure. People looked for protection in caves and lived there, and whole tribes had no other dwelling; and this arose from imperious necessity. Cave dwellings of this kind existed in the mountains of Judea, where there were thousands in many storeys. So too in the Harz mountains, near Goslar, in Rammelsberg there were rooms into which people crept and where they took refuge with their goods.
But the Indian and Egyptian subterranean buildings that have been mentioned are quite different from these. They served as places of assembly, as subterranean cathedrals, and are constructions built for religious wonder and spiritual assembly, with arrangements and indications of a symbolical kind, colonnades, sphinxes, Memnons, elephants, colossal idols, hewn from the rock and left growing out of the unworked mass of the stone, just as the columns were left in these excavations. At the front of the wall of rock these buildings were entirely opened here and there, others were partly dark and lit only by torches, partly perhaps with an opening above.
In comparison with the buildings on the surface such excavations seem to be earlier, so that the enormous erections above ground may be regarded as imitations and above-ground blossomings of the subterranean. For in excavations there is no question of positive building but rather of the removal of a negative. To make as nest in the ground, or to burrow, is more natural than to dig up the ground, look for material and then pile it up together and give shape to it. In this matter we may picture caves as arising earlier than huts. Caves are an expansion rather than a limitation, or an expansion which becomes a limitation and an enclosure, in which case the enclosure is there already. Therefore subterranean building begins rather with what is present already, and, since it leaves the main mass alone as it is, is not erected yet with the freedom inherent in construction above ground. But for us, however symbolical these buildings may also be, they already belong to a further sphere because they are no longer so independently symbolical; they have the purpose of enclosing, providing walls and roofs within which the more symbolic productions are set up as shuch. Something like a temple or a house, in the Greek and more modern sense, is visible here in its most natural form.
Further, the Mithras caves are to be included in this category although they are found in a totally different locality. The worship and service of Mithras was native to Persia but a similar cult was propagated in the Roman Empire too. In the Louvre in Paris, for instance, there is a very famous bas-relief depicting a youth plunging a dagger into a bull’s neck; it was found on the Capitol in a deep grotto underneath the temple of Jupiter. In these Mithras caves too there were vaultings and passages which seem to have been devised to hint symbolically at the course of the stars or (as happens still today in Masonic Lodges where you are led along many passages, must see many sights, etc.) at the ways the soul has to traverse during its purification, even if this meaning is better expressed in sculptures and work of other kinds than it is where architecture has been made the chief thing.
In a similar connection we may mention also the Roman catacombs, the original intention of which was certainly not that of serving as aqueducts, graves, or sewers.
Secondly, a more specific transition from the independent architecture to the one that serves some end and beyond itself may be sought in those buildings which are erected as mausoleums, whether subterranean or on the surface.
Especially among the Egyptians, building works whether below or above ground are linked with a realm of the dead, as in general a realm of the invisible makes its home and occurs in Egypt for the first time. The Indians burn their dead or let their bones lie and rot on the ground; according to Indian conceptions, men are or become god or gods (express it as you like), and this firm distinction between the living and the dead as such is not reached by the Indians. On this account, in cases where Mohammedanism is not to be credited with the origin of Indian buildings, they are not habitations for the dead and they seem on the whole, like the enormous excavations mentioned above, to belong to an earlier period. But in the case of the Egyptians the opposition between the living and the dead is strongly emphasized; the spiritual begins in itself to be separated from the non-spiritual. It is the rise of the individual concrete spirit which is beginning. The dead are therefore preserved as something swept away by a universal tide. Individuality is the principle underlying the independent idea of spiritual life, because the sprit can exist only as individual and personal. Consequently the honouring and preservation of the dead must count for us as the first important constituent in the existence of spiritual individuality, because here, instead of being sacrificed, individuality appears as preserved, inasmuch as the body, at any rate, as this natural and immediate individuality, is treasured and respected. As was mentioned earlier, Herodotus reports [ii. 123] that the Egyptians were the first to say that the souls of men were immortal. However imperfect the preservation of spiritual individuality is when it is maintained that the deceased has for 3,000 years to go through the whole series of animals inhabiting land, water, and air, and only thereafter migrate into a human body again, still there is implicit in this idea and in the embalming of the body a firm hold on corporeal individuality and an independent existence separated from the body.
Thus after all it is of importance for architecture that here there ensues the separation out, as it were, of the spiritual as the inner meaning which is portrayed on its own account, while the corporeal shell is placed round it as a purely architectural enclosure. In this sense the Egyptian mausoleums form the earliest temples; the essential thing, the centre of worship, is a person, an objective individual who appears significant on his own account and expresses himself in distinction from his habitation which thus is constructed as a purely serviceable shell. And indeed it is not an actual man for whose needs a house or a palace is constructed; on the contrary, it is the dead, who have no needs, e.g. Kings and sacred animals, around whom enormous constructions are built as an enclosure.
Just as agriculture ends the roving of nomads and gives them secure property in fixed sites, so ceremonies, tombstones, and the cult of the dead unite men and give to those who otherwise have no fixed abode, no determinate property, a rallying point and sacred places which they defend and from which they are not willingly torn. So, for example, as Herodotus tells (iv. 126-7), the Scythians, this nomadic people, retreated everywhere before Darius. Darius sent a message to their King: ‘If the King deems himself strong enough to make resistance, let him prepare for battle. Otherwise let him recognize Darius as his lord and master.’ To this message Idanthyrsus [the Scythian King] replied:
We have neither towns nor cultivated lands and have nothing to defend, for there are none that Darius can devastate. But if Darius is concerned to have a battle, we have the tombs of our fathers and if Darius seeks them out and ventures to meddle with them, then he will see whether or no we would fight for the tombs.
The oldest grandiose mausoleums we find in Egypt in the shape of the pyramids. What at the first sight of these amazing constructions may arouse our wonder is their colossal size which at once prompts reflection on the length of time and the variety, abundance, and persistence of human powers required for the completion of such immense buildings. In their form, however, they present nothing else to arrest our attention; the whole thing is surveyed and grasped in a few minutes. In regard to the simplicity and regularity of their shape there has long been a dispute about their purpose. The Greeks, e.g. Herodotus [ii. 148] and Strabo, long ago adduced the purpose that they actually subserved, but, even so, travellers and writers, old and new, have excogitated on this subject a great deal that is fabulous and untenable. The Arabs tried to force a way in because they hoped to find treasures inside the pyramids, but instead of achieving their aim these breaches in the structure only destroyed a great deal without reaching the actual passages and chambers. Modern Europeans amongst whom Belzoni of Rome and, later, Caviglia of Genoa are especially outstanding, have at last succeeded in becoming acquainted with the interior of the pyramids with more precision. Belzoni uncovered the king’s grave in the pyramid of Chephren. The entrances to the pyramids were closed most securely with ashlar masonry, and the Egyptians tried in the course of building so to arrange matters that the entrance, even if known to exist, could be rediscovered and opened only with great difficulty. This proves that the pyramids were to remain closed and not to be used again. Within them chambers have been found as well as passages (indicating the ways which the soul traverses after death in its circulation through its changes of shape), great halls, and subterranean ducts which sometimes rose, sometimes descended. The king’s grave discovered by Belzoni, for instance, runs in this way, hewn in the rock for a distance of a league. In the principal hall there stood a sarcophagus of granite, sunk into the ground, but all that was found in it was the remains of the bones of a mummified animal, an Apis probably. But the whole structure manifestly and undoubtedly had the purpose of serving as a house for the dead.
In age, size, and shape the pyramids differ. The oldest appear to be only stones piled upon one another to form something like a pyramid; the later ones are constructed regularly; some are flattened to some extent on top, others rise steadily to a point. On others there are steps, explicable, according to Herodotus’ description of the pyramid of Cheops (ii. 125), by the Egyptian procedure in the building of such works. For this reason Hirt (op. cit., i. 55) includes this pyramid amongst those unfinished. According to the latest French reports, the chambers and passages were more intricate in the older pyramids, simpler in the later ones, but entirely covered with hieroglyphics so that to transcribe these completely would take several years.
In this way the pyramids though astonishing in themselves are just simple crystals, shells enclosing a kernel, a departed spirit, and serve to preserve its enduring body and form. Therefore in this deceased person, thus acquiring presentation on his own account, the entire meaning is concentrated; architecture, which previously has its meaning independently in itself as architecture, now become separated from the meaning and, in this cleavage, subservient to something else; while sculpture acquires the task of giving form to what is strictly inner, although at first the individual creation is retained in its own immediate natural shape as a mummy. Therefore, in considering Egyptian architecture as a whole we find independently symbolic buildings on the one hand, and yet, on the other hand, especially in everything relating to mausoleums, there comes clearly to the front the special purpose of architecture, namely to furnish an enclosure merely. This essentially implies that architecture does not merely excavate and form caves but is manifest as an inorganic nature built by human hands where necessary for achieving a human aim.
Other peoples too have erected similar memorials to the dead, sacred buildings as dwellings for a dead body over which they are raised. The tomb of Mausolus in Caria, for example, and, later, Hadrian’s tomb (now the castle of San Angelo in Rome), a palace carefully constructed for a grave, were famous works even in antiquity. In the same category, according to Uhden (Wolff and Buttmann: Museum i. 536), are memorials (of a sort) to the dead which in their arrangement and surroundings imitated on a smaller scale temples dedicated to the gods. A temple of this kind had a garden, an arbour, a spring, a vineyard, and then chapels in which portrait-statues in the shape of gods were erected. It was especially under the [Roman] Empire that such memorials were built, with statues of the deceased in the form of divinities like Apollo, Venus, and Minerva. These figures, and the whole construction, therefore acquired at the same period the meaning of an apotheosis is and a temple of the deceased, just as in Egypt the embalming, the emblems, and the sarcophagus indicated that the deceased had become Osiris.
Nevertheless the simplest but grandiose constructions of this sort are the Egyptian pyramids. Here there enters the line proper and essential to architecture, the straight one, and, in general, regularity and abstract [i.e. geometrical] forms. For architecture as a mere enclosure and as inorganic nature (nature not in itself individualized and animated by its indwelling spirit) can be shaped only in a way external to itself, though the external form is not organic but abstract and mathematical. But however far the pyramid already begins to have the purpose of a house, still the right-angle is not dominant everywhere, as it is in a house proper; on the contrary, the pyramid has a character of its own which is not subservient to any mere purpose, and which therefore is self-enclosed in a line running directly and gradually from the base to the apex.
From this point we can make the transition from independent architecture to architecture proper, the kind that is subservient to some purpose.
To the latter, two points of departure are available, one is symbolic architecture, the other is need and the appropriateness of means to satisfy it. In the case of symbolic formations, as we have noticed in considering them previously, an architectural purpose is purely an accessory an only a matter of external arrangement. The extreme opposite of this is the house, where elementary need demands a house with wooden columns or perpendicular walls with beams set over them at right angles, and a roof. There is no question but that the need for this strict appropriateness arises automatically; but the essential point in question is whether architecture proper, in the we are about to consider it in its classical form, begins from need only are whether it is to be derived from those independent and symbolic works which led us by themselves to buildings serving a purpose.
(α) Need introduces into architecture forms which are wholly and entirely purposeful and belong to the [mathematical] intellect, viz. the straight line, the right angle, level surfaces. For when architecture serves a purpose, the real purpose is there independently as a statue or, more particularly, as human individuals assembled as a community or from ends which are universal, i.e. religious or political, and which do not now issue from the’ satisfaction of physical needs. In particular, the primary need is to frame an enclosure for the image or statue of the gods, or generally for something sacred which is presented on its own account and actually available. Memnons, for instance, sphinxes, etc. stand in open spaces or in a grove; nature is their external environment. But such productions, and still more the humanly shaped figures of the gods, are derived from a sphere other than that of nature in its immediacy; they belong to the realm of imagery and are called into being by human artistic activity. On the contrary, for what is outside them they require a ground and an enclosure which has the same origin as themselves, i.e. which is likewise the product of imagination and has been formed by artistic activity. Only in surroundings produced by art do the gods find. their appropriate element. But in that case this external frame does not now have its end in itself; it serves an essential end other than its own and therefore falls subject to the rule of purposiveness.
But if these primarily purely useful forms are to rise to beauty, they must not remain at their original abstractness but must go beyond symmetry and eurhythmy to the organic, the concrete, the varied, and the self-complete. But in that event there as it were a reflection on differences and characteristics, as well as an express emphasis on and formation of aspects which for pure purposiveness is wholly superfluous. A beam, for example, in one aspect goes on in as straight line, but at the same time it stops at the both ends; similarly a stanchion, which has to carry as beam or a roof, stands at the ground and terminates where the beam rests on it. Useful architecture displays differences of thin kind and shape them artistically, whereas an organic production, like a plant or a man, of course has its above and below but from the very beginning it is formed organically and therefore the distinctions of foot and head, of in the plant, of root and corolla.
(β) Symbolic architecture, conversely, takes its straight-point more or less from such organic formations, as in sphinxes, Memnons, etc. Yet it cannot altogether get rid of straight lines and regular intervals in walls, gates, beams, obelisks, etc., and when it intends to set up these sculptural colossi in something of an architectural way, and in rows beside one another, it must has recourse to equality of size and distance from one another, to a rectilinear arrangement of the rows, and in general to the order and regularity of architecture proper. Thus it has in itself both the principles unified in the architecture which is at once useful and beautiful, though in symbolic architecture these are not built into one but still lie outside one another.
(γ) Therefore we may so conceive the transition that on the one hand the previously independent architecture must modify organic forms mathematically into regularity, and pass out to purposiveness, while conversely mere purposiveness of form has to move towards the principle of the organic. Where these to extremes meet and mutually interpenetrate, really beautiful classical architecture is born.
Now this unification can be clearly recognized, as it were in its real origin, in to initial transformation of what we have already seen in the architecture previously considered, i.e. of columns. Walls are of course necessary for an enclosure. But as has been shown in the examples already, walls can also stand independently without completely forming an enclosure, for which a roof above is essential and not merely as enclosure of side-spaces. But such a roof must be carried. The simplest means for this consists of columns, the essential and also strict function of which in this connection is to be load-bearing. For this reason, when it is mere matter of load-bearing, walls as strictly as superfluity. For load-bearing is mechanical relation and belongs to the province of gravity and its laws. Now here the gravity and weight of a body is concentrated at its centre of gravity; it is to be supported at this centre so that is rests level without falling. This support is what the column provides so that by it the force of support appeared reduced to the minimum of external means. What a wall does at huge cost a few columns achieve, and it a great beauty in classical architecture not to erect more columns than are necessary in fact for carrying the load of beams and what rests on them. In architecture proper there is no true beauty in column used for adornment merely. For this reason too a column set up independently by itself does not fulfill its function. It is true that triumphal columns have been erected for example, e.g. the famous one to Trojan as Napoleon, but these are as it only a pedestal for statue, clad in addition with carvings to commemorate and celebrate the hero whose statue the column carries.
It is especially remarkable how, in the course of architectural development, the column has to tear itself away from a concrete natural shape in order to attain a shape that is more abstract but alike purposeful and beautiful.
(αα) Since independent architecture begins from organic it can seize on human figures; as in Egypt, for instance, use in made of figures still partly human, Memnon e.g., for columns. But it is purely superfluous use of these figures because their real purpose in not load-carrying. In a different way caryatids occur in Greece; they serve the end of supporting beams in a more rigorous way, but they can only be used in small structures. Besides we must regard it as a misuse of human form to compress it under such a load and thus the caryatids after all have the character of being pressed down, and their costume indicate the slavery which is burdened with the carrying of such burdens.
(ββ) The more natural organic form of stanchions and pillars that are to be load-bearing is therefore the tree or, in general, a plant, a trunk, a slender stem rising perpendicularly. The tree trunk naturally carries its corolla, the blade the ear, the stem the flower. These forms are directly drawn from nature by Egyptian architecture which had not yet gained freedom to formulate its intentions abstractly. In this respect the grandiose style of the Egyptian palaces or temples, the colossal character of rows of columns and their vast number, and, in short, the gigantic proportions of the whole, have in all ages excited the astonishment and admiration of spectators. We see columns originating in the greatest variety from plant-formations; lotus plants and others are stretched up and lengthened into columns. In the colonnades, for example, all the columns do not have the same form; the form changes once, twice, or thrice. In his work on his Egyptian expedition, Denon has assembled a great number of such forms.
The whole column is not mathematically regular in form, because the pedestal is onion-shaped, the leaf rises from the bulb like a reed, or in other cases there is a cluster of radical leaves, as in various plants. Then out of this pedestal the slender stem rises up or mounts up, intricately interwoven, as a column. The capital again is a flower-like separation of leaves and branches. Yet the imitation is not true to nature; on the contrary; the plant-forms are distorted architecturally, brought nearer to the circle, the straight line, and what is mathematically regular. The result is that these columns in their entirety are like what are generally called arabesques.
(γγ) This then is the place to discuss the arabesque in general because it falls by its very conception into the transition out of a natural organic form used by architecture to the more severe regularity of architecture proper. But when architecture freely fulfils its purpose it degrades arabesques to a decoration and ornament. In that case they are principally distorted plant-forms and animal and human forms growing out of plants and intermingled with them, or animal shapes passing over into plants. If they are to shelter a symbolic meaning, then the transition from one natural kingdom to another may pass for it; without such a significance they are only plays of imagination in its assembly, connection, and ramification of different natural formations. In the invention of such architectural decoration imagination may indulge in the most varied friezes of every kind, in wood, stone, etc., and in borders even on furniture and clothing, and the chief characteristic and basic form of this decoration is that plants, leaves, flowers, and animals are brought nearer to the inorganic and geometrical. For this reason we often find that arabesques have become stiff and untrue to the organic, and therefore they are often criticized and art is reproached for making use of them. Painting especially is so reproached, although Raphael himself ventured to paint arabesques on a large scale and with extreme grace, depth of spirit, variety, and charm. No doubt arabesques, whether in relation to organic forms or the laws of mechanics, run counter to nature, but this sort of contrariety is not only a right of art as such but is even a duty in architecture, since only by this means are the organic forms, otherwise unfit for architecture, adapted to and made harmonious with the truly architectural style. Nearest at hand for this adaptation is especially the plant kingdom which is used profusely for arabesques in the East too. The reason is that plants are not yet individuals who feel but they offer themselves in themselves for architectural purposes because they form protective roofing and shadow against rain, sunshine, and wind, and on the whole lack the swinging of lines which is free from conformity to mathematical law. When used architecturally, their otherwise already regular leaves are regulated into more definite curves and straight lines, so that in this way everything that might be viewed as a distortion, an unnaturalness and stiffness in the plant-forms [used in arabesques] is essentially to be regarded as an appropriate transformation for strictly architectural purposes.
Thus in the column architecture proper leaves the purely organic to enter the sphere of geometrically ordered purposiveness and then out of this into an approach to organic again. It has been necessary here to mention this double starting-point of architecture from (a) real needs and (b) purposeless independence, because the truth is the unity of these two principles. The beautiful column arises from a form borrowed from nature which then is reshaped into a stanchion, into a regular and geometrical form.
When architecture acquires the place belonging to it in accordance with its own essential nature, its productions are subservient to an end and a meaning not immanent in itself. It becomes an Inorganic surrounding structure, a whole built and ordered according to the laws of gravity. The forms of this whole are subject to what is severely regular, rectilinear, right-angled, circular, to relations depending on specific number and quantity, to inherently limited proportions and fixed conformity to law. The beauty of classical architecture consists precisely in this appropriateness to purpose which is freed from immediate confusion with the organic, the spiritual, and the symbolic; although it subserves a purpose, it comprises a perfect totality in itself which makes its one purpose shine clearly through all its forms, and in the music of its proportions reshapes the purely useful into beauty. Architecture at this stage, however, does correspond with its real essential nature because it cannot entirely endow the spiritual with an adequate existence and therefore can only frame the external and spiritless into a reflection of the spiritual.
In considering this architecture which is alike beautiful and useful we will take the following route:
First, we have to settle its general nature and character In more detail;
Secondly, to cite the particular fundamental characteristics of the architectural forms arising from the purpose for which the classical work of art was built;
Thirdly, we may cast a glance at the actual and concrete developments achieved by classical architecture. In none of these sections will I enter into detail but will confine myself wholly to the most general considerations, which are simpler here than they were in the case of symbolic architecture.
In line with what I have maintained more than once already, the fundamental character of architecture proper consists in the fact that the spiritual meaning does not reside exclusively in the building (for, if it did, the building would become an independent symbol of its inner meaning) but in the fact that this meaning has already attained’ its existence in freedom outside architecture. This existence may be of two kinds, namely whenever another more far-reaching art and, in the strictly classical sculpture especially, gives shape to this meaning and presents it independently, or when man contains in himself and gives practical proof of this meaning in a living way in his immediate actual life. Moreover, these two sides may meet. In other words, the eastern architecture of Babylonia, India, and Egypt either shaped symbolically into productions, valid in themselves, whatever counted to these nations as the Absolute and the truth, or surrounded what, despite death, remained of a man in his external natural form. Now, however, the spirit, either in its immediate spiritual lining existence or by means of art, is separated from the building and independent of it, and architecture betakes itself to the service of this spirit which is its proper meaning and determining purpose. In this way this purpose now becomes what rules, what dominates the entire work, and determines its fundamental shape, its skeleton as it were; and neither physical materials nor the fancy and caprice of the architect are allowed to go their own way independently, as happens in symbolic architecture, or to develop, beyond utility, a superfluity of various parts and forms, as in romantic architecture.
The first question in the case of a building of this sort is about its purpose and function, as well as about the circumstances in which it is to be erected. The good sense and genius of the architect has to show itself in the complete fulfilment of a general task, namely to make his building fit the circumstances, to have regard to climate, position, the environing natural landscape, and, while attending to all these points and keeping the purpose of the building in view, to produce at the same time a freely co-ordinated and unified whole. In the case of the Greeks the principal architectural subjects were public buildings – temples, colonnades, and porticos for resting and strolling in during the day, and avenues like, for instance, the famous approach up to the Acropolis at Athens, whereas their private houses were very simple. In the case of the Romans, on the other hand, what is conspicuous is the luxury of private houses, especially villas, as well as the magnificence of imperial palaces, public baths, theatres, circuses, amphitheatres, aqueducts, fountains, etc. But in such buildings utility remains prevalent and dominant throughout so that there can be room for beauty only more or less as a decoration. In this sphere, therefore, the freest purpose is that of religion, i.e. the construction of a temple to be an enclosure for a person who himself belongs to fine art and is set up by sculpture as a statue of the god.
In virtue of these purposes, architecture proper seems to be freer than it was at the previous stage, the symbolic, which adopted organic forms from nature; freer indeed than sculpture which, compelled to adopt the human form that is there already, is bound down to it and its given general proportions. Classical architecture, on the other hand, devices the substance of its plan and figuration in the light of spiritual purposes, while its shape is the product of human intellect and has no direct model. This greater freedom is to be admitted to extent but its scope remains restricted, and the classical treatment of architecture is on the whole abstract and dry because of the intellectual [i.e. mathematical] character of its forms. Friedrich von Schlegel has called architecture ‘frozen music’, and indeed the two arts do rest on a harmony of relations which can be reduced to numbers and for this reason can easily be grasped in their fundamental characters. The house, as has been said, provides the chief determinant [in architecture] for these characters and their simple relations’ whether these be severe and large-scaled or more graceful and elegant: walls, pillars, beams, assembled in wholly mathematical and crystalline forms. Now what these relations are cannot be reduced to settlement by numerical proportions with perfect precision. For, e.g., an oblong with right angles is more pleasing than a square because in the equality of an oblong there is inequality too. If the breadth is half the length we have a pleasing proportion, whereas something long and thin is unpleasing. But in that case the mechanical relation between what bears and what is borne must be maintained in its genuine proportion and law; e.g. a heavy beam should not rest on thin and graceful columns, nor, conversely, should great carrying structures be erected to carry in the end something quite light. In all these matters, in the relation of the breadth to the length and height of the building, of the height of columns to their diameter, in the intervals and number of columns, in the sort of variety or simplicity in decoration, in the size of the numerous cornices, friezes, etc., there dominated in classical times a secret eurhythmy, discovered above all by the just sense of the Greeks. The Greeks did deviate from this in individual instances here and there, but on the whole they had to abide by these fundamental relationships in order to remain within the bounds of beauty.
It has already been mentioned earlier that there has been a long dispute about whether what was original was building in wood or in stone, and whether architectural forms derived from this difference. In architecture proper it is purpose that dominates, and the fundamental type if the house is developed into beauty and for this reason wooden construction may be assumed to be the earlier.
This Hirt assumed, following Vitruvius [ii. 1-4], and he has often been criticized. My own view on this disputed question I will state briefly. The usual way of proceeding is to find an abstract and simple law for some concrete existent thing which is taken for granted. In this sense Hirt looks for a basic model for Greek buildings, as it were for the theory of them, their anatomical structure, and he finds it, its form and corresponding material, in the house and in building in wood. Now of course a house as such is built principally as a dwelling, as a protection against wind, rain, weather, animals, and men, and it requires a complete enclosure where a family or a larger community can assemble, shut in by themselves, and pursue their needs and concerns in this seclusion. A house is an entirely purposeful structure, produced by men for human purpose. So the builder has many aims and concerns in the course of his work. In detail the frame, in order to be supported and stable, has to Connect various joints and thrusts together in line with mechanical principles, and observe the conditions imposed by weight and the need for stabilizing the structure, closing it, supporting its upper parts, and, in general, not merely carrying these but keeping the horizontal, horizontal and binding the structure together at recesses and corners. Now a house does demand a total enclosure for which walls are the most serviceable and safest means, and from this point of view building in stone seems to be more appropriate, but a sort of wall can equally well be constructed from stanchions set alongside one another ‘on which beams rest and these at the same time bind together and secure the perpendicular stanchions by which they are supported and carried. Finally, ‘on top of these is the ceiling and the roof. Apart from all this the chief point in the temple, god’s house, on which everything turns is not the enclosure the carrying beams and what they carry. For this mechanical matter building in wood proves to be the first and the most appropriate to nature. For here the basic determinants are (i) the stanchion as Ioad-bearing, and (ii) the cross-beams which provide the simultaneously necessary binding of stanchions together. But (a) this separation of the stanchions and (b) the linking of them together, as well as the appropriate dovetailing of (a) and (b) is essentially akin to building in wood which finds its material directly in the tree. Without any need for extensive and difficult workmanship, the tree affords both stanchions and beams, because wood has already in itself a definite formation; it consists of separate linear pieces, more or less rectangular, which can be directly put together at right, acute, or obtuse angles, and so provide corner columns, supports, cross-beams, and a roof. On the ‘other hand, stone does not have from the start such a firmly specific shape, but, compared with a tree, is a formless mass which, for some purpose, must be split and worked on before the separate stones can be brought together and piled on one another, and before they can be built together into a unity again. Operations of many kinds are required before it can have the shape and utility that wood has in and by itself from the start. Apart from this, stone in huge blocks invites excavation rather, and, in general, being relatively formless at the start, it can be shaped in any and every way and therefore it affords manageable material not only for symbolic but also for romantic architecture and its more fantastic forms; whereas wood owing to its natural form with rectilinear stems is directly more serviceable for the severer purposiveness and mathematical proportions that are the basis ‘of classical architecture. From this Point of view, building in stone is especially predominant in independent architecture, although even in the case of the Egyptians, for example, in their colonnades overlaid with entablatures, needs arise which building in wood can satisfy more easily and basically. But, conversely, classical architecture does not stop at all at building in wood but proceeds on contrary, where it develops into beauty, to build in stone, with the result that while in its architectural forms the original principle of building in wood is still always recognizable, specific characteristics nevertheless enter which are not inherent in building in wood as such.
As for the chief particular points concerning the house as the fundamental model for the temple, the most essential things to be mentioned here are limited in brief to what follows.
If we look more closely at a house and examine its mechanical proportions, we have, as was said above, on the one hand architecturally formed masses carrying a load, and, on the other, those being carried, both being bound together to give support and stability. To these is added, thirdly, the purpose of enclosing, and partitioning, in the three dimensions of length, breadth, and height. Now by being an interconnection of different specific characteristics, a construction is a concrete whole, and this it must display on itself. Thus essential differences arise here, and they have to appear both in their particularization and specific development and also in their being fitted together on intelligent [i.e. mathematical] principles.
(α) The first thing of importance in this connection affects load-bearing. As soon as Ioad-bearing masses are mentioned, we generally think first, in view of our present-day needs, of a wall as the firmest and safest support. But, as we said already, a wall as such does not have supporting as its sole principle, for on the contrary it serves to enclose and connect and for this reason is a preponderating feature in romantic architecture. The peculiarity of Greek architecture is at once seen to consist in the fact that it gives shape to this supporting as such and therefore employs the column as the fundamental element in the purposiveness of architecture and its beauty.
(αα) The column has no other purpose but to be a support and. although a row of columns set up beside one another in a Straight line marks a boundary, it does not enclose something as a solid wall or partition does but is moved in front of a proper wall and placed by itself independently. Where the aim is exclusively that of serving as a support, it is above all important that in relation to the load resting on it the column should have the look of being there for a purpose and therefore should be neither too weak nor too strong, should neither appear compressed nor rise so high and easily into the air as merely to look as if it were playing with its load.
(ββ) Just as the column is distinguished on one side from an enclosing wall and a partition, so on the other side it is distinguished from a mere stanchion. The stanchion is planted directly on the ground and ends just as directly where the load is placed on it. Therefore its specific length, its beginning and end seem as it were to be a negative limitation imposed by something else, or to be determined accidentally in a way not belonging to it on its own account. But beginning and ending are determinations implicit in the very nature of a column as a support and on this account must come into appearance on it as constituent features of its own. This is the reason why developed and beautiful architecture supplies the column with a pedestal and a capital. It is true that in the Tuscan Orderthere is no pedestal so that the column rises directly from the ground; but in that case its length is something fortuitous for the eye; we do not know whether the column has been pressed so and so deeply into the ground by the weight of the mass supported. If the beginning of the column is not to seem vague and accidental, it must be given on purpose a foot on which it stands and which expressly reveals the beginning to us as a beginning. By this means art intends, for one thing, to say to us: ‘Here the column begins’, and, for another thing, to bring to the notice of our eye the solidity and safety of the structure and, as it were, set our eye at rest in this respect. For the like reason art makes the column end with a capital which indicates the column’s real purpose of load-bearing and also means: ‘Here the column ends.’ This reflection on the intentionally made beginning and end provides the really deeper reason for having a pedestal and a capital. It is as if, in music, there were a cadence without a firm conclusion, or if a book did not end with a full stop or begin without the emphasis of a capital letter. In the case of a book, however, especially in the Middle Ages, large decorative letters were introduced [at the beginning] and decorations at the end to give objectivity to the idea that there was a beginning and an end. Consequently, however far the existence of a pedestal and a capital is due to more than mere need, still we are not to regard them as a superfluous ornament, nor should we attempt to derive them from the example of Egyptian columns which still take the plant kingdom as their typical model. Organic products, as they are portrayed by sculpture in the shape of animals and men, have their beginning and end in their own free outlines, because it is the rational organism itself which settles the boundaries of its shape from within outwards. For the column and its shape, however, architecture has nothing but the mechanical determinant of load-bearing and the spatial distance from the ground to the point where the load to be carried terminates the column. But the particular aspects implicit in this determinant belong to the column, and art must bring them out and give shape to them. Consequently the columns specific length, its two boundaries above and below, and its carrying power should not appear to be only accidental and introduced into it by something else but must be displayed as also immanent in itself.
As for further details about the shape of the column beyond the pedestal and capital, the first point is that it is round, like a circle, because it is to stand freely, closed in on itself. But the circle is the simplest, firmly enclosed, intelligibly determinate, and most regular line. Therefore by its very shape the column proves that it is not intended, set up with others in a thick row, to form a flat surface in the way that stanchions, cut square and set alongside one another, make up walls and partitions, but that its sole purpose is, within its own self-limitation, to serve as a support. Secondly, in its ascent the shaft of the column tapers slightly, usually from a third of its height; it decreases in circumference and diameter because the lower parts have to carry the upper, and this mechanical relation between parts of the column must be made evident and perceptible. Finally, columns are usually fluted perpendicularly, partly to give variety to the simple shape in itself, partly, where this is necessary, to make them look wider owing to this division of the shaft.
(γγ) Now although a column is set up singly on its own account, it nevertheless has to show that it is not there for its own sake but for the weight it is to carry. Since a house needs to be bounded on every side, a single column is insufficient; others are placed alongside it and hence arises the essential requirement that columns be multiplied or form a row. Now if several columns support the same weight, this carrying a weight in common determines their common and equal height, and it is this weight, the beam, which binds them together. This leads us on from load-carrying as such to the opposite constituent, the load carried.
(β) What the columns carry is the entablature laid above them. The first feature arising in this connection is the straight angle. The support must form a right angle alike with the ground and the entablature. For by the law of gravity, the horizontal position is the only one secure and adequate in itself, and the right angle is the only fixedly determinate one, while the acute and obtuse angles are indeterminate, variable, and contingent in their measurement.
The constituent parts of the entablature are organized in the following way:
(αα) On the columns of equal height set up beside one another in a straight line there immediately rests the architrave, the chief beam which binds the columns together and imposes on them a common burden. As a simple beam it requires for its shape only four level surfaces, put together at right-angles in all dimensions, and their abstract regularity. But although the architrave is carried by the columns, the rest of the entablature rests on it, so that it in turn is given the task of load-carrying. For this reason, architecture in its advance presented this double requirement on the main beam by indicating through projecting cornices, etc., the load-carrying function of its upper part. So regarded, the main beam, in other words, is related not only to the load-bearing columns but just as much to the other loads resting on it.
(ββ) These loads are first of all the frieze.The band or frieze consists of (a) the ends of the roof-beams lying on the main beams and (b) the spaces between these. In this way the frieze contains more essential differences in itself than the architrave has and for this reason has to emphasize them in a more salient way, especially when architecture, though carrying out its work in stone, still follows more strictly the type of building in wood. This provides the difference between triglyph and metope. Triglyphs, that is to say, are the beam-ends which were cut thrice on the frieze, while metopes were the quadrangular spaces between the individual triglyphs. In the earliest times these spaces were probably left empty but later on they were filled, indeed overclad and adorned with bas-reliefs.
(γγ) The frieze which rests on the main beam carries in turn the crest or cornice. This has the purpose of supporting the roofing which ends the structure at the top. At once the question arises about the sort of thing that this final boundary must be. For in this matter a double kind of boundary may occur, a right-angled horizontal one or one inclined at an acute or obtuse angle. If we look at requirements, it appears that southerners who have to suffer very little from rain or stormy winds need protection from the sun only, so that they can be satisfied with a horizontal and right-angled roof for a house. Whereas northerners have to protect themselves from rain which must be allowed to run off, and from snow which should not be allowed to become too heavy a load; consequently they need sloping roofs. Yet architecture as a fine art cannot settle the matter by requirements alone; as an art it has also to satisfy the deeper demands of beauty and attractiveness. What rises upwards from the ground must be presented to us with a base, a foot, on which it stands and which serves as a support; besides, the columns and walls of architecture proper give us materially the vision of load-carrying. Whereas the top, the roof, must no longer support a load but only be supported, and this character of not supporting must be visible on itself, i.e. it must be so constructed that it cannot now support anything and must therefore terminate at an angle, whether acute or obtuse. Thus the classical temples have no horizontal roof, but roof surfaces meeting at an obtuse angle, and the termination of the building in this way is in conformity with beauty. For horizontal roofs do not give the impression of a completed whole, for a horizontal surface at the top can always carry something else, whereas this is not possible for the line in which sloping roof-sides meet. What satisfies us in this respect is the pyramidal form which is satisfying in painting too, e.g., in the grouping of its figures.
(γ) The final point for our consideration is enclosure, i.e. walls and partitions. Columns are indeed load-carrying and they do form a boundary, but they do not enclose anything; on the contrary, they are the precise opposite of an interior closed on all sides by walls. Therefore if such a complete enclosure is required, thick and solid walls must be constructed too. This is actually done in the building of temples.
(αα) About these walls there is nothing further to mention except that they must be set up straight and perpendicular to the ground, because walls rising at acute or obtuse angles give the eye the impression of impending collapse, and they have no once and for all settled direction because it may appear to be a matter of chance that they rise at this or that acute or obtuse angle and no other. Adaptation to a purpose and mathematical regularity alike demand a right-angle here once again.
(ββ) Walls can both enclose and support, while we restricted to columns the proper function of supporting only. Consequently this at once suggests the idea that, when the different needs of enclosure and support are both to be satisfied, columns could be set up and unified into walls by thick partitions, and this is the origin of half-[or embedded-] columns. So, for instance, Hirt, following Vitruvius [ii. 1. iv], begins his original construction with four corner-posts. Now if the necessity of an enclosure is to be satisfied, then of course, if columns are demanded at the same time, they must be embedded in the walls, and this can make clear too that half-columns are of very great antiquity. Hirt, e.g., says (Architecture on Greek Principles [Berlin, 1808] p. III) that the Use of half-columns is as old as architecture itself, and he derives their origin from the fact that columns and pillars supported and carried ceilings and roofs, but necessitated intervening partitions as a protection against the sun and bad weather. But, he continues, since the columns were already sufficient to support the building, it was unnecessary to make the partitions and walls as thick or of such solid material as the columns, and therefore the latter jutted out as a rule. This may provide a reason right enough for the origin of half-columns, but nevertheless half-columns are simply repugnant, because in them two different opposed purposes stand beside one another without any inner necessity and they are confused with one another. It is true that half-columns can be defended on the ground that even a column began so strictly from building in wood that it became the fundamental thing in the construction of an enclosure. But if walls are thick, the column has no sense any longer but is degraded to being a mere stanchion. For the real column is essentially round, finished in itself, and expresses precisely by this perfection that it is a contradiction to continue it with a view to making a level surface, and therefore a wall, out of it. Consequently, if supports are wanted in walls, they must be level, not round columns but flat things which can be prolonged to form a wall.
On these lines, in his early essay (1773) ‘On German Architecture’, Goethe passionately exclaims:
What is it to us, you expert with your up-to-date French philosophical ideas, that youtell us that the first man, devising something for his needs, rammed four stakes into the ground, tied four sticks on top of them and covered them with branches and moss.... And in addition it is false too that your hut was the earliest in the world. Two sticks crossing one another at the top in front and two behind, with another transverse one as a coping, are and remain, as you can see any day in constructions for protecting crops and vines, a far more primitive invention, from which you cannot derive a principle even for your pig-sty.
In this way Goethe seeks to prove that, in buildings solely designed for protection, columns embedded in walls are senseless. It is not as if he intended to disparage the beauty of the column. On the contrary, he praises it highly and adds: ‘Beware of using it inappropriately: its nature is to stand freely. Woe to those miserable characters who have hammered its slender build on to fat walls.’ Then he proceeds to properly medieval and contemporary architecture, and says:
A column is no constituent part of all of our habitations, rather does it contradict the essence of all our buildings. Our houses do not originate from four columns in four corners; they originate from four walls on four sides which stand instead of any columns, exclude all columns, and where columns are foisted on the walls they are a superfluous load-carrier. The same applies to our palaces and churches, with a few exceptions which I do not need to notice.
The correct principle of the column is expressed here in this statement produced by a free and factually appropriate insight. The column must have its foot in front of the wall and come forward independently of it. In modern architecture we do often have the use of pilasters, but these have been regarded as a repeated shadow of earlier columns and have been made not round but fiat.
(γγ) Hence it is clear that although walls can also carry, still, since the task of carrying is already borne by columns, they have, on their part, in developed classical architecture, to make enclosure their essential aim. If they carry, as columns do, then these different purposes [of enclosing and carrying] are not carried out as they should be by different parts, and our idea of what walls are supposed to do is murky and confused. For this reason we find even in temple-building that the central hall, where there stands the image of the god which it was the chief purpose of the temple to enclose, is often open overhead. But if a covering roof is needed, the higher claims of beauty require that it shall itself be carried independently [of walls]. For the direct placing of entablature and roof on the enclosing walls is only a matter of need and requirement, not of free architectural beauty, because in classical architecture no exterior or interior walls are needed as supports; rather would they be inappropriate, because, as we have seen earlier, they are arrangements and an expense beyond what is necessary for carrying the roof.
These are the chief points which have to arise in the particular characteristics of classical architecture.
While we may lay it down as a fundamental law that, on the one hand, the differences briefly indicated just above must come into appearance as differences, on the other hand it is equally necessary
for them to be united into a whole. In conclusion we will cast a brief glance at this unification which in architecture cannot be more than a juxtaposition, and an association, and a thorough going eurhythmy of proportion.
In general the Greek temples present us with an aspect which is satisfying, and, so to say, more than satisfying.
(α) There is no upward emphasis; the whole stretches out directly in breath and width without rising. Confronted by it the eye scarcely needs to direct its glance upwards; on the contrary it is allured by the breadth, while the medieval German [i.e. Gothic] architecture almost struggles upward immeasurably and lifts itself to the sky. With the Greeks the chief thing remains the breath as a firm and convenient foundation on the ground, and the height is drawn rather from a man’s height, but increased with the increased breadth and width of the building.
(β) Moreover, the ornamentation is so introduced that it does not impair the impression of simplicity. After all, a lot depends on the mode of ornamentation. The ancients, especially the Greeks, kept to the most beautiful proportions in this matter. Wholly simple lines and big surfaces, for example, appear in this undivided simplicity not so big as when some variety or interruption is introduced into them, with the result that the eye is only then presented with a more specific proportion. But if this division and its decoration is developed into minutiae, so that we have nothing in view except a multiplicity and its details, even the very greatest proportions and dimensions crumble and are destroyed. On the whole the Greeks did not labour by this means to make their buildings and their proportions seem just bigger than they were in fact, nor did they so divide the whole by interruptions and decorations that, because all the parts are small and a decisive unity bringing them into a whole again is lacking, the whole too seems small likewise. Neither did their perfectly beautiful works lie pressed down on the ground in a compact mass nor did they tower upwards to an extent out of proportion to their breadth. On the contrary, in this matter too they kept to a beautiful mean and in their simplicity gave at the same time the necessary scope to well-proportioned variety, above all, the fundamental character of the whole and its simple details shines with complete clarity through every feature; it controls the individuality of the design in just the same way in which, in the classical ideal, the universal substance remains powerful enough to master and bring into harmony with itself the contingent and particular sphere in which it has its life.
(γ) What is to be noticed in respect of the arrangement and the separate parts of the temple is (a) a great series of stages of development and (b) that remained traditional. The chief characteristics which may be of interest to us here are limited to the naos (the cell of the temple, surrounded by walls and containing the images of the gods), the pronaos (the forecourt [i.e. the first room of the temple through which one entered the cell]), the opisthodomos (the room behind the ccell), and the colonnades surrounding the whole building. The kind that Vitruvius called amphiprotylos [with columns both back and front] originally had a room in front of the cell and another at the back with a row of columns in front of both. Next, in the peipteros [with a single row of columns] there is a row of columns in front of all four sides, until, finally, the highest degree is reached when this row of columns is doubled all round in the dipteros temple, and in the ypaithros [open to the sky] there are added, in the cell, colonnades with columns in two storeys, set apart from the walls, and so providing round the cell a walk similar to that provided by the outside colonnades. For this kind of temple the examples cited by Vitruvius are the eight-columned temple of Athene in Athens and the ten-columned one of the Olympian Zeus (Hirt, History of Ancient Architecture, iii. 14-18 and ii. 151).
Detailed differences in respect of the number of columns, and their distances from one another and from the walls, we will pass over here and notice only the special significance which rows of columns, entrance halls, etc., have in general in the construction of Greek temples.
In these prostyles and amphiprostyles, i.e. these single and double colonnades, which led directly to the open air, we see people wandering freely and openly, individually or in accidental groupings; for the colonnades as such enclose nothing but are the boundaries of open thoroughfares, so that people walking in them are half indoors and half outside and at least can always step directly into the open air. In the same way the long walls behind the columns do not admit of any thronging to a central point to which the eye could turn when the passages were crowded; on the contrary, the eye is more likely to be turned away from such a central point in every direction. Instead of having an idea of an assembly with a single aim, we see a drift outwards and get only the idea of people staying there cheerfully, without serious purpose, idly, and just chatting. Inside the enclosure a deeper seriousness may be surmised, but even here we find a precinct more or less (or entirely, especially in the most perfectly developed buildings) open to the external surroundings, which hints at the fact that this seriousness is not meant so very strictly. After all, the impression made by these temples is of simplicity and grandeur, but at the same time of cheerfulness, openness, and comfort, because the whole building is constructed for standing about in or strolling up and down in or coming and going rather than for assembling a collection of people and concentrating them there, shut in on every side and separated from the outside world.
If in conclusion we cast a glance at the different forms of building which are typical of classical architecture throughout, we may emphasize the following differences as being the more important.
Primarily noticeable in this connection are those architectural styles whose difference comes out in the most striking way in the columns. For this reason I will confine myself here to citing the principal characteristic marks of the columnar Orders.
The most familiar Orders are the Doric, Ionian, and Corinthian. Neither earlier nor later was anything discovered more architecturally beautiful or appropriate to its purpose. For the Tuscan Order, or, according to Hirt (op. cit., i. 251), early Greek architecture also, belongs in virtue of its unadorned poverty to the originally simple building in wood, but not to architecture as a fine art. The so-called Roman Order is of no moment because it is merely the Corinthian with increased decoration. The chief points of importance are the relation between the height and the diameter of the columns, the different sorts of pedestal and capital, and the greater or lesser distances between the columns. As for the first point, the column seems heavy and compressed if its height is not at least four times the diameter, and if it rises to ten times the diameter the column looks to the eye too thin and slender for its purpose of supporting. But the distance of the columns from one another is closely related to this; for if the columns are to look thicker, they must be placed closer to one another, but, if they are to look slimmer and thinner, their distances must be wider. It is of equal importance whether the column has a pedestal or not, whether the capital is higher or lower, unadorned or decorated, because by the choice of one or other of these alternatives the whole character of the column is altered. But the rule for the shaft is that it must remain plain and undecorated, although it does not rise with the same thickness throughout but becomes a little thinner above than it is below and in the middle; for this reason there is a swelling in the middle which must be there even though it is almost imperceptible. It is true that later, at the close of the Middle Ages, when the old columnar forms were applied again in Christian architecture, the plain columnar shafts were found too cold and therefore were surrounded by wreaths of flowers, or the columns were made to rise like spirals; but this is inadmissible and contrary to genuine taste, because the column has nothing to do but fulfil the task of supporting, and in fulfilling it to rise firm, straight, and independent [of decoration and anything else]. The only thing which the Greeks used on the shaft of the column was fluting; by this means, as Vitruvius says [iv. 4. iii], the columns appear broader than they would be if left quite smooth. Such flutings occur on the largest scale.
Of the more detailed differences between the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian Orders in columns and architectural style, I will cite only the following principal points.
(α) In the earliest buildings the fundamental consideration is the security of the building, and architecture does not go beyond this. For this reason it does not yet risk elegant proportions and their bolder lightness but is content with heavy forms. This happens in Doric architecture. In it the material with its load-carrying weight retains the chief influence and it comes especially into appearance in connection with breadth and height. If a building rises light and free, then the load of heavy masses seems to have been overcome, whereas, if it lies broader and lower, the chief thing it displays is, as in the Doric style, firmness and solidity, dominated by the law of gravity.
Conformably with this character, Doric columns, contrasted with the other Orders, are the broadest and lowest. The older of them do not exceed six times the height of their lower diameter, and are commonly only four times as high as their diameter, and therefore in their heaviness give the impression of a simple, serious, and unadorned masculinity, exemplified in the temples at Paestum and Corinth. But in the later Doric columns the height is raised to equal seven diameters, and for buildings other than temples Vitruvius adds half a diameter. In general, however, the distinctive character of the Doric style is that it is still nearer the original simplicity of building in wood, although it is more susceptible of decorations and adornments than the Tuscan is. Yet the columns almost always have no pedestal but stand directly on the foundation, and the capital is put together in the simplest way out of an abacus and an echinus. The columns were sometimes left smooth, sometimes fluted with twenty drills left shallow in the lower third as a rule but hollowed out above (Hirt, Architecture on Greek Principles, p. 54). As for the distance between columns, in the older monuments this amounts to the width of twice the thickness of the columns, and in only a few cases is this increased to between two and two-and-a-half times the thickness.
Another peculiarity of Doric architecture in which it comes nearer to using building in wood as its model consists of the triglyphs and metopes. By prismatic incisions the triglyphs indicate on the frieze the heads of the roof beams that lie on the architrave, while the metopes fill the space between one beam and another and in Doric building keep the form of a square. They were commonly covered with bas-reliefs as a decoration, while on the architrave under the triglyphs, and above on the under-surface of the cornice, six small conical bodies, the drops [guttae-Vitruvius, iv. 3], served as ornaments.
(β) While the Doric style already develops into a character of pleasing solidity, Ionic architecture, though still simple, rises to what is typically slender, graceful, and elegant. The height of the columns varies between seven and ten times the length of their lower diameter. According to Vitruvius [iiiv3 and 5] the height is principally determined by the distance between the columns; for, the greater this is, the thinner and therefore taller do the columns appear, while if the intervening distance is less they appear thicker and lower. For this reason, in order to avoid excessive thinness or heaviness, the architect is compelled in the first case to lessen the height, in the second to increase it. Consequently if the distance between the columns exceeds three diameters, the height of the columns amounts to only eight, while if the distance is between two-and-a-quarter and three diameters, the height is eight-and-a-half. But if the columns are only two diameters apart, the height rises to nine-and-a-half, and even to ten when the distance is at its narrowest, i.e. one-and-a-half. Yet these last cases occur only very seldom, and, to judge from the surviving monuments of Ionic architecture, the Greeks made little use of proportions demanding higher columns.
Further differences between the Ionic and the Doric style are to be found in the fact that Ionic columns, unlike the Doric, do not have their shaft rising straight from the sub-structure, but are set up on a pedestal with many mouldings. From this they rise, gradually diminishing in girth to a slender summit; the shaft is deeply hollowed out with twenty-four broad flutes. In this matter the Ionic temple at Ephesus is especially contrasted with the Doric one at Paestum. Similarly the Ionic capital gains in variety and grace. It has not only an incised abacus, astragal, and echinus, but on the left and right it has in addition a shell-like curve and on the sides an ornament in the shape of a pillow j this gives this capital the name of ‘pulvinated’ capital. The shell-like curves on the pillow indicate the end of the column which could rise still higher but at this point of possible extension it curves back into itself.
Granted this attractive slenderness and decoration of the columns, Ionic architecture now demands a bearing architrave which is less heavy and therefore is applied to making the building more graceful. For the same reason, it no longer, like Doric, is indicative of a derivation from building in wood. Therefore in the flat frieze triglyphs and metopes disappear, and instead the chief decorations are now the skulls of sacrificial animals bound together with wreaths of flowers, and, in place of mutules, dentils are introduced (Hirt, History of Ancient Architecture, i. 254).
(γ) Finally, the Corinthian style abides fundamentally by the Ionian but, keeping the same slenderness, it develops it into a tasteful brilliance and reveals the final wealth of decoration and ornament. Content, as it were, with deriving its several and specific divisions from building in wood, it emphasizes them by decorations without letting this first origin glint through them and expresses a vigorous preoccupation with attractive differences by the various fillets and bands on cornices and beams, by troughs and weather moulds, by pedestals divided in various ways, and richer capitals.
The Corinthian column is not loftier than the Ionic, because usually, with similar fluting, its height is only eight or eight-and-a-half times the diameter of its lower part, yet owing to a higher capital it appears more slender and, above all, richer. For the capital’s height is one-and-an-eighth times the lower diameter and has on all four comers thinner spirals with no pillows, and the part below these is adorned with acanthus leaves. The Greeks have a charming story about this [in e.g. Vitruvius iv. I]. A remarkably beautiful girl, the story goes, died; her nurse then collected her toys in a basket and put it on her grave where an acanthus was beginning to grow. The leaves soon surrounded the basket and this gave rise to an idea for the capital of a column.
Of further differences between the Corinthian style and the Doric and Ionic I will mention only the charmingly chamfered mutules under the cornice, the projection of the guttae, and the dentils and corbels on the entablature.
Secondly, Roman architecture can be regarded as a middle form between Greek and Christian because what especially begins in it is the use of the arch and vaultings.
It is not possible to determine with precision the period in which the construction of an arch was first discovered, but it seems certain that the arch and the vault were unknown to the Egyptians, no matter how far they progressed in the art of building, as well as to the Babylonians, Israelites, and Phoenicians. At least the monuments of Egyptian architecture show merely that when the Egyptians came to build a roof over the interior of their buildings, they could use nothing but massive columns on which flagstones were placed horizontally as beams. But when wide entrances and bridge-arches had to be vaulted, the only expedient which the Egyptians understood was to make a stone protrude inwards on either side and place another on top of it protruding further, so that as the side walls rose the distance between them grew gradually less until finally only one stone was needed to close the gap. Where they did not use this expedient, they covered the spaces with huge stones joined to one another like chevrons.
Among the Greeks we do find, though seldom, monuments in which an arch construction is used, and Hirt, whose volumes on the architecture of the Greeks and its history are of the first importance, states that not one of them can be safely regarded as built before the Periclean age. In other words what is characteristic of Greek architecture, and developed to the full, is the column and the entablature superimposed on it horizontally, so that the column is little used in Greece for anything but its proper purpose of supporting beams. But a vaulted arch linking two pillars or columns, and the cupola formation, has a wider implication because here the column is already beginning to lose its purpose of being merely a support. For the arch in its rise, its curve, and its fall is related to a central point which has nothing to do with a column and its support. The different parts of the arch mutually carry, support, and continue one another, so that they are exempt from the aid of a column to a far greater extent than a superimposed beam is.
In Roman architecture, as I said, the construction of arches and vaults is very common; indeed, if full confidence can be placed in later testimonies, a few remains have to be ascribed to the period of the Roman kings. Of this sort are the catacombs and the cloaca which had vaults, but they have to be regarded as works restored at a later date.
The invention of the vault is ascribed with the greatest probability to Democritus[in the fifth-century B.C.] who concerned himself too with various mathematical subjects and is reputed to be the inventor of the art of the lapidary.
One of the most outstanding productions of Roman architecture, where the semicircle is the predominant model, is the Pantheon of Agrippa, dedicated to Jupiter UItor, which was built to contain, in addition to the statue of Jupiter, in six other niches colossal images of Mars, Venus, the deified Julius Caesar, and three others that cannot be precisely determined. On each side of these niches were two Corinthian columns, and over the whole there was the most majestic vaulted roof in the form of a half globe, imitating the vault of heaven. In the matter of technique, it must be noticed that this roof is not vaulted in stone. What the Romans did in most of their vaults was first to make a wooden construction in the form of the vault they intended to build, and then they poured over it a mixture of chalk and pozzolana-cement made from light tufa
and broken bricks.When this mixture dried out the whole formed a single mass, so that the wooden framework could be discarded, and owing to the lightness of the material and the stability of its cohesion the vault exerted only a little pressure on the walls.
Now quite apart from this novelty of arch-construction, Roman architecture, to speak generally, had a totally different range and character from the Greek. While keeping throughout to the purpose of their buildings, the Greeks were distinguished by their artistic perfection in the nobility and simplicity of their architecture as well as in the easy gracefulness of their decorations. Whereas the Romans are skilful in the mechanics of building, and although their buildings are richer and more magnificent, they have less nobility and grace. Moreover in their case a variety of purposes, unknown to the Greeks, arise for architecture. For, as I said at the beginning, the Greeks devoted the splendour and beauty of art only to public buildings; their private houses remained insignificant. Whereas in the case of the Romans, not only was there an enlarged range of public buildings where the purposiveness of their construction was allied with grandiose magnificence in theatres, amphitheatres for gladiators, and other works for the public amusement, but architecture was also directed to the requirements of private life. Especially after the civil wars [end of first century B.C.], villas, baths, avenues, stairs, etc. were built with extreme luxury at enormous expense, and this opened a new sphere to architecture; this drew horticulture in its train and was perfected in a very ingenious and tasteful way. A brilliant example is the villa of Lucullus.
The type of this Roman architecture has served in many ways as a model for later Italians and Frenchmen. In Germany we have long followed the Italians or the French, until now at last we have turned to the Greeks again and taken classical art in its purer form as our model.
The Gothic architecture of the Middle Ages which is the real centre of the properly romantic style was regarded as something crude and barbaric for a long time, especially since the spread and domination of French artistic taste. In more recent times it was chiefly Goethe who took the lead in bringing it into honour again when he looked on nature and art with the freshness of youth and in a way opposed to the French and their principles. Nowadays more and more efforts have been made to get to value in these grand works both a peculiar appropriateness to Christian worship and also a correspondence between architectural configuration and the inmost spirit of Christianity.
As for the general character of these buildings, in which their religious function is to be particularly stressed, we saw already in the Introduction that here the architecture which is independent is united with that which serves a purpose. But this unification does not consist at all in a fusion of Eastern and Greek forms; it is to be found rather in the fact that, on the one hand, enclosure provides the fundamental type to a greater extent than is the case in Greek temple-building, while, on the other hand, mere utility and adaptation to an end is transcended all the same and the house [of God] is erected freely, independently, and on its own account. Thus these buildings and houses of God do prove, as was said, to be entirely suitable for worship and other uses, but their real character lies precisely in the fact that they transcend any specific end and, as perfect in themselves, stand there on their own account. The work stands there by itself, fixed, and eternal. Therefore no purely abstractly intellectual [or mathematical] relation determines the character of the whole; the interior does not have the box-like form of our Protestant churches which are built only to be filled by a congregation and have nothing but pews like stalls in a stable. Externally the [medieval] building rises freely to a pinnacle, so that, however appropriate it is to its purpose, the purpose disappears again and the whole is given the look of an independent existent. No one thing completely exhausts a building like this; everything is lost in the greatness of the whole. It has and displays a definite purpose; but in its grandeur and sublime peace it is lifted above anything purely utilitarian into an infinity in itself. This elevation above the finite, and this simple solidity, is its one characteristic aspect. In its other it is precisely where particularization; diversity, and variety gain the fullest scope, but without letting the whole fall apart into mere trifles and accidental details. On the contrary, here the majesty of art brings back into simple unity everything thus divided up and partitioned. The substance of the whole is dismembered and shattered into the endless divisions of a world of individual variegations, but this incalculable multiplicity is divided in a simple way, articulated regularly, dispersed symmetrically, both moved and firmly set in the most satisfying eurhythmy, and this length and breadth of varied details is gripped together unhindered into the most secure unity and clearest independence.
In proceeding now to the particular forms in which the specific character of romantic architecture is developed, we will confine our discussion, as we have already noticed earlier, to Gothic architecture proper and mainly to Christian churches in distinction from Greek temples.
(α) Just as the Christian spirit concentrates itself in the inner life, so the building becomes the place shut in on every side for the assembly of the Christian congregation and the collection of its thoughts: The spatial enclosure corresponds to the concentration of mind within, and results from it. But the worship of the Christian heart is at the same time an elevation above the finite so that this elevation now determines the character of the house of God. In this way architecture acquires elevation to the infinite as the significance which it is driven to express in architectonic forms, a significance independent of more purposiveness. The impression, therefore, which art now has to produce is, on the one hand, in distinction from the cheerful openness of the Greek temple, the impression of this tranquility of the heart which, released from the external world of nature and from the mundane in general, is shut in upon itself, and, on the other hand, the impression of a majestic sublimity which aspires beyond and outsoars mathematical limitation. Thus, while the buildings of classical architecture in the main lie on the ground horizontally, the opposite romantic character of Christian churches consists in their growing out of the ground and rising to the sky.
(β) Enclosure was to give effect to this forgetting of the external world of nature and the distracting activities and interests of finite existence. Adieu therefore to open entrance halls and colonnades, etc.; in their openness they are connected with the world and so they are now give instead a totally different way a position inside the building. For the same reason the light of the sun is excluded or it only glimmers dimly through windows of the stained glass necessary for complete separation from the world outside. What people need here is not provided by the world of nature; on the contrary they need a world made by and for man alone, for his worship and the preoccupations of hislmief1lfe.
(γ) But as the decisive type assumed by the house of God in general and in its particular parts we may fix the free rising and running up into pinnacles whether these are formed by arches or by straight lines. In classical architecture the basic form was provided by columns or stanchions with superimposed beams, so that the chief thing was rectangularity and therefore support. For a weight resting at a right angle shows clearly that it is supported. And even if the beams themselves are in turn supports for a roof, their surfaces incline at an obtuse angle to one another. Here there is strictly no question of rising or coming to a pinnacle, but only of resting and supporting. In the same way even a round arch, which proceeds from one pillar to another in a uniformly curved line and is described from one and the same central point, likewise rests on its supporting substructure. But in romantic architecture the basic form is no longer afforded by supporting as such and therefore by rectangularity; on the contrary, these are cancelled because surrounding walls shoot upwards on their own account within and outside, and they meet at a point without the fixed and express difference between a load and its support. This predominant free striving upwards and the inclination of the sides culminating in the apex is here the essential determinant for the origin of the pointed arches or acute-angled triangles with a narrower or broader base which indicate the character of Gothic architecture in the most striking way.
Engaging in heartfelt devotion and elevation of soul has, as worship, a variety of particular features and aspects which cannot be carried out in open halls or in front of temples, but have their place in the interior of God’s house. Therefore while in the temples of classical architecture the external form is the chief thing and, owing to the colonnades, remains independent of the construction of the interior, in romantic architecture the interior of the building not only acquire a more essential importance because the ‘whole thing is meant to be an enclosure only, but the interior glints also through the shape of the exterior and determines its form and arrangement in detail.
In this connection, in order to examine the matter in more detail, we will first step into the interior and so thereafter become clear about the form of the exterior.
(α) As the principal determinant of its interior I have already cited the fact that the church is meant to enclose a space for the congregation, and all the aspects of its spiritual worship, as a protection partly from inclement weather, partly from the troubles of the external world. The space inside therefore becomes totally enclosed whereas the Greek temples often had open cells in addition to open colonnades and halls.
But Christian worship is both an elevation of soul above the restrictions of existence and also a reconciliation of the individual with God. This therefore essentially implies a reconciliation of differences into a single unity that has become inherently concrete. At the same time, romantic architecture constructs a building which exists as an enclosure for the spirit, and consequently it is its business, so far as is architecturally possible, to make spiritual convictions shine through the shape and arrangement of the building and so determine the form both of its interior and exterior. This task has the following implications.
(αα) The space of the interior must not be an abstractly uniform and empty one that has no differences and their intermediation; what is required on the contrary is a formation differentiation; in ,length, breadth, height, and the character of these dimensions. The circle, the square, the oblong, with the equality of their enclosing walls and roofing are unsuitable. The movement of the spirit with the distinctions it makes and its conciliation of them in the course of its elevation from the terrestrial to the infinite, to the loftier beyond, would not be expressed architecturally in this empty uniformity of a quadrilateral.
(ββ) It is at once a corollary of this that in Gothic architecture the purposiveness of a house, whether in respect of its enclosure by means of side walls and roof or in regard to beams and columns, is only an incidental so far as the formation of the whole building and its parts is concerned. Consequently, as was already explained above, the strict difference between load and support has disappeared; the no longer purely appropriate form of the right angle is cancelled and a return is made instead to a form analogous to one in nature, and this must be the form of an enclosure for a free1y aspiring assembly. Enter the interior of a medieval cathedral, and you are reminded less of the firmness and mechanical appropriateness of load-carrying pillars and a vault resting on them than of the vaultings of a forest where in lines of trees the branches incline to one another and quickly meet. A purlin needs a fixed point of support and a horizontal position. Whereas in Gothic architecture the walls rise upwards freely and independently; so do the pillars, which branch out above apart from one another in several directions and meet as if accidentally; i.e. although the vault does in fact rest on pillars, their purpose of supporting the vault is not expressly emphasized and presented independently. It is as if they were not supports at all; compare a tree – its boughs do not seem to be carried by the trunk; on the contrary in their form, rather like an easy curve, they look like a continuation of the trunk and with the leaves of other trees form a roof of foliage. The cathedral presents a vault like this, one meant for reverie, this place of dread which invites to meditation, because the walls and the forest of pillars meet freely at the apex. But this is not to say that Gothic architecture has taken trees and forests as the actual model for the forms it uses.
While tapering to a point provides in general a fundamental form for Gothic, in the interior of the churches this form takes the special character of a pointed arch. This gives columns in particular a totally different purpose and shape.
As total enclosures, the wide Gothic churches need a roof which owing to that width is a heavy load necessitating support underneath. So here columns seem to be properly in place. But because the way building strives upwards precisely converts load-carrying into the appearance of free ascending, columns cannot occur here in the significance they have in classical architecture. On the contrary they become pillars which, instead of purlins, carry arches in such a way that that the arches seem to be a mere continuation of the pillars and rise to a point as it were unintentionally. We can indeed represent the way in which two pillars standing apart from one another necessarily end at a point as analogous to the way in which, e.g., a gabled roof can rest on corner posts, but when we look at the sides of the roof, then, even if they are set on the pillars at wholly obtuse angles and incline to one another at an acute angle, in that case we nevertheless get the idea of a load on the one hand and a support on the other. Whereas the shoulders of the pointed arch seem at first sight to rise at a right angle to the pillar and to curve only unnoticeably and slowly, so that each inclines gradually to the other; only then does this completely give us the idea that the shoulder is nothing at all but a continuation of the pillar which comes together with another to form an arch. In contrast to the column and the beam, the pillar and vault appear as one and the same construction, although the arches rest on and rise from capitals. Yet the capitals are absent altogether, e.g. in many Netherlands churches, and in this way that undivided is made clearly visible.
Since the striving upwards is meant to be manifest as the chief characteristic, the height of the pillars exceeds the breadth of their base to an extent which the eye cannot compute. The pillars become thin and slender and rise so high that the eye cannot take in the whole shape at a single glance but is driven to travel over it and to rise until it begins to find rest in the gently inclined vaulting of the arches that meet, just as the worshipping heart, restless and troubled at first, above the territory of finitude and finds rest in God alone.
The final difference between pillars and columns is that peculiarly Gothic pillars, once developed in their specific character, do not remain, like columns, circular, stable in themselves, one and the same cylinder, but already form, reed-like, at their base a coil or bundle of threads which then above are variously disentangled and radiate in numerous continuations on every side. In classical architecture a progress is visible in columns from heaviness, simplicity, and solidity to slenderness and decoration; so too something similar occurs in the pillar which, rising in greater slenderness, is less and less susceptible of fulfilling the purpose of support and floats freely upwards, though it closes at the top.
The same form of pillars and pointed arches is repeated in windows and doors. The windows especially, both the lower ones on the side-aisles and still more the upper ones of the nave and the choir, are of colossal so that the eye that rests on their lower parts does not immediately take in the upper ones but is now drawn upwards, as happened in the case of the vaultings. This generates that restlessness of aspiration which is to be communicated to the spectator. Moreover the window-panes, as was mentioned above, are only half-transparent owing to the stained glass. Sometimes they display sacred stories; sometimes they are simply coloured to increase the twilight effect and leave candlelight to provide illumination; for here it is a day other than the day of nature that is to provide light.
(γγ) Coming now finally to the whole interior arrangement of Gothic churches, we have seen already that the different parts must be formed differently in height, breadth, and length. The next point here is the difference of the chancel, transepts, and long nave from the surrounding aisles. On the outer side these aisles are formed by the edifice’s enclosing walls in front of which pillars and arches project, and on the inner side by pillars and pointed arches open to the nave because they have no walls connecting them. Thus the position of these aisles is the converse of that of the Greek temple colonnades which are open on the outside but closed on the inner side; whereas in Gothic churches free passageways are left open from the nave through between the pillars into the side-aisles. Sometimes there are two of these side-aisles alongside one another; indeed in Antwerp cathedral there are three on each side of the nave.
The nave itself soars up above the aisles; it is enclosed by walls varying in height compared with the aisles, being sometimes twice their height, sometimes less. The walls are so broken by colossal long windows that they become themselves as it were slender pillars which meet at the top in pointed arches and form vaults. Nevertheless, there are also churches where the aisles have the same height as the nave, as, for instance, in the later choir of St. Sebald’s in Nürnberg [where Hegel lived for a few years]; this gives the whole church a character of sublime, free, and open slenderness and elegance.
In this way the whole church is divided and articulated by rows of pillars which resemble a forest in running together above in flying arches like boughs. In the number of these pillars, and in the numerical relations of the interior generally, it has been proposed to find much mystical meaning. Of course at the time when Gothic architecture blossomed most beautifully, e.g. at the time  of Cologne cathedral, great importance was laid on such numerical symbolism since the still rather dim inkling of reason easily lapsed into external considerations like this; but, by such always more or less arbitrary games of an inferior symbolism, architectural works Of art are given neither a deeper meaning nor a more exalted beauty, because their proper significance and spirit is expressed in forms and configurations quite otherwise than in the mystical meaning of numerical differences. We must therefore be very cautious not to too far in the hunt for such meanings, because to try to be too profound and see a deeper significance everywhere is just as petty and superficial as the blind pedantry which passes over, without grasping it, the profound meaning which is clearly expressed and presented.
Finally, on the distinctive character of the chancel and the nave I will confine myself to the following remarks. The high altar, this real centre of worship, is placed in the chancel which is thus the place devoted to the clergy in contrast to the congregation which has its place, along with the pulpit, in the nave. Steps, more or less numerous, lead to the chancel, so that this whole part of the building, and what goes on there, is visible from every point. So too the chancel is more elaborately decorated and yet in comparison with the long nave it is more grave, solemn, and sublime, even when the of the vaults is the same. At this point the whole building is finally enclosed: the pillars are thicker and closer together, with the result that the width is continually diminished. And everything seems to rise higher and more tranquilly, whereas the transepts and nave with their entrance and exit doors still permit of a connection with the outside world. – As for orientation, the chancel points to the east, the nave to the west, the transepts to north and south. There are also churches, however, with a double chancel, one at the east and the other at the west end, and the main entrances are into the transepts. – The font for baptism, for this consecration of entry to the company of the faithful, is erected in a porch beside the main entry to the church. – Finally, for private worship or special occasions there are set up round the whole building, especially round the chancel and the nave, smaller chapels each of which forms by itself as it were a new church. – This may suffice as a description of the arrangement of the parts of the whole.
In such a cathedral there is room for an entire community. For here the whole community of a city and its neighbourhood is to assemble not round the building but inside it. For this reason all the various interests of life which touch religion in any way have their place alongside one another. The wide space is not divided and narrowed by series of rows of pews; everyone goes and comes unhindered, hires or takes a chair for his present use, kneels down, offers his prayer, and departs again. If it is not the time for high mass, the most varied things go on simultaneously without inconvenience. Here there is a sermon: there a sick man is brought in. Between the two a procession drags slowly on. Here there is a baptism, there a bier. At another point again a priest reads mass or blesses a couple’s marriage. Everywhere people wander like nomads, on their knees before some altar or holy image or other. All these varied activities are included in one and the same building. But this variety of occupations and their separate individuality with their continual alteration disappears all the same in face of the width and size of the building; nothing fills it entirely, everything passes quickly; individuals and their doings are lost and dispersed like points in this grandiose structure; the momentary event is visible only in its passing away; and over everything these infinite spaces, these gigantic constructions, rise in their firm structure and immutable form.
These are the chief characteristics of the interior of Gothic churches. Here we have not to look for purposiveness as such but only for appropriateness to the subjective worship of the heart as it immerses itself in its own inmost privacy and lifts itself above everything individual and finite. In short, these buildings are sombre, separated from nature by walls closing them in all round, and nevertheless carried out to the last detail as aspiring sublimely and illimitably.
(β) If we turn now to consider the exterior, the point has already been made that, in distinction from the Greek temple, in Gothic architecture the external shape, the decoration and arrangement of walls, etc., are determined from within outward&,-since the exterior is to appear as only an enclosing of the interior.
In this context the following points need special emphasis.
(αα) First, the entire external cruciform shape in its fundamental outline makes recognizable the similar construction of the interior because it allows for the separation between the transepts and the nave and chancel, and besides makes clearly visible the different heights of the aisles and the nave and chancel.
In more detail, the chief façade, as the exterior of the nave and aisles, corresponds in its portals to the construction of the interior. A higher main door, leading to the nave, stands between two smaller entrances to the side-aisles and hints by the narrowing due to perspective that the exterior has to shrink, contract, and disappear in order to form the entrance. The interior is the already visible background in which the exterior is immersed just as the heart, retreating into itself, has to immerse itself in its own inner life. Next, over the side-doors there rise, likewise in the most immediate connection with the interior, colossal windows, just as the portals are carried up to pointed arches similar to those serviceable for the special form of vaulting in the interior. Over the main door, between the windows over the side-doors, a great circle opens, the rose-window, a form likewise belonging quite peculiarly to this architectural style and suitable only to it. Where such rose-windows are missing there is substituted a still more colossal window culminating in a pointed arch. – The façades of the transepts are divided similarly, while the walls of the nave, the chancel, and the aisles follow entirely in the windows and the form of these, as well as in the bearing walls between them, the appearance of the interior and display that externally.
(ββ) But secondly, in this close tie with the form and arrangement of the interior, the exterior nevertheless have an independent of its own, because it has tasks of its own to fulfill. In this connection we may mention the buttresses. They take the place of the various pillars in the interior, and they are necessary as points d’ appui for the elevation and stability of the whole. At the same time they make clear in their intervals, number, etc. on the outside the division of the rows of pillars within, although they do not precisely imitate the form of the inner pillars but, on the contrary, the higher they rise the more are the intervals [like steps] at which they diminish in strength [or depth).
(γγ) Thirdly, however, while the interior is meant to be in itself a complete enclosure, this feature is lost in the aspect of the exterior and gives place completely to the single character of rising upwards. For this reason the exterior acquires a form quite independent of the interior, a form manifest especially in striving upwards on all sides into projections and pinnacles and breaking out into apex on apex.
To this striving upwards there belong the high-mounting triangles which, beyond the pointed arches, rise above the portals, especially those of the main façade and, above the colossal windows of the nave and chancel; to this same feature there also belong (a) the slenderly pointed form of the roof, the gable of which comes into view especially on the façades of the transepts, and (b) the buttresses which everywhere run up to small peaked towers and therefore, just as in the interior the rows of pillars form a forest of trunks, branches, and vaults, so here on the exterior a forest of pinnacles is raised on high.
As the most sublime summits of the structure the towersrise in the most independent fashion. That is to say that in them the whole mass of the building is as it were concentrated; in its main towers the mass is lifted up unhindered to a height that the eye cannot calculate, while its character of peace and solidity is not lost. Such towers stand in the main façade over the two aisles while a third and thicker main tower rises from the point at which the vaults of the chancel, nave, and transepts meet; alternatively, a single tower forms the main façade and rises over the whole breadth of the nave. These at any rate are the commonest positions. For worship the towers provide belfries because a peal of bells peculiarly belongs to Christian services. This simple and vague sound is a solemn stimulus to inner meditation, but it is primarily only a preparative, coming from without, whereas the articulated sound, expressive of what is felt or conceived, is song, which is heard only in the interior of the church. Inarticulate sounds, however, can have their place only outside the building and they ring out down from the towers, because they are meant to resound from these pure heights far and wide over the country.
In this third matter the chief characteristics were already indicated at the start.
(α) The first point to be emphasized is the importance of decoration as such for Gothic architecture. On the whole, classical architecture preserves a wise proportion in the adornment of its buildings. But since it is especially important for Gothic architecture to make the masses that it builds seem greater and, above all, higher than they are in fact, it is not content with simple surfaces, but divides that throughout, particularly in forms indicative themselves once more of striving upwards. Pillars, pointed arches and acute-angled triangles rising above them, for example, occur in the decorations too. In this way the simple unity of the huge masses is split up and elaborated down to the last particular detail, and the whole now presents in itself the most tremendous contrast. The eye sees, on the one hand, the most obvious outlines clearly ordered, though in immense dimensions, and, on the other hand, an unsurveyable abundance and variety of decorative ornamentation, so that what is most universal and simple faces the most-diversified particularity of detail. Christian worship involves a similar contrast: the heart that worships is nevertheless immersed in finitude and habituated to pettiness and minutiae. This disunion should stimulate reflection, and this striving upwards invites a sense of the sublime. For in this sort of decoration the chief thing is not to destroy or conceal the outlines by the mass and diversity of ornamentation but to let them, as the essential thing on which all depends, permeate this variety through and through and completely. Only in this event, especially in Gothic buildings, is the solemnity of their grandiose seriousness preserved. Just as religious devotion should penetrate all the recesses of the soul and every relation in the life of individuals and engrave indelibly on the heart the most universal and unchanging ideas, so also the simple architectural types must always bring back again to these main outlines the most varied divisions, carvings, and decorations and make them disappear in face of those outlines.
(β) A second aspect in decorations is connected similarly with the romantic form of art as such. Romanticism has as its principle the inner life, the return of the intellectual life into itself, but the inner life is to be reflected in the external world and to withdraw into itself out of that world. Now in architecture it is the visible, material, and spatial mass on which the inmost heart itself is so far as possible to be brought before contemplation. Given such a material, nothing is left to the artistic representation but to refuse validity to the material and the massive in its purely material character and to interrupt it everywhere, break it up, and deprive it of its appearance of immediate coherence and independence. In this connection the decorations, especially on the exterior (which has not to manifest enclosing as such), acquire the character of carving everywhere, or, on surfaces, of a network. There is no architecture which along with such enormous and heavy masses of stone and their firmly mortised joints has still preserved, so completely [as Gothic architecture has done], the character of lightness and grace.
(γ) Thirdly, on the configuration of the decorations the only remark necessary is that apart from pointed arches, pillars, and circles, the forms here once again recall what is properly organic. This is already indicated by the carvings in and the reliefs protruding from the mass. But, more strikingly, there explicitly occur leaves, rosettes, and, intertwined like arabesques, animal and human forms, now true to life, now fantastically juxtaposed. In this way romantic fancy displays even in architecture its wealth of invention and extraordinary links between heterogeneous elements. On the other hand, however, at least at the time when Gothic architecture was at its purest, a steady return of the same simple forms is preserved even in decorations, e.g. in the pointed arches of the windows.
The last matter on which I will add a few remarks concerns the chief forms into which romantic architecture has developed in different periods, although here there cannot be any question at all of providing a history of this branch of art.
From Gothic architecture, as sketched above, the Romanesque is of course to be distinguished; it was developed from the Roman.
The oldest form of Christian churches is that of the basilica, so called because they originated from public imperial buildings, huge oblong halls with wooden roof framework, such as Constantine made available to Christians. In such halls there was a tribune; when congregations assembled for worship, the priest went to it to intone or speak or lecture, and the idea of the chancel may have arisen from this. Similarly, Christian architecture took from Roman, especially in the Western Empire, its other forms such as the use of columns with round arches, domes, and the whole manner of decoration, while in the Eastern Empire it seems to have remained true to this style up to Justinian’s time. Even the Ostrogothic and Lombard buildings in Italy retained the Roman basic character in essentials. Nevertheless in the later architecture of the Byzantine Empire several changes were introduced. The centre was formed by a dome on four great pillars, then various sorts of construction were added for the particular purposes of the Greek, as distinct from the Roman, rite. But with this architecture that strictly belongs to the Byzantine Empire we must not confuse that kind generally called Byzantine which was employed in Italy, France, England, Germany, etc. up to towards the end of the twelfth century.
Later, in the thirteenth century, Gothic architecture developed in its own special form; its distinctive character I have described above in detail. Today this is denied to the Goths and the style is called German or Germanic. Nevertheless we may retain the older and commoner name, even if only because in Spain there are very old traces of this style which indicate a connection with historical events, because Gothic kings, driven back into the hills of Asturias and Galicia, maintained their independence there. For this reason this seems to make probable a closer relationship between Gothic and Arabic architecture, but the two are essentially distinct. For what is characteristic of medieval Arabic architecture is not the pointed arch but the so-called horse-shoe arch; and, apart from this, Arabic buildings are designed for a totally different religion and display an oriental profusion and magnificence, plant-like ornamentation, and other decorations in which the Roman and medieval styles are mixed up unblended.
Secular architecture runs parallel with this development of religious architecture, and it repeats and modifies from its own point of view the character of the religious buildings. But in secular architecture, art has less scope, because here narrower aims and a variety of needs demand a precisely corresponding satisfaction and there is no room for beauty except as a decoration. Except in a general eurhythmy of form and proportion, art can only appear to any extent in the embellishment of façades, steps, staircases, windows, doors, gables, towers, etc., but, even so, only such a way that utility remains the real decisive determinant of the structure. In the Middle Ages the fundamental type which is most prominent is the stronghold character of fortified dwellings placed not only in isolation on mountain sides or summits but also in cities where every palace, every family house, e.g. in Italy, took the form of a small fortress or stronghold. Walls, doors, towers, bridges, etc., are dictated by need and are decorated and beautified by art. Strength and security, along with grand magnificence and the living individuality of single forms and their harmony, are the essential determinant here, but its detailed analysis at this point would take us too far afield.
Lastly, by way of appendix, we may make a brief mention of the art of horticulture. Not only does it create afresh, de novo, an environment, like a second external nature, for the spirit, but it draws into its sphere and reshapes the natural landscape itself, treating it architecturally as an environment for buildings. As a familiar example I need only cite here the extremely magnificent park of Sans Souci [i.e. Frederick the Great’s palace at Potsdam, c. I745].
In considering horticulture proper we must of course distinguish between its picturesque and its architectural elements. A park, that is to say, is not architectural; it is not a building constructed out of free natural objects. On the contrary, it is a painting which leaves these objects as they naturally are and tries to imitate nature in its greatness and freedom. It hints in turn at everything that delights us in a landscape, at crags and their huge free masses, at valleys, woodlands, meadows, greensward, winding brooks, wide rivers with busy banks, calm lakes festooned with trees, roaring waterfalls, and whatever else. All this is brought together into one whole, as in a picture. In this way Chinese horticulture comprises whole landscapes with lakes and islands, streams, vistas, rockeries, etc.
In a park like this, especially in modern times, everything should preserve the freedom of nature itself and yet at the same time be transformed and fashioned artistically; it is also conditioned by the existing terrain. The result is a discord which cannot be completely resolved. In this matter, nothing is in the main more tasteless than to make visible everywhere an intention in what has none or such a constraint on what is in itself free from constraint. But, this apart, in such an instance the proper character of a garden disappears, because the purpose of a garden is to provide, for diversion and the pleasure of strolling, a place which is no longer nature as such but nature transformed by man to meet his need for an environment created by himself. Whereas a huge park, especially if rigged out with Chinese pagodas, Turkish mosques, Swiss chalets, bridges, hermitages, and goodness knows what other curiosities, claims our attention on its own account; it pretends to be and to mean something in itself. But our allurement vanishes as soon as it is satisfied, and we can hardly look at this sort of thing twice, because these trimmings offer to the eye nothing infinite, no indwelling soul, and besides they are only wearisome and burdensome when we want recreation and a stroll in conversation with a friend.
A garden as such should, provide no more than cheerful surroundings, i.e. surroundings merely, worth nothing in themselves and so never distracting us from human affairs and our inner life. Here architecture with its mathematical lines, with its order, regularity, and symmetry has its place and it orders natural objects themselves architecturally. This is the type preferred in the horticultural art of the Mongols beyond the Great Wall, in Tibet, and in the Persian paradises. These are no English parks, but halls, with flowers, springs, fountains, courts, palaces, constructed for a stay in nature on a magnificent and grandiose scale at extravagant expense to meet human needs and comfort. But the architectural principle has been carried furthest in French horticulture, where gardens are usually attached to great palaces; trees are planted in a strict order beside one another in long avenues, they are trimmed, and real walls are formed from cut hedges; and in this way nature itself is transformed into a vast residence under the open sky.[43
1. Pliny: Nat. Hist. xxxv. 5; and 43·
2. So the text. But the meaning is to make these views and thoughts visible in art to those Who see or think them.
3. Wände, Maliern. These words are used frequently below. They both mean Was, but Wand is a wall considered as a surface, e.g. the north face of the Eiger is in German the north ‘wall’, while Mauer is a thick structure, like a city wall. At this point Hegel distinguishes between the two words (a wooden partition must be Wand and not Mauer), but elsewhere he uses them as synonyms, and the translation has followed him there.
4. The Tower of Babel. Genesis II: 1-9, partly an attempt to explain the ziqqurats, temple-towers in the Tigris-Euphrates valley.
5. There is some confusion here. In Greek religion there is no trace of hollowed columns. Herms were pillars with bearded heads and membro erecto, standing at doors or marking boundaries. They were sacred and their mutilation al Athens in B.C. 415 created great scandal. ‘Small portable temples’ must be wrong: the Greeks had no such thing. ‘Small sanctuaries at doors’ might pass as a description of Herms, although they were not exactly sanctuaries, but only sacred.
6. ‘162’ in all editions may be a misprint.
7. An obelisk is a symbolic representation of the sun’s rays.’ In the German text a reference is added to xxxvii. 8, but this seems to be a mistake.
8. 17. i. 46.
9. i. 42. 2.
10. The first two-and-a-half sentences of this description are from 17. i. 28.
11. 17. i. 28. But what Strabo says is that there is no statue in the form of a human figure but only of an animal one.
12. i.e. ‘Eurhythmy, a suitable display of details in their context. The details must be of a height suitable to their breadth, and everything is symmetrical’ (Vitruvius, i. 2. iii), The meaning of these terms in Vitruvius is discussed in E. Panofsky, op. cit., pp. 96-7.
13. Herodotus, ii. 149.
14. By Sesostris who assigned square plots of land, equal in size, to all Egyptians (Herodotus, ii. 109).
15. Crete: Since the labyrinth there had not been excavated in Hegel’s day, he is simply assuming the truth of the familiar Greek story of Theseus and Ariadne. Morea: The reference is probably to the ruins of the sanctuary at Epidaurus. Malta: The reference is probably to the impressive megalithic structures on the island of Gozo. No labyrinth was discovered in Malta until 1915.
16. i.e. embalming implies the individuality of the deceased’s body, while transmigration through other forms implies the continuity of spiritual existence distinct from those particular forms.
17. Not ii, as all editions read.
18. ‘The tombs of Kings’, 17. i. 33.
19. G. B. Belzoni, 1778-1823: Narrative . .. of recent Discoveries in Egypt and Nubia (London, 1820). G. B. Caviglia (1770-1845) was the Genoese master and owner of a merchantman which, with Malta as a base, sailed the Mediterranean under the British flag. He started his work on the pyramids in 1816. He does not seem to have published any book himself, but his explorations were well known to archaeologists. Belzoni mentions him in his Narrative.
21. The triangular spaces ABC and CDE were afterwards filled in to give the side of the pyramid a continuous smooth surface from A to E. Hence when the steps remain, this may be a sign that the work was unfinished.
22. Hegel’s description is drawn entirely from the article which he quotes, namely Das Grab der Claudia Semne by W. Uhden. The memorial in question was discovered near the Appian Way, not far from Rome, in 1792. It was probably constructed in Trajan’s reign.
23. D. V., Baron Denon, 1747-1825: Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte (Paris, 1802).
24. ‘Schlegel’ seems to be a mistake for ‘Schelling’ who in his lectures on the Philosophy of Art, § 117, described architecture as erstaerrte music. Hegel’s word is gefnmme and this is the one that generally occurs in quotations of this familiar aphorism. So far as I can discover, it is nowhere else ascribed to Schlegel. It is possible, however, that Schlegel did say this in conversation at lena and that he was overheard by both Schelling and Hegel.
25. A good illustration of the Orders, and of the technical terms involved, taken from the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary, s.v. order, is reproduced here.
26. The cornice rests on the frieze, the frieze on the architrave. All three form the entablature. See the illustration on p. 667, above.
27. See the same illustration.
28. Eighteenth-century French scholars may have said this, but they were following Vitruvius, II. ii. 3-4.
29. Flat half-columns.
30. References in this paragraph to Vitruvius are to iii. 2, but there is more here than what he says himself.
31. It is curious that Hegel does not seem to have realized that this swelling is required in order to make the column look straight. On the columns of the Parthenon at Athens, e.g., a plumb-line would reveal the swelling which the eye (untrained at least) does not notice at first.
32. Although Vitruvius discourses on Doric columns in iv. I (seven diameters) and especially in iv. 3, this addition does not appear to be there.
33. Hirt may have been the best authority on the subject in Hegel’s day, but he is subject to correction by modern scholars.
34. Hegel cites Seneca, Ep. 90, for this, but Seneca says that Posidonius is the author of this ascription to Democritus and adds that for his part he thinks it false.
35. Or, rather, from volcanic ash found near Pozzuoli (anc. Puteoli).
36. He lived lIO B.C.-47 B.C. The villa is therefore a little earlier than Hegel indicates. After distinguished service as a general in Asia Minor Lucullus retired to Rome. See Plutarch’s Life. He had enormous wealth and his profusion has been no better pictured than in G. E. Stevens’ Monologues of the Dead (London, 1896).
37. Hegel visited this cathedral in October 1822 and in a letter commented then on this triplicity.
38. See Gothic buttress as illustrated in Oxford Illustrated Dictionary.
39. Hegel is referring here the spandrels, i.e. to 4 in illustration from O.I.D. s.v. Arcade.
40. Türme: the word may mean either ‘tower’ or ‘steeple’, A steeple is a tower surmounted by a spire, and Hegel’s insistence on ‘points’ and ‘striving upwards’ might suggest that he has steeples in mind here, but wrongly because some cathedrals have towers and no spires, and therefore no steeples, and some towers have belfries.
41. Hegel may have in mind the basilica of Constantine at Trier which he visited in 1827.
42. Hegel’s dislike of hills (see above in Vol. I, pp. 132, 158) is evidenced again by their absence from this list.
43. Hegel recalls his visit to Versailles. He described the garden in a letter to his wife, 30 September 1827.