"More than simply a survey of an ancient city's most significant buildings, The Stones of Venice first published in three volumes between 1851 and 1853 is an expression of a philosophy of art, nature, and morality that goes beyond art history, and has inspired such thinkers as Leo Tolstoy, Marcel Proust, and Mahatma Gandhi. Volume III, which looks at Venetian buildings of the Early, Roman, and grotesque Renaissance, provides an analysis of the transitional forms of Arabian and Byzantine architecture while tracing the city s spiritual and architectural decline. Unabridged, and containing Ruskin s original drawings, this guide to the moral, spiritual, and aesthetic implications of architecture is a treasure for students and scholars alike. The preeminent art critic of his time, British writer JOHN RUSKIN (1819 1900) had a profound influence upon European painting, architecture, and aesthetics of the 19th and 20th centuries. His immense body of literary works include Modern Painters, Volume I IV (1843 1856); The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849); Unto This Last (1862); Munera Pulveris (1862 3); The Crown of Wild Olive (1866); Time and Tide (1867); and Fors Clavigera (1871-84)."
Since the first dominion of men was asserted over the ocean, three thrones, of mark beyond all others, have been set upon its sands: the thrones of Tyre, Venice, and England. Of the First of these great powers only the memory remains; of the Second, the ruin; the Third, which inherits their greatness, if it forget their example, may be led through prouder eminence to less pitied destruction. The exaltation, the sin, and the punishment of Tyre have been recorded for us, in perhaps the most touching words ever uttered by the Prophets of Israel against the cities of the stranger. But we read them as a lovely song; and close our ears to the sternness of their warning: for the very depth of the Fall of Tyre has blinded us to its reality, and we forget, as we watch the bleaching of the rocks between the sunshine and the sea, that they were once "as in Eden, the garden of God." Her successor, like her in perfection of beauty, though less in endurance of dominion, is still left for our beholding in the final period of her decline: a ghost upon the sands of the sea, so weak—so quiet,—so bereft of all but her loveliness, that we might well doubt, as we watched her faint reflection in the mirage of the lagoon, which was the City, and which the Shadow.
This beautiful book is an illustrated guide to The Stones of Venice, which links Ruskin's descriptions of individual buildings with a contemporary photographic record of the architecture and sculpture as it is seen today.