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of the 11th century; after which, as we shall presently see, a new and extraordinary style made its appearance in Europe, a style whereof fig. 151, will, on inspection, sufficiently give a general notion to the reader.
291. Before leaving the subject of this section, we must fall back again upon Italy to notice two or three works intimately connected with this period of the art. We here more particularly allude to the celebrated baptistry and campanile of Pisa, a city which seems to have been a great nursing mother to our art, no less than to those of painting and sculpture. The Campo Santo of that city, of which, from the number of examples to be noticed, we regret we shall be unable to give but a short account, belongs to the next period, and must be noticed after them.
292. Dioti Salvi, whose birthplace even is unknown, commenced, in 1152, the baptistery of Pisa (fig. 152.), and after eight years completed it It is close to the cathedral of the place, and though on the wall of the inner gallery there be an inscription, cut in the character of the middle ages, “A.D. 1278, EDIFICATA FUIT De Novo,” and it may be consistent with truth that the edifice was ornamented by John of Pisa, there is nothing to invalidate the belief that the building stands on the foundations originally set out, and that for its principal features it is indebted to the architect whose name we have mentioned. It is 100 ft. in diameter within the walls, which are 8 ft. 6 in thick. The covering is a double brick dome, the inner one conical, the outer hemispherical. The former is a frustum of a pyramid of twelve sides. Its upper extremity forms a horizontal polygon, finished with a small parabolic cupola, showing twelve small marble ribs on the exterior. The outer vault terminates above, at the base of the small cupola, which stands like a lantern over the aperture. From the pavement, the height of the cupola is 102 ft. The entrance is by a decorated doorway, from the a sill of which the general pavement
is sunk three steps round the building; the space between the steps and the wall having been provided for the accommodation of the persons assembled to view the ceremony of baptism. An aisle or corridor is continued round its interior circumference, being formed by eight granite columns and four piers from which are turned semicircular arches, which support an upper gallery; and above the arches are twelve piers, bearing the semicircular arches which support the pyramidal
dome. On the exterior are two orders of Corinthian columns engaged in the wall, which support semicircular arches. In the upper order the columns are more numerous, inasmuch as each arch below bears two columns above it. Over every two arches of the upper order is a sharp pediment, separated by a pinnacle from the adjoining ones; and above the pediments a horizontal cornice encircles the building. Above the second story a division in the compartments occurs, which embraces three of the lower arches; the separation being effected by piers triangular on the plan, crowned by pinnacles. Between these piers, semicircular headed small windows are introduced, over each of which is a small circular window, and thereover sharp pediments. Above these the convex surface of the dome springs up, and is divided by twelve ribs, truncated below the vertex, and ornamented with crockets. Between these ribs are a species of dormer windows, one between every two ribs, ornamented with columns, and surmounted each by three small pointed pediments. The total height is about 179 ft. The cupola is covered with lead and tiles; the rest of the edifice is marble. 293. The extraordinary campanile, or bell tower, near the cathedral at Pisa, was built about 1174. It is celebrated from the circumstance of its overhanging upwards of thirteen feet, a peculiarity observable in many other Italian towers, but in none to so great an extent as in this. There can be no doubt whatever that the defect has arisen from bad foundation, and that the failure exhibited itself long before the building was completed; because, on one side, at a certain height, the columns are higher than on the other; thus showing an endeavour on the part of the builders to bring back the upper part of the tower to as vertical a direction as was practicable, and recover the situation of the centre of gravity. The tower is cylindrical, 50 ft. in diameter, and 180 ft. high. It consists of eight stories of columns, in each of which they bear semicircular arches, forming open galleries round the story. The roof is flat, and the upper story contains some bells. The last of the group of buildings in Pisa is the Campo Santo, which, from its style and date (1278), is only mentioned here out of its place in order to leave this interesting spot without necessity for further recurrence to it. It is the public burying place of the city, and, whether from the remains on its walls of the earliest examples of Giutto, and Cimabue, the beauty of its proportions, or the sculpture that remains about, is unparalleled in interest to the artist. It is a quadrangle, 40.3 ft. in length, 117 ft. in width, and is surrounded by a corridor 32 ft. in breadth. This corridor is roofed, forming a sort of cloister with semicircular-headed windows, which were at first simple apertures extending down to the pavement, but they have been subsequently divided into smaller apertures by columns, which, from the springing of the arches, branch out into tracery of elegant design. The interior part of the quadrangle is open to the sky. Some of the arches above mentioned were completed as late as the year 1464.
294. About the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century, a most singular and important change took place in the architecture of Europe. The flat southern roof, says Möller, was superseded by the high pitched northern covering of the ecclesiastical edifices, and its introduction brought with it the use of the pointed arch, which was substituted for the semicircular one; a necessary consequence, for the roof and vaults being thus raised, the character of the whole could not be preserved without changing the whole arrangement of the combinations of forms. But we have great doubts on Möller's hypothesis; it will, indeed, be hereafter seen we have a different belief on the origin of the pointed . arch. Before we at all enter upon the edifices of the period, we think it will be better to put the reader in possession of the different hypotheses in which various writers have indulged, relative to the introduction or invention of the pointed arch; and though we attach very little importance to the discovery, if it could now be clearly established, we are, as our work would be incomplete without the notice, compelled to submit them for the reader's consideration.
295. 1. Some have derived this style from the holy groves of the early Celts. – But we can see no ground for this hypothesis, for it was only in the 14th and 15th centuries that ribs between the groins (which have been compared to the small branches of trees) were introduced; hence it is rather difficult to trace the similarity which its supporters contend for.
296. 2. That the style originated from huts made with twigs and branches of trees intertwined. – An hypothesis fancifully conceived and exhibited to the world by Sir James Hall, in some very interesting plates attached to his work. Möller properly observes upon this theory of twigs, that it is only in the buildings of the 15th and 16th centuries that the supposed imitation of twigs appears. I
297. 3. From the framed construction of timber buildings. – This is an hypothesis which it would be loss of time to examine, inasmuch as all the forms and details undoubtedly arise from the vault and arch; and a close examination of the buildings of the 13th century proves that the ancient ecclesiastical style involves the scientific construction of stone vaulting, all timber construction being limited to the framing of the roof. 298. 4. From the imitation of the aspiring lines of the pyramids of Egypt. – This hypothesis is the fancy of Murphy, the ingenious and useful editor of a work on the convent of Batalha, in Portugal, and also of some of the finest edifices of the Moors in Spain. The following is the reasoning of the author: — The pyramids of the Egyptians are tombs; the dead are buried in churches, and on their towers pyramidal forms are placed; consequently, the pyramids of the towers indicate that there are graves in the churches; and as the pyramidal form constitutes the essence of the pointed arch style, and the pyramids of the towers are imitations of the Egyptian pyramids, the pointed arch is derived from the latter. The reader, we are sure, will not require from us any examination of the series of syllogisms here enumerated. 299. 5. From the intersection of semicircular arches which occurs in late instances of the Romanesque style. – This was the hypothesis of the late Dr. Milner, a Catholic bishop of great learning and most amiable bearing, and a person so intimately acquainted with the subject on which he wrote, that we regret his reasons for the conjecture are not satisfactory to us, albeit the combination (fig. 153.) whereof he speaks is, in the Romanesque style, of frequent occurrence. The venerable prelate seems to have lost sight of a principle familiar to every artist—that in all art the details of a style are subordinate to and dependent on the masses, and that the converse never occurs; how, then, could the leading features of a style so universal have had their origin in an accidental and unessential decoration, like that of the theory in question? None of the above hypotheses are satisfactory; and Möller well observes, that the solution of the question, whether the pointed style belongs to one nation exclusively, is attended with great difficulties. And it may be said that the problem for solution is not, who invented the pointed arch, but, in what way its prevalence in the 13th century is to be accounted for. 300. We are not of opinion that it is of much importance that this verata quaestio should be settled; and that it will now satisfactorily be done, we consider very much out of the limits of probability. But we suppose that the reader will be inclined to ask for our own bias on the subject; and, as we are bound to answer such a question, the reply is, that we are of the faith of the Rev. Mr. Whittington, to whose work we have before referred, that the pointed arch was of Eastern extraction, and that it was imported by the first crusaders into the West. “All eastern buildings,” says that ingenious writer, “as far back as they go (and we cannot tell how far), have pointed arches, and are in the same style; is it not fair to suppose that some of these are older than the 12th century, or that the same style existed before that time? Is it at all probable that the dark ages of the West should have given a mode of architecture to the East?” Lord Aberdeen, whose taste and learning in matters of this nature well qualified him for the posthumous introduction to the public of the author we are using, observes, in his preface to Whittington's work, that, “if we could discover in any one country a gradual alteration of this style [the Romanesque], beginning with the form of the arch, and progressively extending to the whole of the ornaments and general design; – after which, if we could trace the new fashion slowly making its way, and by degrees adopted by the other nations of Europe; — the supposition of Mr. Walpole [that it arose from what was conceived to be an improvement in the corrupt specimens of Roman taste then exhibited, and was afterwards gradually carried to perfection] would be greatly confirmed. Nothing, however, of this is the case. We find the Gothic [pointed] style, notwithstanding the richness and variety it afterwards assumed, appearing at once with all its distinctive marks and features, not among one people, but, very nearly at the same period of time, received and practised throughout Christendom. How will it be possible to account for this general and contemporary adoption of the style, but by a supposition that the taste and knowledge of all on this subject were drawn from a common source? and where can we look for this source but to the East, which, during the crusades, attracted a portion of the population, and, in a great degree, occupied the attention, of the different states of Europe?” This was an opinion of Sir Christopher Wren, at least greatly so, his leaning being rather to deducing the origin of the style from the Moors in Spain. It is the fashion of modern half-educated critics to place little reliance on such authorities as Wren. We have, from experience, learned to venerate them. The noble author whom we have been quoting proceeds by stating that “the result receives confirmation from the circumstance of there being no specimen of Gothic [pointed] architecture erected in the West before the period in question.” Exception, however, is to be made for the rare occurrence of a very few examples, whose construction may perhaps be placed higher than the 12th century, and the cause of whose existence may be satisfactorily explained. “It may be sufficient here to observe, that no people versed in the science of architecture could long remain ignorant of the pointed form of the arch, the most simple and easy in construction, as it might be raised without a centre by the gradual projection of stones placed in horizontal courses; and, whether produced by accident or necessity, we may reasonably expect to meet with it occasionally in their works.” It is certain that, though neglected in their general practice, the ancients were acquainted with this mode of building and the occurrence of an arch merely pointed and unaccompanied with any other characteristic of the style, is no better evidence of the prevalence of Gothic (pointed) architecture, than that the appearance of Corinthian capitals in Romanesque buildings must give them the right to be called classical edifices. It is not easy to answer the question, – In what part of the East are we able to point to buildings constructed in the pointed style, of a date anterior to those erected in the West? A little reflection, however, will solve the difficulty; and here we must again trespass on the author we have so copiously used, though our limits will not allow us to follow him in his own words. It is manifest that the frequent wars and revolutions of the East entailed the same fate on works of art and utility as attended the princes and chiefs of the states subverted. Thus the number of architectural examples, and especially those of early date, was greatly diminished. Again, the people of the East with whom we are best acquainted, in a great measure sacrificed their less durable mode of building to that which they found established by the Greeks. Thus, the church of Santa Sophia was a model, after the conquest of Constantinople, for all the mosques that were erected, with the addition occasionally of minarets more or less lofty, as the piety and magnificence of the sultans might dictate. Previously to the conquest of the metropolis of the East, such a practice was prevalent, and in the cities of the empire many christian edifices were adapted to the purposes of Mohammedan worship. Yet, notwithstanding these causes, which form an impediment to full information on the state of the early architecture of the East, there is an abundance of facts to give probability to our notion, except in the eyes of those who view the subject through the medium of prejudice and established system; at least so we opine. 301. “If a line,” says our author, “be drawn from the north of the Euxine, through Constantinople to Egypt, we shall discover in every country to the eastward of this boundary frequent examples of the pointed arch, accompanied with the slender proportions of £ architecture; in Asia Minor, Syria, Arabia, Persia; from the neighbourh of the Caspian, through the wilds of Tartary; in the various kingdoms, and throughout the whole extent of India, and even to the furthest limits of China. It is true that we are unable, for the most part, to ascertain the precise date of these buildings; but this in reality is not very important, it being sufficient to state the fact of their comparative antiquity, which, joined to the vast diffusion of the style, appears adequate to justify our conclusion. Seeing, then, the universal prevalence of this mode in the East, which is satisfactorily accounted for by the extensive revolutions and conquests effected by Eastern warriors in that part of the world, it can scarcely appear requisite to discuss the probability of its having been introduced from the West, or, still less, further to refute the notions of those who refer the origin of the style [as some have very ignorantly done] to the invention of English artists. Had it been adopted from the practice of the West, such a peculiarity of taste and knowledge must have been imparted by some general communication: this has only occurred at one period, during which no building of the species in question existed in Europe. The inhabitants of the West could not convey a knowledge which they did not possess; but, as it became pretty general amongst them shortly after the epoch alluded to, it is reasonable to infer that they acquired it from those nations they are said to have instructed. On the whole, it is probable that the origin of the Gothic style, notwithstanding the occasional imitation of a corrupt and degraded species of Roman architecture, is sufficiently indicated by the lofty and slender proportions, by the minute parts, and the fantastic ornaments of Oriental taste.” 302. Möller, a writer for whose opinions we entertain the highest respect, is not, however, of opinion that the pointed arch originated with the Arabs; and he observes that a scrutiny of their buildings will exhibit nothing that bears upon the Gothic, or pointed, style. He says that their arches are in the shape of a horseshoe; that the columns are low, that they stand single, and are not connected in groups; that the windows are small, the roofs flat, and that the prevalent general forms are horizontal : that, in the ancient churches of the 13th century, the arches are pointed, the pillars high and composed of several columns, windows large, and roofs and gables high. But at the end of his argument he admits that the solution of the question, “which of the European nations first introduced or improved the pointed style is not so easy, for we find this style of building almost contemporary in all parts of Europe.” Now, though we are not about to use the argument which is not always valid, post hoc ergo propter hoc, we must observe, that the introduction of the pointed arch immediately after the first Crusade, and not before, is a most singular occurrence; and we are inclined to give it the same force as that used by old Bishop Latimer on the subject of the Goodwin Sands and Tenterden steeple. One of the points of Möller's reasoning we do not think at all fortunate; it is that on the forms of the Moresque arches. Now, it must immediately occur to the reader that one of the forms (as at the side), and that a common one, is to be found in their arches, that of contrary () flexure; a form in the architecture of this country in the time of the Tudors universally adopted, though, it must be allowed, much flattened in the application. Another point seems to have been altogether overlooked by Möller, namely, the practice of diapering the walls, whereof an instance occurs in Westminster Abbey; and one which has a very strong affinity to the practice of the Moors, who left no space unornamented. The higher-pitched gables of the northern roofs, we admit, fostered the discovery, by the introduction of forms from necessity, which were admirably calculated to carry out to their extreme limits the principles of which the Crusaders had acquired some notion for practice on their return to their respective countries. As to the objection that the Arabs had no original architecture, it is admitted. They must, however, have had that of the tent, whose form inverted would give all that is sought. These observations we do not throw out, however, as partisans; because, as we have before said, the satisfactory settlement of the origin involves nothing more than a silly antiquarian controversy, of importance to no one, and, if decided, gratifying only to little minds; and we ought, perhaps, to apologise, under such circumstances, to the reader, for having so long delayed his entry to the acquaintance with its examples. We cannot, however, proceed to that part of our duty without observing that the hypothesis adopted by us is sanctioned, in addition to the intelligent author upon whom we have drawn so much, by Warburton, and T. Warton, and Sir Christopher Wren; and though none of these had the opportunity of basing their opinions upon the labours of the recent travellers whom we have been able to use, we do not think, upon this mooted question, either of them would be reduced to the necessity of retracting what he has respectively written. The reader who is inclined to read the lucubrations of Mr. Kerrich of Cambridge, which deduce the forms of churches, arches, and perhaps many other objects, from the bladder of a fish (vesica piscis), may consult the Archaeologia; in which, as respects that subject, much money was uselessly and ridiculously expended in text and plates, to illuminate the world on a subject whereof the writer was most profoundly ignorant, a remark which will equally apply to later writers on the subject who have appeared from that seat of learning. We do not think we underrate the number of writers on the subject of the origin of the pointed arch, when we state that it amounts to sixty, a majority of whom never saw a pointed arch out of their own country, England; and therefore persons, from actual comparison and knowledge, totally incapacitated from estimating the very nice distinctions and grades by which the truth could be eliminated. 303. The golden age of pointed architecture was from the middle of the 13th to the latter end of the 14th century, and one of the first churches in which it appeared, so as to allow it to be quoted as a fair specimen of the style, is that of Gelnhausen, in Swabia, an edifice which, it may safely be said, rose in the beginning of the 13th century. On the plan it is a Latin cross, terminating in three sides of an octagon at the eastern end, where it is flanked by two octagonal towers with plain buttresses at the angles. There is a similarity in the long narrow windows at the eastern extremity to those of the churches of Constantinople; but they are sharply pointed like the end of a lancet, and, from the circumstance, are universally denominated lancet-headed windows. Over these windows are ornamental semicircular recesses; and again above these is a tier of small columns attached to the wall which support arches of trefoil formation. In the wall between the columns quatrefoil windows are introduced inscribed in circles, and above the arcade each face of the octagon is pierced with a small window of two apertures, both ending in trefoil heads. Each side is crowned by a rectilinear gable, under whose sloping sides occurs the nebule or wavy ornament, bearing some resemblance to small arcades, with their imposts rounded. The octagon is crowned generally by a lofty pyramidal roof, without ornament. The two towers on the flanks are divided horizontally, by means of rectangular panels, into five horizontal parts, each of them at the upper part being decorated with small semicircular corbel-formed ornaments. The faces are crowned by small pediments, and the tower is terminated by a plain pyramidal spire. The central tower of the edifice is octagonal on the plan, containing two tiers of windows; whereof those in the lower tier have some double, others triple, apertures, formed by mullions, over which are trefoil heads; whilst those in the upper tier have double apertures with pointed heads. The central opening of the three-light windows in the lower tier rises above those on the sides; but they are enclosed under one semicircular arch. This tower is also crowned with a simple pyramidal spire. 304. The beautiful church at Oppenheim, dedicated to St. Catherine, is, like that just described, a Latin cross on its plan, and consists of a nave and transepts. Its chancel is five sides of an octagon. As in many of the churches of Germany, it has a second chancel for the canons at the western extremity, terminating in three sides of an octagon. The entrances are on the north and south sides of the transepts. From a MS. chronicle of the church, quoted by Möller, it is ascertained that the nave and