Modern Building; Its Nature, Problems, and Forms

Modern Building; Its Nature, Problems, and Forms

Modern Building; Its Nature, Problems, and Forms

Modern Building; Its Nature, Problems, and Forms

Excerpt

In 1770, a young student from Frankfort set out to enter the University of Strasbourg, where his father wanted him to study law. Soon after his arrival in the foreign town, he went to see the famous cathedral, and from his very first moment in the presence of this masterpiece of the Gothic he was deeply impressed.

His previous studies in art had been guided by his father, who had taught him, in accordance with the esthetic ideals of his time, to regard the works of the ancients as the height of taste and the measure of beauty. In his father's house, every day he had seen a series of Roman views, with which the Imperial Councilor Johann Kaspar Goethe had adorned the ante-room: engravings by some of the accomplished predecessors of Piranesi, views of the Piazza del Popolo, the Colosseum, St. Peter's Church, within and without, and the Piazza of St. Peter's. In Dichtung und Wahrheit, we are told how these images impressed themselves deeply upon the youngster, trained his eyes, formed and determined his judgment in art.

From those examples, when he first approached the Strasbourg Cathedral, his head was full, as he said, of a general knowledge of good taste. From hearsay he knew about harmony of masses and clearness of forms; and by esthetic doctrine he was a pro-

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