Art in European Architecture: Synthese Des Arts

Art in European Architecture: Synthese Des Arts

Art in European Architecture: Synthese Des Arts

Art in European Architecture: Synthese Des Arts


The subject of this book is not new. There is certainly nothing original in the idea of coordinating the major arts in order to arrive at a harmonious unity--a unity of conception among architects, painters, and sculptors who would devote their talents to the common cause. Actually, art began by being an integral part of architecture, and it is their present separation that is really new. For the first time in the history of civilization the major arts are independent, very often ignore each other, and are sometimes even antagonistic. For the first time, architecture finds itself stripped to the bone, and the art that for centuries was considered the most important of the major arts runs the risk today of losing its right to be called art.

Dissatisfied with the present aspect of modern architecture, and conscious of the limits that their isolation forces upon them, many architects and artists desire a new reintegration of the arts and architecture. Groups have been formed and public discussions have been held in order to discuss the principle of a new synthesis of the major arts, a principle that until the appearance of modern architecture would never have been called into question.

The evolution of modern architecture will depend on the efforts put forth by architects and artists. Architecture may continue to separate itself from the other arts and follow the path of pure technique. In this case, the home will become a fabricated object, executed with faultless logic--a machine not to be lived in. Architecture will cease to be an art, and the architects will be replaced by engineers.

On the other hand, modern architecture can seek a new possibility of association with the other major arts by continuing a normal evolution which would lead it to its maturity, and would eventually allow it to take its place among the great periods in the history of architecture.

In the present phase of its development, architecture, if it is not watched over by discerning, clear-sighted minds, risks becoming the prey of decorators, who would undermine its very foundations and transform it into a sort of modern baroque. A reaction against an excess of purity could break out, as strong as the reaction against the decorative exaggerations of the last century.

Although the first possibility is more to be feared, there is certainly a danger in the two extremes--the extreme of purity and the extreme of the baroque. It is urgent that architects and artists join hands once more and coordinate their efforts to direct the evolution of architec-

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