20 NOVEMBER 1920, Page 17

ARCHITECTURE. * THE architect will disregard the foundations of his art

as little as those of his buildings if Ile honestly strive to deserve his title. For such artist-builders, Professor H. L. Warren's Foundations of Classic Architecture is evidently intended. Some- what statistical, text-booky and under-illustrated, it is never- theless vitalized by such a critical enthusiasm that it may be read, if not with ease, at any rate with keen interest. To excuse oneself from the study of origins by professions of modernism confesses to a self-sufficiency impossible to an

artist :— " The foundations of classic architecture were laid broad and deep, and on them a glorious super-structure was raised. But more than that, those fundamental principles of architectural expression wem established which inhere in every great style,

• The Founiintionc of Classic Architecture. ay Hermit Langford warren. Lemma: Naetnillan. liSa. set.]

and which influence and inspire the whole subsequent develop- ment of architecture in Europe."

That la the concluding paragraph of the book and its apology.

Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, and the Aegean are traversed, until the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at Harvard presents us, almost with an obeisance, to the full flower of Greek art. in the sublime buildings of the Acropolis. Politically, it will be remembered, the condition of Athens at the time of the miracle was, "on paper," not so unlike that of modern England :—

" The Athenians were stimulated by the sense of heroic accomplishment, and by the beckoning dream of a great future. The almost unbelievable success against the Persian world' power was the work of a combined Hellenism of which- they had been leaders, and they presently found themselves at the. head of a powerful league which gave permanent security against the Persians, which seemed even to promise politically Hellenic greatness under the lead of Athens. They were Inspired by the recent memories of Marathon, of Salamis, of Pieties, and these were victories not in a sordid strug5le for predominance against fellow Greeks, but had the new stimulus of a Greek union against the foreign invader. They were the victories of liberty, which preserved for Attica, for Graeae, —for Europe had they been able to comprehend it,—the freedom of the individual to develop in freedom, to express his ideals in his own way in the free air of democratic institutions, his liberty controlled and harmonized by devotion to common ideals and by a common ambition for the strength and welfare of his community. The viotory of Greece against Persia was much more than the maintenance of independence against

o onquest, it was the victory of ordered democracy against ruthless, powerfully organized military absolutism, an abso- lutism which enforced order by suppression, and which in its conquest of the Greek cities of the Ionian shore had destroyed the great temples it was incapable of replacing."

One can. read " Germans " for " Persians " easily enough, even if King George V. and Sir George Frampton are somewhat free translations f or Pericles and. Phidias.

Yet, granted solvency and civilization, great architecture and great scuplture are, at any rate, less unlikely in Europe now than for some generations past. Of general principles Professor Warren writes :—

" Beauty. is the perfect expression, of natures.laws of order, of organism. And this sense of harmonious relationship will be felt by the trained mind, not only with regard to relation- ships-merely visual or sensuous, but also with regard to those other relationships which have to do with the poetic expression of purpose, of material and structure, and of environment, which may be called organic. These are fundamental con- siderations. They transcend style and are applicable in the appreciation of all styles. They apply to all forms of art, to an forms of beauty. They relate not only to the arts of design : to architecture, sculpture, painting, and the arts of handicraft. They apply also in their degree to music and to literature. They are the universal and fundamental principles of beauty, which is the appropriate and harmonious expression of truth, lovingly wrought out. If in architecture structural expression Is more important than in some of the other arts of design, it is because in architecture the structure itself necessarily plays so prominent, indeed so dominant, a part, and because the. architect necessarily deals with physical forces acting on comparatively so large a scale. These physical forces, the practical requirements of the structure, the purposes more or less utilitarian of the building, these are the material out of which the architect creates his poem, his work of art. If in Reeking for adequate expression he is sometimes, lavish, sometimes bold, in his use of structural means, if now he em- phasizes this view of the structure, now that, this is his privilege as a poet ! His success will be judged by the- delicacy and the completeness with which he moulds his material, into an organic,

unified, and an appropriate whole."

This is certainly an. advance on Ruskin, who, making full use of it. himself, yet denied to the architect "his privilege as a,.

poet" and sought to tie him down to a set of quite arbitrary "moral standards."

What the world has lost at Athens is told with a brevity and

lack of comment that seem to confess the author's anguish:—

" There followed in the year 1686 the destruction of the Parthenon. The Venetians, under their general Morosini, were besieging the Turks, who to strengthen the fortifications at the entrance to the Acropolis had taken down piece by piece the Nike temple and built it into a new battery between the monument of Agrippa and the bastion of Nike. The Turks, believing perhaps that the Venetians would spare the Parthenon, used it to store each day's supply of powder for their artillery. Morosini, learning of this, ordered his guns trained on the Parthenon and a German lieutenant of artillel'y serving among the mercenaries employed by the Venetians put a bomb through the roof. The whole centre of the Parthenon was blown out and for days the fire raged. The Turks sur- rendered. The sculpture of the pediment was further damapd when Morosini tried to remove the horses of Athena and his workmen dropped and broke them. The Turks on reoccupying the Acropolis built a small mosque in the midst of the ruined

Parthenon, and the Acropolis was covered with the small houses and narrow streets of a Turkish settlement."

Since that black day of the destruction of the Parthenon German gunners- have assured themselves of a unique and everlasting place in. all histories of architecture.