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Stones of Venice

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  303 ratings  ·  17 reviews
'Thank God I am here, it is a Paradise of Cities,' Ruskin wrote on his second visit to Venice in 1841. John Ruskin, Victorian England's greatest writer on art and architecture, believed himself to be an adoptive son of Venice. His feelings for this beautiful, melancholy city, damaged by war and in danger of being restored beyond recognition, is nowhere better expressed tha ...more
Hardcover, 168 pages
Published by (first published 1853)
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In the first chapter I felt that John Ruskin and I were not destined to become fast friends. By page 81 I was consumed with the desire to punch him in the face. I cannot stand to finish this. The pomposity overwhelms me.
Kathy Kattenburg
John Ruskin's knowledge and understanding of architectural form, function, style, and history is nothing short of astonishing. His detailed definitions of arches, buttresses, walls, ceilings, and architectural ornamentation is lucid even to a total architectural ignoramus such as myself. That technical knowledge is married to a lyrical writing style that is a joy to read--especially when he's writing about the cultural and historical contexts in which these architectural wonders existed.

This edi
I patiently searched through 8 pages of links and found no dust jack thumbnail for this edition but I did find this amazing Ruskin page: If you can find the 1981 hard cover edition edited by Jan Morris you'll be very satisfied. Frankly, the unabridged three volume set was a bit overbearing, even for an art historian. Here is a reprint and I believe this is another If you visit ...more
Occasionally tedious, often difficult, but generally a very interesting, idiosyncratic view of Venice. A man not afraid to speak his mind, to express his general disgust of Renaissance art and 'modern' techniques for the restoration of paintings, and not afraid to admit when his text may be incomplete because he mislaid his notes!
Will have to visit Venice again and compare notes :)
A bit heavy-going

This is not the easiest book to read due to Ruskin’s wordiness, his extremely flowery style and his attention to the most minute detail. He does drone on at times, especially in the chapter on St. Mark’s Basilica.

As the title implies, the emphasis is on the stones (i.e. the church of Torcello, St. Mark’s and the Doge’s Palace) and not so much on Venice itself. I feel that readers most likely to enjoy this book are lovers of art/architecture rather than those in love with the inc
I adored this book. I was shocked at the great combination of poetic evocation with nuts-and-bolts practicality - moving from his practical introduction to the basics of architecture, which helped me a lot, to his prose-poetry about the delights of travel in the pre-railroad era. It's like a textbook seamlessly becoming a book of poems.

All in all, it's not just a book on architecture, it's trying to make sense of the whole shape of European cultural history.
I loved this abridged edition and only wished for pictures of the buildings Ruskin described, in addition to his own drawings. One can still feel the impact Ruskin's book must have had on art historical thought. His mordant put-down of the Renaissance is inspired! And subtly articulated. Reading this book provides a better understanding of how the reappraisal of the Middle Ages and Gothic architecture came about.
The Stones of Venice is an amazing and cantankerous work of architectural theory. Ruskin's take on the beauty or ugliness of certain buildings is fascinating, if somewhat insane. It's worth keeping in mind, though, that the original is over 1,000 pages long. Links' abridgement is a great effort, but some of Ruskin's lines of argument are lost.
Literally about the stones of Venice. This book is a work on the architectural properties and history of architecture in Venice, with an eye for establishing the standard. highly informative, but if you're not interested in the philosophy of classic architecture than this book isn't for you. ...more
Reading Ruskin wax poetic about the most mundane aspects of Venetian architecture causes one's mind to wander off to the much more pleasent ways that could have been chosen to waste some time.
Dec 20, 2012 Vanim is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian
Even if you have no interest in architecture.... even if you've never been to Venice, Ruskin's passion and prose are compelling.
Evan Simpkins
Could it be the greatest book every written about a physical place?
Anna Maria
Was ever anyone more eloquent than Ruskin?
Keith Miller
Stones of Venice by John Ruskin (2005)
Adrian Buck
Good read ruined by appalling plates.
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  • Italian Hours
  • The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry
  • Venice
  • Culture and Anarchy
  • Michelangelo
  • D. H. Lawrence and Italy: Twilight in Italy; Sea and Sardinia; Etruscan Places
  • The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form
  • On Painting
  • The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination
  • Chivalry
  • Paradise of Cities: Venice in the Nineteenth Century
  • Venezia è un pesce. Una guida
  • Laocoon: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry
  • Pictures from Italy
  • Venice: Pure City
  • Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style
  • The Stones of Florence
  • Italian Journey
John Ruskin was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, London, the only child of Margaret and John James Ruskin. His father, a prosperous, self-made man who was a founding partner of Pedro Domecq sherries, collected art and encouraged his son's literary activities, while his mother, a devout evangelical Protestant, early dedicated her son to the service of God and devoutly wished him to beco ...more
More about John Ruskin...
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