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The Stones of Venice

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  529 ratings  ·  29 reviews
John Ruskin, Victorian England's greatest writer on art and literature, believed himself an adopted son of Venice, and his feelings for this city are exquisitely expressed in The Stones of Venice. This edition contains Ruskin's famous essay "The Nature of Gothic," a marvelously descriptive tour of Venice before its postwar restoration. As Ruskin wrote in 1851, "Thank God I ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published July 10th 2003 by Da Capo Press (first published 1853)
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Roy Lotz
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Many people, capable of quickly sympathizing with any excellence, when once pointed out to them, easily deceive themselves into the supposition that they are judges of art.

I recently went on a short trip to Venice, for which I chose an abridged version of this work to accompany me. Ruskin is an eccentric guide, to say the least. To call him ‘opinionated’ is to risk absurd understatement. For Ruskin uses his survey of Venetian architecture, not merely to instruct, but as evidence for his grand
Czarny Pies
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-architecture
To enjoy Ruskin one needs, first, a taste for purple prose and, second, sympathy for those willing to fight vigorously for a losing cause. Among other things, Ruskin argued vehemently in his writings against the use of steel for architectural purposes. A contemporary of Gustave Eiffel, Ruskin can be seen as a type of King Canute ordering the tide not to come in. In the Stones of Venice, Ruskin is in top form vehemently presenting an absurd case; that is to say that the buildings of Venice demons ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeous ode to Venice by art critic John Ruskin (adored by Marcel Proust). If you love Venice and you love art and culture, this is an essential book. If you have never been to Venice, this and Jan Morris's Venice are perfect ways to prepare your voyage!
Vittorio Ducoli
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La mirabile storia di una città oggi assassinata

Recentemente mi è capitato di parlare di Bruges la morta di Georges Rodenbach, e non ho potuto fare a meno di paragonare le atmosfere che l'autore ci offre, relative alla città sul finire del XIX secolo, e l'esperienza di visita odierna in una città diventata una delle mete del turismo internazionale.
Questo stridente contrasto lo si ritrova all'ennesima potenza confrontando la Venezia di oggi con le sublimi descrizioni della città decadente, dell
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 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
Al Maki
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read a one volume abridgement published by the Folio Society of the original three volume work. It is a detailed description of the architecture of Venice. As an approach to viewing Venetian architecture it's very good, detailed and evocative. But there's more. For one thing his style is gorgeous, somewhere on the continuum that runs through Gibbon and Henry James. And just as Gibbon had points to make in his multi volume work on Roman history, Ruskin had a point as well. He saw the Gothic sty ...more
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
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ruth Paszkiewicz
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Finally finished! Took a lot more concentration than I expected, but I like Ruskin's style and the accompanying diagrams are very useful.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
A fantastic abridged version of Ruskin's three volume writings on Venice. An unconventional architecture, art, culture, and city guide for the academically inclined pessimist. His deprecating tone is always amusing to read.
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.
Evan Simpkins
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Could it be the greatest book every written about a physical place?
Dec 20, 2012 is currently reading it
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.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Will have to visit Venice again and compare notes :)
Anna Maria
Sep 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Was ever anyone more eloquent than Ruskin?
Kevin Fitzpatrick
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not withstanding the fact that one is dealing with an abridged version of a multi-volume work, John Ruskin's "The Stones of Venice" is by turns one of the most well-written, most informative, and down right persuasive books that I have ever had the pleasure to peruse. Perfect for the beginner first wading into the subject matter of architecture and things Gothic, the book is also fine for one concerned with the aesthetics of reading, for the prose of Ruskin's work is without peer, making for a p ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Ruskin, O Ruskin, how oft I find
Thy languid musings echo in my mind!
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book accompanied my trip to Venice. Ruskin is an excellent writer, and even if you have no interest in architecture you will probably be moved by his elegant prose.
Stephen Gamble
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
First - hats off to J G Links for abridging The Stones, Ruskin's original is so monumental it should not only be filed under 'Architecture' but actually count as architecture. Now I have read Links semidetached version I think I have got the jist and have no need to read the original - unless I ever end up incarcerated.

Not that Ruskin isn't readable, his prose is elegant and engaging, indeed he gets away with a lot of dull technical stuff by being elegant and engaging. There is an awful lot of
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: venice
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
Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it
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!
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.
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.
Keith Miller
Stones of Venice by John Ruskin (2005)
Dio Trapese
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
best book ever
rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2010
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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
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