And not merely “Glories of the West” – the Glories of Christendom! East as well as West. Beautiful music, and a remarkable assemblage of magnificent European churches, in a variety of traditional styles. Lovely!
This is what so many people who claim to love multiculturalism, but yet claim to dislike classical architecture, utterly fail to understand!
Is this not too sadly the truth?
I would not, perhaps, say “nobody.” But all too few, comparatively speaking… all too few.
“The Beauty of The Kingdom of France: The Creation of the French People. Vive la France! Vive le Roi!”
“Good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. When we build, let it not be for our time, but all time. Real architecture stands the test of time, aesthetically & physically.”
Another example of what we are struggling for.
7 sanctuaries united by a straight line: the legendary Sword of St. Michael
Source: Sword of St. Michael | Aleteia
“A mysterious imaginary line links seven monasteries, from Ireland to Israel. Is it just a coincidence? These seven sanctuaries are very far from each other, and yet they are perfectly aligned… The Sacred Line of Saint Michael the Archangel represents, according to legend, the blow the [holy Archangel] inflicted on the Devil, sending him to hell.”
Classical architecture offers the possibility of restoring beauty to gain respect for the work public buildings do in contributing to the common good.
Dr. Carroll William Westfall (PhD, Columbia University), Professor Emeritus at the Notre Dame School of Architecture, has penned (or perhaps, this being the 21st century, keyboarded) this excellent argument in favor of President Donald Trump’s recently leaked draft executive order – which may or may not actually be issued – which, as a surprisingly supportive article in The Atlantic points out, “strongly encouraged architects to adopt a classical style when they design federal courthouses and buildings in the nation’s capital.”
While there have been the usual bleated objections from the usual suspects, Dr. Westfall raises some excellent points, such as “the fact that a building is a public object that occupies a site that is necessarily part of the realm where people lead their lives. Things placed in the public realm are obliged to serve the public, common good even if privately owned, and it is the duty of government to ensure this is done.”
It is, in other words, not created merely or even primarily for the benefit of “those who seek to preserve the putative right of architects to express their interpretation of the modern era with the latest fashions on public land and at public expense.” He asserts, instead, what I would agree is the unassailable truth that “the primary purpose of a public building is to serve a public, common good,” and notes that
“Modernism gained ascendancy at the expense of classical architecture that uses valued traditions adapted with innovations, drawing on experience and new insights to fit current circumstances. This role of tradition and innovation in architecture has its counterpart in our form of government, which has its roots in ancient Greece and Rome and in the experience of governing British colonies.”
Let me reemphasize that: classical architecture… uses valued traditions adapted with innovations, drawing on experience and new insights to fit current circumstances.
This is also true of classicism and traditionalism, rightly understood, in general (as he alludes to, in referring our form of government). He further notes that “Classicism is not a style but an achievement of architectural art that renders a public service while honoring the canons of beauty as they pertain to that art.”
I have posted on “The Tyranny of Artistic Modernism” previously, so I will not rehash the point, here. But it is nothing but absurdity to claim that Classicism is simply a pro forma and unimaginative rehashing of “old stuff,” and “not who we are today.” And to the extent that there is any truth to the latter, it is an indictment of the present age, not a compliment to it!
Fortunately, a growing number of people are starting to realize that in architecture as in so many other areas of the res publica, the modernist / postmodernism “emperor” has no clothes. And more and more are beginning to develop an appreciation for classical things, classical ideas, classical values: in art and architecture no less than in other realms of public and private life.
With respect to public building and the architecture thereof, Dr. Westfall notes that “While modernist architects would fare poorly in satisfying the proposed guidelines” of President Trump’s leaked draft order,
“a growing number of architects is recovering the ability to produce classical architecture. They offer the possibility of restoring the beauty of public buildings to gain the people’s respect for the work those buildings do in contributing to the public, common good.”
He concluded that “We need these revisions to achieve this,” and I whole-heartedly concur.
The linked Federalist essay includes this bio of Dr. Westfall:
Carroll William Westfall (PhD, Columbia University) has been a professor of architecture since 1966. He began his career at Amherst College, then the University of Illinois in Chicago, the University of Virginia, and between 1998 and his retirement in 2015, at the University of Notre Dame, including four years as chairman of the School of Architecture. He has published three books and numerous articles on topics from antiquity onward, with a focus on the history of the city and particular attention to the reciprocity between the political life and the urban and architectural elements that serve the needs of citizens. He, his family, and pets now live in Richmond, Virginia.
None too shabby a resumé! His Notre Dame faculty directory bio adds,
A central theme of all of his studies has been the history of the city with particular attention to the reciprocity between the political life and the urban and architectural elements that serve the needs of citizens. His emphasis is on the usefulness of knowledge of history to practicing architects. This, rather than a stylistically based interpretation of the history of architecture, has informed all of his work. His current interests are concentrated on the architect’s capacity to nourish the Christian faith and on tradition and classicism in architecture and the American city with special attention to the role of Thomas Jefferson in founding a distinctive American architecture to serve a unique nation.
Why am I not surprised that he is approaching this issue from a Christian ethos? Truth, Beauty, and Goodness live! Thanks be to God!
The philosopher, who died from cancer, is hailed as “the greatest conservative of our age.”
This is a tragic loss! One of the towering intellects of our time, and a passionate defender of Western civilization. Yesterday, Sunday the 13th of January, Sir Roger Scruton lost a six month fight with an aggressive form of cancer.
The BBC, of course, cannot resist sniping, but he was a great man, a terrific thinker, and his loss will be keenly felt by many: myself not least.
“The author of more than 50 books on aesthetics, morality and politics, he was also a government advisor. Supporters hailed him as ‘the greatest conservative of our age.’
“A statement on his website said he had been fighting cancer for six months and ‘died peacefully’ on Sunday.
“Historian Timothy Garton Ash said he was ‘a man of extraordinary intellect, learning and humour, a great supporter of central European dissidents, and the kind of provocative – sometimes outrageous – conservative thinker that a truly liberal society should be glad to have challenging it’.”
A Cambridge graduate and the author – as noted above – of some fifty books on morals, politics, architecture and aesthetics, Sir Roger was knighted in 2016 for his services to philosophy, teaching and public education. It was an honour richly deserved!
I have published here on The Anglophilic Anglican several examples of his thought, but here are two I particularly recommend, if you’ve not already seen them:
“Why Beauty Matters” (BBC documentary).
“The End of the University” (First Things article).
Requiescat in pacem, Sir Roger. You will be deeply missed.
Source: deutschlandLiebe (Facebook group)
Almost entirely destroyed by Allied firebombing in World War Two that killed tens of thousands (estimates range from a low of 25,000 to a high of 135,000), Dresden has risen, Phoenix-like, literally from the ashes!
Short drone video of Dresden, focusing on the restored historic heart of the city:
Click the link for a longer video!
“Politicians of Western nations ought not to be eligible for election until they have travelled the ancient world. All the cities of the Graeco-Roman world have become slums. That pride which made Asia-Minor, in the words of Theodore Mommsen, “the promised land of municipal vanity” vanished with the Muslim conquest. Politicians should be made to see how easy it is for the constant sea of savagery, which flows forever around the small island of civilisation, to break in and destroy.
“Asia Minor was once as highly organised as Europe is today: a land of large cities whose libraries and public monuments were so splendid that when we today retrieve fragments of this lost world we think it worth while to build museums to house them. Yet a few centuries of occupation by a static race have seen the highest pillars fall to earth, have witnessed the destruction of aqueducts that carried life-giving water from afar, and have seen the silting up of harbours that once sheltered the proudest navies of the ancient world. I cannot understand how any traveller can stand unmoved at the graveside of the civilisation from which our own world springs, or can see Corinthian capitals lying in the mud, without feeling that such things hold a lesson and a warning and, perhaps, a prophesy.“
— H.V. Morton: In the Steps of St. Paul (1936), p.56-7.
Let us say the situation has not improved dramatically since 1936. Sadly, rather the reverse…
We who live in the Western world at the present time continue to suffer under the reign of a great tyranny — the tyranny of artistic modernism.
The four “uglies” in the title above are the assessment – all too accurate – of William Briggs, in his post on the subject. I cannot disagree! Here, at any rate, are some quotes from Mark Anthony Signorelli and Nikos A. Salingaros’s piece at New English Review, linked above, with my reflections thereon:
“We who live in the Western world at the present time continue to suffer under the reign of a great tyranny — the tyranny of artistic modernism. The modernist aesthetic, which dominates our age, takes a variety of forms in the respective arts — in architecture, a lack of scale and ornamentation combined with the overwhelming deployment of materials like glass, steel, and brutalist concrete; in the plastic arts, a rejection of natural forms mixed with an unmistakable tendency towards the repulsive or meretricious; in literature, non-linear narrative, esoteric [*] imagery, and an almost perfect lack of poetic form and diction.”
Continue reading “The Tyranny of Artistic Modernism: Ugly Buildings, Ugly Paintings, Ugly Words, Ugly Life”