Division, Juncture, System: Bridges and Bridge-Building in the Work of John Ruskin
This chapter starts by considering a recent design for a bridge named after Ruskin, whose inadequacy it attributes to disregard for Ruskin's definition of a bridge's basic function as that of safe passage over a river and misapplication of his concept of ‘abstract lines’ as ornament. For Ruskin, curvature determined by that function allowed bridges materially to trace such lines and so epitomize general laws governing landscape composition, natural morphology and human co-existence. Taking it as a figure of connection, threaded as a clue through his work, the chapter explores Ruskin's sense of the significance and sacredness of bridges, manifested especially in the role he assigned to an ideal Pontifex, guarantor of secure passage across national, cultural and cognitive divides.
keywords: Ruskin. Europe. Turner. Spuybroek. Bridges. Architecture. Ornament. Composition.
Language: enPublished: Dec. 15, 2020