proportion and reasonableness
Post #360 • September 6, 2004, 1:27 PM • 5 Comments
Veritas et Venustas excerpts some interesting posts on the Traditional Architecture Listserv, which runs out of the University of Miami.
I have a friend who is one of the best dealers in English antiques. He once pointed to the leg of an 18th century English table and said, "That's a very good leg."
"Why?" I asked.
"Look at the best 18th century English tables 4 or 5 times a week for 6 months, and you'll see why," he said.
He's right. If you have a talent for proportion (anyone can improve their eye, but it is both an acquired and inherited talent - just as I can improve my musical skills but will never have perfect pitch, so people are inherently more and less visual), you can train it and significantly improve it.
Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but I feel that architects have a better grip on quality than artists do for the most part, perhaps because they have some basic parameters to their field (building must stay up, ceilings must span higher than six feet, etc.). I think this practicality spills over into their discussions about immaterial considerations regarding their profession. I contrast this with the art conversation, which seems to demand repeated injections of reasonableness. Because one can do anything in the name of art, infinite avenues exist for failure, and infinite justifications can be conjured up for each one. Whereas that roof had at least better keep the rain off of your head.