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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Since first the dominion of men was asserted over the ocean, ...", 28 May 2008
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ruskin's Venice: The Stones Revisited (Paperback)
Thus are the famous opening words of John Ruskin's "The Stones of Venice": three volumes of half-a-million words and fifty plates that were published between 1851 and 1853, by which time Ruskin had visited Venice six times. The preface of this marvellous book points out that the work has been long out of print. (But modern editions are nevertheless now being produced). Sarah Quill considers that, "It seems appropriate, therefore, to mark the centenary of Ruskin's death [in 1900] with a compilation of his text and drawings, given together with a series of photographs taken towards the end of the twentieth century, to illustrate the degree to which the city's architecture has survived ... since the middle of the nineteenth century." This is the basis of this beautifully-produced volume: "The selection of `stones' became ... a matter of identifying and photographing those buildings about which Ruskin had something definite to say ..."

There then follows four short chapters by Alan Windsor who introduces the reader to Ruskin, to Venice, and to the interaction between them in terms of Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. These three styles and Ruskin's own commentary on them then form the bulk of this book. Direct quotations are made in relation to Sarah Quill's exquisitely framed photographs of the buildings to which Ruskin refers. There are special sections on Saint Mark's cathedral and the Ducal Palace. As well as her own work, the illustrations also contain historical photographs, old prints, and even drawings and paintings by Ruskin himself. His figure-work on Venetian capitals and orders are beautifully reproduced. Page after page of superb text and beautiful illustration results in a dazzling snowball effect, where one begins to possess a real sense of excited expectation as to what the next page will show.

This centrepiece is framed by two more sober chapters - `Before the Stones', and `After the Stones' - in which Ruskin's visits are placed in a wider context. Here we have presented extracts from his letters as well as from his other books; and drawings, engravings and paintings too. The story takes us up to the time of Ruskin's death.

The book ends with a map of the city showing the location of each of the buildings referred to, although it is not helped by the reference being to numbers given in the index. There is a glossary at the end, which is useful; however, there are no entries for `rustication' or `vermiculation', both words appearing in the text. A bibliography and an index close the volume.

I hope the reader will have gleaned some sense about why I have given this book five stars - a rarity in my reviews. I am tempted to say that the Ruskin-reader or the Venice-reader no longer needs to rely so heavily on Ruskin's own volumes. That is not quite true, since so much of importance that Ruskin has to say has perforce been omitted from this book. But, as an introduction to the Ruskinian city, both visually and contextually, this work has no equal and is wholeheartedly recommended.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful glimpse of an inaccessible masterwork, 1 Mar 2000
It's just about impossible to spend any time in Venice without stumbling across something that Ruskin spluttered. But it's even more difficult to find his insights published in anything more than a couple of lines of a guidebook. That alone makes this book a pleasure. It contains perfectly generous excerpts from his exhausting and inaccessible masterwork. And even more rewardingly, it breaks up his dense prose with wonderful drawings and photographs of his subjects. It's as delicately illustrated a survey of Venice as a lot of the giant coffee table stuff that costs even more. Ruskin wore his nib out writing with great intelligence about pretty much everything under the sun but if it's his evangelical passion for Venice that you're after then you couldn't be better served. My only reservation--it's a pity to lose some of the beautiful bluntness of his extended argument. The book sort of sucks some of the poison out of his contempt for most of what happened to the city after the middle of the sixteenth century.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruskin's Venice, 8 Jan 2011
By 
Mr. Nb Miller (Woodford Green Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ruskin's Venice: The Stones Revisited (Paperback)
This is a brilliant publication and for anyone who wishes to find out details of Venetian architecture and the building in Venice, this is a must.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost brilliant!, 5 Mar 2014
By 
Philip Critchley "Tocky, York" (York, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ruskin's Venice: The Stones Revisited (Paperback)
Great purchase. Allows me to dip in and out when the mood takes me. Good mixture of original Ruskin images and new photography although some of the text is a little hard going. The only disappointment is that I would have preferred it to be a hardback publication.
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Ruskin's Venice: The Stones Revisited
Ruskin's Venice: The Stones Revisited by John Ruskin (Paperback - 28 Sep 2003)
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