'Arch Masonry', Study towards 'The Stones of Venice', Volume I
Date Made/Found: about 1851
, British, 1819 - 1900
Material and Medium: pencil on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 392 x 280mm
Mount: 340 x 212mm
Accession Number: CGSG00011
‘The Stones of Venice’ was a book written and illustrated by Ruskin. He published it in three volumes between 1851 and 1853 and it reads not only as a guide to Venice's architectural style and history, but also as a moral guide and account of its social politics.
Ruskin spent long periods in Venice and studied the architecture in minute detail, so that he could produce the book. He made this drawing for the first volume ‘The Foundations’, which concerns the style and construction of architecture. Here, rather than illustrating arches from particular buildings, Ruskin has illustrated the different shapes and styles of arches in general. He particularly wanted to show the different proportions and weightings of stone needed to produce a safe, practical, but attractive arch. He has outlined the ‘voussoirs, the individual pieces of stone that make up an arch, and the cusps, the projecting stone angles which provide the decorative shape in an arch.