Archive for Alexander John Ellis

Doric

Posted in Architecture, Philosophy, Photo with tags , , , on November 17, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

alexander-john-ellis-paestum-1841alexander-john-ellis-paestum-1841a

“…I went to Paestum, and there saw Doric temples for the first time, symbols of severity, simplicity, harmony, and strength. There was the pure vein to be traced in the quartz of Roman accumulations and grossness…

Doric purity is not a thing to be expected again in history, at least not yet. It indicates a people that knows its small place in the universe and yet asserts its dignity. In early Christian art there may be simplicity and naïveté, but never self-knowledge. The aspiration in it is childlike. For anything like Doric fortitude in the West we must look to the castles, not to the churches; and the castles are Christian only by association. Here then was an ultimate point of reference, a principle of manly purity, to mark one extreme in the moral scale of all human arts…”

Text: George Santayana, My Host the World. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953
Image: Alexander John Ellis, two daguerreotypes of the temple of Hera at Paestum, 1841. via Getty Images

 

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