The Works of John Ruskin
Volume 23, Val d’Arno; The Schools of Florence
By John Ruskin
Edited by Edward Tyas Cook
Edited by Alexander Wedderburn
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2010
Online Publication Date:September 2011
Original Publication Year:1906
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511696251.009
Subjects: Literary Texts
1. In my former lectures I broadly stated to you that the Northern savage art, which I generally called Norman, and the Southern savage art, which I generally called Byzantine, met in Florence, and then became Christian.
This blending of arts took place in the thirteenth century, and formed, about the year 1300, the perfect Christian school of art in Florence. That Christian school by its vivid virtue and exercised senses was enabled to discern right from wrong, and beautiful from base, with precision never before or since reached by the conscience or intellect of man. I have called it, in the references made to it in this course of lectures, the Æsthetic School of Florence, meaning that which had, by reason of use, its senses exercised to the discernment of good from evil.
Diminishing gradually in the faith which was to it more than sight, and adding only to it mathematic science and practical skill, this Florentine power became, about the year 1400, dextrous in the representation of all natural objects—chiefly the body of man—to a degree which had not been seen in art since the best days of Greece. This school of scientific form, culminating in Michael Angelo, I have for present reference called the Mathematic School of Florence.