For further criticisms of the Certosa, see Stones of Venice, vol. i. ch. i. § 35, ch. xx. § 14 ; review of Lord Lindsay, in On the Old Road, 1890, vol. i. 41; Aratra Pentelici, § 160 ; and Præterita, iii. ch. i. § 8. With these passages may be compared Ruskin's impressions as given in a letter to his father (Milan, July 16, 1845):
The Certosa which I saw yesterday afternoon is, in elaborateness and quantity of labour, far more marvellous than my recollection of it. In quality of art, far inferior. Its style is singularly bad; it has no monasterial feeling; it seems built for ornament; it reminded me of the architectural designs of things impossible in the Royal Academy. It has a nasty, English, Chelsea Hospital, Hampton Court twang about it; and the details, whose labour is quite overwhelming, only nauseate one from their profusion without even giving a single bit of good, pure, great art. After what I have been among in Florence, it looks all derivative and diluted and made me sick like the metrical version of the Psalms. It is not barbarous. It is an attempt by people without mind or feeling to imitate what is good. But it is all done to be fine, nothing for a simple or great purpose. One little bit of Florentine cypressed cloister is worth a thousand such buildings, and one little bit of Orcagna is worth centuries of work in such sculpture. I never was so overwhelmed with mediocrity.
Last modified 13 July 2010