More than 150 years after its first publication in 1851-53, this massive work by a great Victorian writer, critic, and artist remains one of the most influential books on art and architecture ever written. In it John Ruskin surveys many of the principal buildings in the "Paradise of Cities," and develops an aesthetic and intellectual argument that is still at the heart of the debate over the meaning of architecture and craftsmanship.
Ruskin wrote the work in order to apply to the architecture of Venice the general principles enunciated in his "The Seven Lamps of Architecture. In the first volume, he presents a short history of Venice and discusses the functional and ornamental aspects of architecture. In the second, he discusses the Byzantine period and the development of Venetian life in its brilliant Gothic period. The third volume contains Ruskin's trenchant examination of the spiritual and architectural decline of Venice during the Renaissance.