Tuesday, May 18
Good Proportion Does Not Cost Extra
Mr. Clayton has recently started his own blog, in addition to having taken on the role as sacred art correspondent for The New Liturgical Movement, where he has posted a number of very intelligent essays in the past few months. One particularly good piece deals with proportion not just in sacred art, but in secular architecture--even quite humble secular architecture. He makes the point that even in the most workmanlike public housing and factory projects our Victorian forefathers paid attention to proportion, scale and (in appropriately limited amounts) ornament. Good proportion, as Cram once said, doesn't cost any more than bad proportions. It may even cost you less as David's article points out, as it adds considerable intrinsic value to a project. (And not only is good proportion pleasing to the eye, I think it affects us at even a subconscious level. There's a reason we feel troubled in triangular rooms, or that wide, low spaces oppress us.)
The article cites Victorian English structures, but I can think of some absolutely gemlike little workers' townhouses, simply ornamented but with fine proportions and well-thought-out brickwork, that I once ran across in Brooklyn when I lived out in New York. While probably intended for those on the lower end of the scale, I suspect today only the very wealthy can afford to live there. It is sad that today even low-end craftsmanship from days past is light-years ahead of even the highest of our high-end work. (Which is a thought that leads to another question--what the large-scale societal effects might be, or have been, of such skilled blue-collar craft jobs being reduced, for no good or logical reason besides minimalist fashion, to obscure niches. But that is a subject for another discussion.)
Anyway, read the piece here, and check back for updates!