Quotation by John Newenham Summerson

Architecture is a chained and fettered art. Far from being "frozen music," it is an art constantly attempting to realize in solid, stable form those effects which music is able to conjure up in an instant—effects which succeed each other rapidly during the progress of a musical work. Music can attain the colossal in a way which, in architecture, only the rarest opportunities render even remotely possible. Music can, in a few moments, admit us through vast portals into avenues, courts and halls of infinite extent and variety. Music can suddenly raise up an entire structure and, by the device of modulation, lift it on to a podium, abruptly recess its facades and turn them bodily into the sunshine. Music can etch silhouettes ten times more intricate than those of Dresden or London City, repeat them, increase or reduce them, hurl them into the distance or bring them before us in precise detail. Most of the essentials of architecture—mass, rhythm, texture, outline—are within music's power. Almost, the two arts are the same art, the one able to express nearly everything which the imagination is capable of conceiving, the other bound by the rigours of economy and use.
John Newenham Summerson (b. 1904), British architect, author. Heavenly Mansions and Other Essays on Architecture, ch. 5, AMS Press (1949).
Surprise me with a
The Columbia World of Quotations © 1996, Columbia University Press.
Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. Except as otherwise permitted by written agreement, the following are prohibited: copying substantial portions or the entirety of the work in machine readable form, making multiple printouts thereof, and other uses of the work inconsistent with U.S. and applicable foreign copyright and related laws.
Copyright ©  2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
About PRIVACY POLICY Terms Careers Advertise with Us Contact Us Suggest a Word Help