It is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture. That which I have insisted upon as the life of the whole, that spirit which is given only by the hand and eye of the workman, can never be recalled.

John Ruskin


The Quote in Other Words

Restoring anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture is as impossible as raising the dead. The essence of the entire structure, which is brought to life only by the skill and vision of the craftsman, cannot be revived.


Explanation of the Quote

This quote speaks to the idea that once something great or beautiful in architecture has been lost, it cannot be fully restored. The author argues that the spirit of the workman, which is essential to creating truly exceptional architecture, cannot be replicated or brought back once it has been lost. This is a powerful statement about the importance of craftsmanship and the human touch in creating lasting works of art.

While it may be possible to recreate the physical structure of a building, the intangible qualities that make it truly great cannot be replicated. This is because the spirit of the workman is not just about technical skill, but also about passion, creativity, and a deep understanding of the materials and techniques used in construction. Without this spirit, even the most technically proficient building will lack the soul and character that make it truly exceptional.

Ultimately, this quote reminds us of the importance of valuing and preserving the work of skilled craftsmen and women, and of recognizing the unique qualities that make great architecture truly special. It is a call to honor the human element in architecture, and to strive to create works of lasting beauty and significance.