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The Order of Ornament, The Structure of Style
Theoretical Foundations of Modern Art and Architecture

  • Date Published: February 2003
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print May 2005
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521791144

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  • The Order of Ornament, the Structure of Style examines the emergence of modernism in Central European art, architecture and design, and its relationship to late nineteenth-century theories of style advanced by John Ruskin, Owen Jones, Gottfried Semper, and Alois Riegl. In addition to basing their investigations of artistic development on works produced in all periods and cultures, these theorists looked to natural science and linguistic studies for models with which to order their studies. They suggested to artists and architects that ornamental motifs and compositions from remote cultures and periods could furnish the means to create rational designs, express creative processes, and produce new perceptual possibilities for both the constructed facade and the painted surface. Debra Schafter's study thus positions nineteenth-century visual aesthetics within a broader intellectual context that is philosophical and scientific, while contributing to a new understanding of the origins of modernism outside of the premiere centers often associated with the Modern movement.

    • Presents the conceptual context in which nineteenth-century theories of style were framed
    • Positions nineteenth-century visual aesthetics within broader intellectual currents
    • Contributes to a new understanding of the emergence of modernism in Central Europe
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Shafter illustrates her ideas with some well-chosen examples, particularly from the work of Klimt and Otto Wagner … there is no doubt that The Order of Ornament marks the debut of a thoughtful and capable historian.' Architectural Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2003
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521791144
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 255 x 181 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.837kg
    • contains: 87 b/w illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print May 2005
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Cultural context: Vienna at the crossroads
    2. The order of ornament in nineteenth-century theories of style
    John Ruskin and the representation of divine order
    Owen Jones and natural structure
    Gottfried Semper and evidence of function
    Alois Riegl and the psychological disposition
    3. Ornament of language
    The language of architecture
    Ornament as emblem
    The formal sign
    Symbolizing the creative process
    The perceptual signifier
    4. Visual evidence
    The emblematic
    Structural signs
    Functional symbols
    Perceptual stimuli
    Palais stoclet as Gesamtkunstwerk
    5. Conclusion
    Consequences
    The subsequent impact.

  • Author

    Debra Schafter, San Antonio College

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