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Related: folly - architecture - building

Ruins in art: Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Castle Montearagon, Spain
image sourced here., more images from that site.

Capriccio with the Colosseum (1743-44) - B. Bellotto


Ruins are the remains of a piece of man-made architecture. The term is used to describe a structure that was at one time complete but has fallen into a state of disrepair over time due to the action of weathering and lack of maintenance. There are basic types of ruins that can be found in the world. Historical ruins, like those found at Rome and Athens, have been unearthed through the work of archaeologists. Modern ruins, such as abandoned buildings in large metropolitan areas, are discovered by urban exploration.

In Christian iconography, the Nativity of Christ has often been depicted in a setting of grand ruins, symbolising the new Temple (the body of Christ) that rises on the site of the old.

Popular adventure films, such as the Indiana Jones trilogy or the Mummy films, rely on ancient relics and artifacts found in ruins. The idea of the ruin has become prominent in popular culture as a device with which to add suspense and in many cases horror.

Architectural follies were sometimes built as intentional ruins.

In the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer designed buildings calculated to have a high "ruin value" for posterity. These buildings were never built, but perhaps ironically some of the most recent and understated modern ruins (ruined through passage of time rather than intentional destruction) are the uncompleted autobahn motorways built by the Nazis that litter the German countryside. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruin [Jan 2006]

Gothic architecture and ruins

In a way similar to the Gothic revivalists' rejection of the clarity and rationalism of the neoclassical style of the Enlightened Establishment, the Gothic became linked with an appreciation of the joys of extreme emotion, the thrill of fearfulness and awe inherent in the sublime and a quest for atmosphere. The ruins of gothic buildings gave rise to multiple linked emotions by instancing the inevitable decay and collapse of human creations, thus the urge to add fake ruins as eyecatchers in English landscape parks. English Protestants were inclined to associate medieval buildings with a dark and terrifying period, envisioning the Roman Catholic Church oppressing people with harsh laws, torture and superstitious rituals. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_novel#Origins_of_the_gothic_novel [Jun 2005]

see also: gothic - castle - architecture

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