Yes, I have a lifelong attraction to the ‘timeless’, namely, things which retain our admiration or affection over centuries or millennia, due to an ineffable quality of not becoming dated, even if firmly rooted in a given time.

Zbigniew Herbert has apparently teased out one element of this quality, at least in terms of ancient Greek buildings.  It’s mathematical.  And I love his simile for how mathematical precision allows this architecture to sail right over the peaks and troughs of fashion.  

The beauty of classical architecture can be expressed in numerical proportion.  Greek temples live under the golden sun of geometry.  Mathematical precision transports these works like ships over the fluctuations of time and taste. 

Source: Zbigniew Herbert, Barbarian in the Garden, trans. Michael March & Jaroslaw Anders (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1985), p. 27

Photo credit: Eli Francis at pixabay


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