Venetian art, according to John Ruskin, flourishes or declines depending on the degree to which its residents respected their religious traditions.
Ruskin notes that the two most important temples were created through the efforts of Franciscan and Dominican monks. In Chapter 1, Ruskin admires the residents' emphasis on individual religion and its influence on business transactions and individual conduct.
Ruskin believes that buildings must be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and glorify God. He believes that architecture should not glorify or display the works of men but should highlight the works of nature and god. The author suggests that Venetian lack of adherence to its religious roots became evident in early fifteenth century arts during the Renaissance movement.
Venetian observance of religious values was deemed imperfect but admirable according to Ruskin.