Source: Wikimedia Commons
Walter Benjamin writes of Heidelberg Castle in One Way Street: “Ruins jutting into the sky can appear doubly beautiful on clear days when, in their windows or above their contours, the gaze meets passing clouds. Through the transient spectacle it opens in the sky, destruction reaffirms the eternity of these fallen stones.”
One might compare the effect of the statues of the apostles, lining the façade of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. As I remember it, the vast blue sky renders them life-like, stepping out of time, with nothing to connect them to the modern city beneath. In contrast the ruined walls of Heidelberg and the passing clouds seen by Benjamin signal the presence of time, slow and fleeting.
Stone and sky: both statues and ruins are temporary transformations of stone, but the sky itself, ever-changing, represents the fullness of time.