“Less is more” – Robert Browning
Origin of the quote:
“Less is More” is a phrase said by Andres Del Sarto to his wife Lucretia in Robert Browning’s poem written in 1855. Poem: Andrea Del Sarto” Robert Browning .
“Who strive – you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) – so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia.”
“Andrea Del Sarto” Robert Browning 1855
In the poem Andres Del Sarto’s wife Lucrezia is unfaithful. Sarto forgoes an important painting commission which could have been his major life work. Andrea Del Sarto was an actual person who lived 1486 – 1531. It is suggested that Lucrezia, Sarto’s wife in the poem, is possibly a reference to Browning’s wife who ws also called Lucrezia, and was also suspected of being unfaithful.
In Architecture the phrase is linked to the famous designer and architect Ludwig Van Der Rohe (1886 – 1969), considered to be one of the founding architects of modern style. He is known for the modern architecture of the early skyscraper. Van Der Rohe is quoted as using the term “less is more”, particularly in regard to modern architecture.