John Ruskin

(1819-1900 / England)

John Ruskin
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John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was an English art critic and social thinker, also remembered as a poet and artist. His essays on art and architecture were extremely influential in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Ruskin first came to widespread attention for his support for the work of J. M. W. Turner and his defence of naturalism in art. He subsequently put his weight behind the Pre-Raphaelite movement. His later writings turned increasingly to complex and personal explorations of the interconnection of cultural, social and moral issues, and were influential on the development of Christian socialism. more »

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  • In health of mind and body, men should see with their own eyes, hear and speak without trumpets, walk on their feet, not on wheels, and work and war with their arms, not with engine-beams, nor rifles ...
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. quoted in Ruskin Today, sct. 65, ed. Kenneth Clark (1964). Praeterita, vol. 2, sct. 200 (1855-185...
  • It is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture. That which I have ... insisted upon as the life of the whole, that spir...
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. quoted in E.P. Thompson, William Morris, pt. 2, ch. 7 (1955).
  • Of all the things that oppress me, this sense of the evil working of nature herself—my disgust at her barbarity—clumsiness—darkness—bitter mockery of herself—is the most desol...
    John Ruskin (1819-F1900), British art critic, author. Letter, April 3, 1871. quoted in Ruskin Today, sct. 115, ed. Kenneth Clark (1964).
  • Men are more evanescent than pictures, yet one sorrows for lost friends, and pictures are my friends. I have none others. I am never long enough with men to attach myself to them; and whatever feeling...
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. letter, Jan. 28, 1852, to his father. quoted in Ruskin Today, sct. 36, ed. Kenneth Clark (1964).
  • ''Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books.''
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. Sesame and Lilies, preface (1865).
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