Quotations From JOHN RUSKIN


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  • Human work must be done honourably and thoroughly, because we are now Men;Mwhether we ever expect to be angels, or were ever slugs, being practically no matter.
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. Fors Claveriga, letter 76 (1877).

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  • There are no such things as Flowers—there are only gladdened Leaves.
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. Fors Claveriga, letter 5 (1871).
  • I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face.
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. Letter, June 18, 1877. Fors Clavigera (1871-1884). Referring to Whistler's Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, Oscar Wilde commented that the painting was "worth looking at for about as long as one looks at a real rocket, that is, for somewhat less than a quarter of a minute." Whistler took more seriously Ruskin's remarks which he made the subject of a law-suit. See Whistler on value.
  • The first duty of government is to see that people have food, fuel, and clothes. The second, that they have means of moral and intellectual education.
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. Fors Claveriga, letter 67 (1876).

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  • Give a little love to a child, and you get a great deal back.
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British writer.

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  • Men don't and can't live by exchanging articles, but by producing them. They don't live by trade, but by work. Give up that foolish and vain title of Trades Unions; and take that of Labourers' Unions.
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. open letter, Aug. 31, 1880, to the Trades Unions of England. published in Fors Clavigera, vol. 8 (Sept. 29, 1880).

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  • Your honesty is not to be based either on religion or policy. Both your religion and policy must be based on it. Your honesty must be based, as the sun is, in vacant heaven; poised, as the lights in the firmament, which have rule over the day and over the night.
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. Time and Tide, letter 8 (1867).

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  • How long most people would look at the best book before they would give the price of a large turbot for it?
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. repr. in The Works of John Ruskin, vol. 18, eds. E.T. Cook and Alexander Weddesburn (1905). Sesame and Lilies, lecture 1, sct. 32 (1865).

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  • You might sooner get lightning out of incense smoke than true action or passion out of your modern English religion.
    John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. Sesame and Lilies, lecture 1 (1865).

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  • 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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