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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  • 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).
  • ''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). Sesam...
  • ''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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Best Poem of John Ruskin

The Hills Of Carrara

Amidst a vale of springing leaves
Where spreads the vine its wandering root
And cumbrous fall the autumnal sheaves
And olives shed their sable fruit,
And gentle winds, and waters never mute,
Make of young boughs and pebbles pure
One universal lute.
And bright birds, through the myrtle copse obscure,
Pierce with quick notes, and plumage dipped in dew,
The silence and the shade of each lulled avenue.


Far in the depths of voiceless skies
Where calm and cold the stars are strewed,
The peaks of pale Carrara rise.
Nor sound of ...

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