John Ruskin quotes

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John Ruskin

Birthdate: 8. February 1819
Date of death: 20. January 1900
Other names: Джон Рескин

John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy. His writing styles and literary forms were equally varied. Ruskin also penned essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale. The elaborate style that characterised his earliest writing on art was later superseded by a preference for plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. In all of his writing, he emphasised the connections between nature, art and society. He also made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, and architectural structures and ornamentation.

He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century, and up to the First World War. After a period of relative decline, his reputation has steadily improved since the 1960s with the publication of numerous academic studies of his work. Today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft.

Ruskin first came to widespread attention with the first volume of Modern Painters , an extended essay in defence of the work of J. M. W. Turner in which he argued that the principal role of the artist is "truth to nature". From the 1850s he championed the Pre-Raphaelites who were influenced by his ideas. His work increasingly focused on social and political issues. Unto This Last marked the shift in emphasis. In 1869, Ruskin became the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, where he established the Ruskin School of Drawing. In 1871, he began his monthly "letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain", published under the title Fors Clavigera . In the course of this complex and deeply personal work, he developed the principles underlying his ideal society. As a result, he founded the Guild of St George, an organisation that endures today.

Works

Modern Painters
Modern Painters
John Ruskin
Unto This Last
Unto This Last
John Ruskin

„God is a kind Father. He sets us all in the place where He wishes us to be employed; and that employment is truly "our Father's business."“

—  John Ruskin

He chooses work for every creature which will be delightful to them, if they do it simply and humbly. He gives us always strength enough, and sense enough, for what He wants us to do; if we either tire ourselves, or puzzle ourselves, it is our own fault. And we may always be sure, whatever we are doing, that we cannot be pleasing Him, if we are not happy ourselves.

P. 123
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

„He who has the truth at his heart need never fear the want of persuasion on his tongue.“

—  John Ruskin, book The Stones of Venice

Volume III, chapter II, section 99.
The Stones of Venice (1853)
Source: The Stones of Venice: Volume I. The Foundations

„The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.“

—  John Ruskin, book The Stones of Venice

Volume II, chapter V, section 30.
Source: The Stones of Venice (1853)

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„A book worth reading is worth owning.“

—  John Ruskin

Variant: If a book is worth reading, it is worth buying.

„The entire vitality of art depends upon its being either full of truth, or full of use“

—  John Ruskin

Lecture IV
Lectures on Art (1870)
Context: The entire vitality of art depends upon its being either full of truth, or full of use; and that, however pleasant, wonderful, or impressive it may be in itself, it must yet be of inferior kind, and tend to deeper inferiority, unless it has clearly one of these main objects, — either to state a true thing, or to adorn a serviceable one.

„When men are rightly occupied, their amusement grows out of their work“

—  John Ruskin

Sesame and Lilies.
Context: When men are rightly occupied, their amusement grows out of their work, as the colour-petals out of a fruitful flower;—when they are faithfully helpful and compassionate, all their emotions become steady, deep, perpetual, and vivifying to the soul as the natural pulse to the body. But now, having no true business, we pour our whole masculine energy into the false business of money-making; and having no true emotion, we must have false emotions dressed up for us to play with, not innocently, as children with dolls, but guiltily and darkly.

„We shall be remembered in history as the most cruel, and therefore the most unwise, generation of men that ever yet troubled the earth: — the most cruel in proportion to their sensibility, — the most unwise in proportion to their science.“

—  John Ruskin

Lecture II, section 35.
The Eagle's Nest (1872)
Context: We shall be remembered in history as the most cruel, and therefore the most unwise, generation of men that ever yet troubled the earth: — the most cruel in proportion to their sensibility, — the most unwise in proportion to their science. No people, understanding pain, ever inflicted so much: no people, understanding facts, ever acted on them so little.

„You must either make a tool of the creature, or a man of him.“

—  John Ruskin, book The Stones of Venice

Volume II, chapter VI, section 12.
The Stones of Venice (1853)
Context: You must either make a tool of the creature, or a man of him. You cannot make both. Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools, to be precise and perfect in all their actions. If you will have that precision out of them, and make their fingers measure degrees like cog-wheels, and their arms strike curves like compasses, you must unhumanize them. All the energy of their spirits must be given to make cogs and compasses of themselves…. On the other hand, if you will make a man of the working creature, you cannot make him a tool. Let him but begin to imagine, to think, to try to do anything worth doing; and the engine-turned precision is lost at once. Out come all his roughness, all his dulness, all his incapability; shame upon shame, failure upon failure, pause after pause: but out comes the whole majesty of him also; and we know the height of it only when we see the clouds settling upon him.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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