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Detail of Biography - John James Ruskin
Name :
John James Ruskin
Date :
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Birth Date :
08/02/1819
Birth Place :
London
Death Date :
January 20, 1900
Biography - John James Ruskin
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Ruskin was born in a family that had elevated their status by sheer hard work. The Ruskins belonged to that strata of the Victorian society that did not play a significant role in the development of literature. They were aware of the fact that their social position was well defined. The Ruskins isolated themselves and lived a proud, religious and somewhat uncomfortable life.[br /]
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Mrs Ruskin did not allow her son to play with her sister’s children because their father was a barber. She also avoided visiting families belonging to the upper class because she dreaded the feeling of inferiority.[br /]
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Later in his life, Ruskin realized that his home environment was devoid of the sense of social mannerisms and good taste. In Praeterita Ruskin has written, "The reader must have felt that, though very respectable people in our own way, we were all of us definitely vulgar people, just as my aunt’s dog, Towzer…Said reader should have seen also that we had not set ourselves up to have a taste in anything. There was never any question of matching colors in furniture, or having the correct pattern in china."[br /]
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Ruskin felt that those who have had their upbringing in an environment resplendent with artistic objects, have satiated their yearning for art at a very tender age. In such an atmosphere art is perceived as an object of desire, rather than an urgent need. Such individuals who live in an environment surrounded by beauty in the form of art or architecture remain affected when they see beauty, or on the contrary they may become obsessed with beauty. When Ruskin realized this virtue of his upbringing he wrote, "great part of my acute perception and deep feeling of the beauty of architecture and scenery abroad was owing to the well formed habit of narrowing myself to happiness within the four brick walls of our 50 by 100 yards of garden; and accepting with resignation the aesthetic external surroundings of a London suburb."[br /]
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One of the chief traits of Ruskin was that he was an impressionist. Praeterita exemplifies his genius as an impressionist. Since his early childhood days Ruskin had formed the habit of staring at things and absorbing the impression of the object. He was interested in observing only those things, which were in close proximity to him or which were clearly visible, as he has written "I suppose this is so with children generally, but it remained – and remains – a part of my grown up temper."[br /]
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In Praeterita Ruskin has given a detailed account of all the impressions, which he felt were most rewarding. He loved to stare at a carpet with intricate and rich designs.[br /]
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He had written a passage for The Col de la Faucille wherein he reveals "an idiosyncrasy which extremely wise people do not share, my love of all sorts of filigree and embroidery, from hear to frost to high clouds."[br /]
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Ruskin’s autobiography reveals that he was a good draughtsman. Initially, he just emulated his father while he was drawing. When Ruskin imitated the drawings of others he was unusually skillful. Even when he was an undergraduate, Ruskin drew with great finesse. He later realized that while drawing the artist should not attempt to improvise on the form but should try to incorporate the exact form as it is. This was the turning point, which marked his genius as a draughtsman who finally evolved an original style of his own. But Ruskin was well acquainted with his abilities as well his defects. His drawing skills had some serious flaws – he could not create a design, he did not have a sense of design and he was too accustomed to paying attention to a particular detail. Ruskin’s inscape drawings, some of his most beautiful drawings were inspired by the drawings of Venice, Verona and Abbeville. His drawings testify the fact that the artist had a perfect blend of knowledge, love, sensibility and skill for drawing. Ruskin owed his drawing skills to his ability to analyze intensely. His perception was so clear that he could understand its true character.[br /]
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Ruskin’s autobiography gives an account of the various places that he had visited. He loved the beauty of Switzerland. In stark contrast to this he least preferred to visit Venice, the theme of one of his best writings on art criticism. Venice had inspired Turner and numerous painters of the Renaissance such as Tintoretto, Paul Veronese, Carpaccio and Bellini whom Ruskin admired. Despite this Venice was a city where dishonesty prevailed. If the porter of the school of St. Roch had not permitted him to see the Tintorettos Ruskin would have written The Stones of Chamouni instead of The Stones of Venice. Tintoretto compelled him to study Venetian history.[br /]
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Actually, Ruskin’s detestation for Venice had a few personal reasons as well. Venice brought Ruskin face to face with some quite disturbing social and economic problems. The conditions exhausted him to such an extent that he felt it difficult to study Venitian paintings. Soon his stay in Venice made him yearn for peace, health, order, security and beauty. This experience throws light on the fact that Ruskin was a very sensitive person.[br /]
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The chief virtues of Ruskin’s upbringing were peace, obedience and trust but unfortunately it was these very virtues which deprived him of emotions. He was a lonely child who did not have a social life. Moreover his life was devoid of warm and affectionate relationships and later this resulted in two serious side effects. The first has been described by Ruskin as "When affection did come it came with violence utterly rampant and unmanageable." The other effect was in the form of lack of affection for others as well as an absence of need for affection from anybody. Throughout his life his parents lavished their attention on him. Ruskin had regards for his parents, which he has expressed as, "though I had me rightly glowing affection for either father or mother, yet as they could not well do without me, so else I found that I was not altogether comfortable without them." He grew up to be such a confused person that he was surprised when people displayed their feelings for him. [br /]
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February 8, 1819 marked the day when a young couple in London, John James Ruskin and Margaret were blessed with a child who was christened John Ruskin. John James Ruskin was a self made man. All his father bequeathed him was a considerable amount of debt. The moral fiber of the senior Ruskin led him to shoulder the responsibility of paying off all the debts. He started his business as a sherry merchant, his sole capital being his industriousness. In due course of time his labor bore fruit and he bought a house in Hunter Street, Brunswick prospered and he could provide a decent living to his family.[br /]
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The only child of John James Ruskin and Margaret, was treated with a lot of care, restriction and love. The child passed most of his childhood days in solitude, his sole companions being books. When John was four, and as the sherry business grew, the Ruskins shifted from London to Herne Hill. At his house, John persistently studied Latin Grammar and the Psalms while his mother occupied herself in taking care of her garden. As years advanced John persuaded his study of literature more vigorously.[br /]
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He was educated at his mother’s discretion and his father never interrupted with her mode of teaching. After he had finished his studies for the day, John would spend some time in his garden. Mesmerized by the beauty of the sky, the trees and the birds, he felt very close to the Nature.[br /]
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But his childhood years witnessed a lot of restriction from his parents. He was never allowed to have desserts, and was allowed to have fruit only at occasions. John’s parents never invited any friends or guests to their place. Thus the little boy passed major part of his childhood in seclusion. His father returned home daily at 4:30 pm to have his food. His mother accompanied his father in the parlor where they would discuss out their daily experiences. But John was strictly prohibited from going to the parlor during four to six.[br /]
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In his unfinished autobiography Praeterita, Ruskin has enumerated and explained the virtues and demerits of his upbringing. The first virtue of his upbringing was peace. John never witnessed any form of violence either in speech or in action during his childhood. Secondly, he was obedient to his parents and trusted them. To him his parents’ word was the word of law. He always did what his parents asked him or expected him to do. He always trusted his parents as they always kept their promise and secondly because they never denied him the truth.[br /]
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Ruskin always regretted a few shortcomings of his upbringing. Firstly, he had no other company except his parents. Secondly, his parents overprotected him and he never experienced pain or danger of any kind. Thirdly, he was never given training in social etiquettes. He considered the last shortcoming, to be the worst mistake of his parents. Throughout his life he had been accustomed to follow his parents’ guidelines. Later in his life he had to suffer and pay the price for it, as he was incompetent in taking any independent action. Apart from these idiosyncrasies of his parents, John was always encouraged to study literature. His mother also taught him to read the Bible because she wanted him to become a Bishop.[br /]
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When he grew up he went to Oxford accompanied by his mother. John’s mother accompanied him not because she could not bear to be separated from her son or because she distrusted him. She had come to Oxford because she wanted to be with him, in case he met with an accident or if he fell ill. On numerous occasions, his mother’s watchfulness saved him from many dangerous illnesses.[br /]
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At Oxford, John made friends with Osborne Gordon, his college tutor. He also developed friendly relations with Dr Buckland, Mr Parker and Mr Charles Newton who later became his good friends and who were always ready to help him.[br /]
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John fixed and followed a disciplined routine during his days as Oxford. Early in the morning he would go to the Chapel. He had his breakfast at 9.00 am and till 1.00 in the noon he had his college lectures. At 2.00 am he returned to attend his lectures after lunch. When the day’s lectures were completed he would go to the dining hall where he would sometimes chat with some of his fellow-mates. At 7.00 in the evening he went to his mother’s residence at High Street to have tea. Thereafter the later hours of his day were dedicated to reading.[br /]
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Ruskin wrote many articles for the Architectural Magazine. His days at Oxford was the time when his writing skills developed. In 1939 after two unsuccessful attempts, Ruskin won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry. Later, he published the first volume of Modern Painters.[br /]
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Back from Oxford, Ruskin happened to meet Adele, a family friend and got infatuated to her. His parents disapproved of the match, and did not encourage the relationship.[br /]
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Mr Wardell was a good acquaintance of John James Ruskin and they had their offices in the same office building. Mr Wardell had a wife and a very beautiful daughter. He had a well-furnished house at Hampstead and provided his daughter with the best education.[br /]
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Ruskin’s father discussed about his son’s problem with Mr. Wardell who advised him to send Ruskin to Hampstead. Ruskin had a delightful time at Hampstead. On his return, when his parents inquired him about his feelings for Miss Wardell, Ruskin replied that though she was beautiful and accomplished, he did not perceive her in that manner. Miss Wardell died of fever. Ruskin never loved her, but he was filled with a deep sense of sorrow at her death.[br /]
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Ruskin’s upbringing had not prepared him for a marital life. He always seemed to be attracted towards some girl or the other. When he met the daughter of his father’s physician he felt most helplessly and strongly attracted towards her. Encouraged by her parents, Euphemia Gray took liking to Ruskin and the two got married in April 1847.[br /]
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Ruskin’s love was restricted to his imagination of fairy tale love stories. He was incapable of perceiving the difference between his dreams of a fairy like beloved and a living woman. All his dreams were shattered. He found it impossible to love her. He treated her in a manner that was selfish and lacked warmth.[br /]
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But Euphemia’s zest was not dampened by her unhappy marital experiences. She loved to have an active social life. Her discontent in staying home all day with Ruskin’s aged mother manifested itself through nervous headaches and other disorders.[br /]
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Ruskin bought a house in Park Street where his wife could have an active and glamorous social life. Euphemia enjoyed the company of the upper class but Ruskin detested it. He preferred to withdraw in his study room at Denmark Hill and almost neglected her.[br /]
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In those years, Ruskin penned down some literary gems. He wrote masterpieces like The Seven Lamps of Architecture and The Stones of Venice. Ruskin felt that through his writings he wanted to communicate an important message to the world. But to do so he "couldn’t bear being interrupted in anything he was about". So he started living an orderly and disciplined life, totally isolated from everything else. His parents were happy that their son had reverted to his old way of living. Simultaneously they were not concerned about Euphemia who carried herself through this phase in a dignified and sensible manner. Euphemia wanted Ruskin to live with her like a normal husband but Ruskin perceived it as an ‘interruption’. He started behaving with her rudely and so Euphemia left him. After the annulment of their marriage, Euphemia married John Everett Millais. During these years Ruskin wrote Unto This Last. He also came in contact with Rossetti, a Pre-Raphaelite poet and took up a job at the Working Men’s College. During this time Ruskin also happened to meet Rosa La Touche and fell in love with her. Enthralled by love, Ruskin later married her. Unfortunately, the marriage came to an end when Rosa died. In the following years Ruskin wrote books such as The Harbors of England, The Political Economy of Art, The Elements of Perspective and The Two Paths.[br /]
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The period from 1857 to 1870 marked the years when Ruskin penned down most of his critical works. He wrote criticisms on social life, politics, art and myths. He also wrote a few articles for the Fraser’s Magazine. His books on criticism chiefly entail Munerva Pulveris, Sesame and Lilies, The Growth of Wild Olive, The Ethics of the Dust, Time and Tide and The Queen of the Air.[br /]
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In 1869, Ruskin was appointed as a Slade Professor of Fine Arts at Oxford. By this time, Ruskin’s health had started deteriorating. He had such severe attacks of mental illness that he had to resign from his professorship. His mental illness increased with time. After sometime, when he felt well and he resumed his job as a professor at Oxford, where he gave lectures which were published as The Art of England. Ruskin started writing his autobiography Praeterita in 1885. The autobiography was later published in parts. Praeterita was left unfinished because his health continually aggravated. Finally on January 20, 1900 Ruskin died at his house at Brantwood.[br /]
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Ruskin was one of the greatest writers of England. His writings chiefly consist of criticism. After studying literature from quite an early age, Ruskin joined the Oxford University. He is chiefly famous for his criticisms which entail Modern Painters, The Seven Lamps of Architecture and The Stones of Venice. These books elevated his status as a critic and gained him immense popularity. Later he was elected the Slade Professor of Fine Arts at Oxford. His last work was Praeterita, an autobiography which remained unfinished because of his illness and consequent death in 1900.[br /]
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[b]February 8,1819[/b] John Ruskin was born in London[br /]
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[b]1836[/b] Went to study at Oxford.[br /]
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[b]1837[/b] Published articles, The Poetry of Architecture for the Architectural Magazine.[br /]
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[b]1839[/b] At Oxford, he won the Newdigate prize for poetry.[br /]
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[b]1841[/b] Wrote The King of the Golden River.[br /]
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[b]1843[/b] Published the first volume of Modern Painters.[br /]
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[b]1846[/b] Published the second volume of Modern Painters.[br /]
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[b]1848[/b] Married Euphemia Chalmers Gray.[br /]
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[b]1849[/b] Published The Seven Lamps of Architecture.[br /]
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[b]1850[/b] Published Collected Poems and The King of the Golden River.[br /]
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[b]1851[/b] Published the first volume of The Stones of Venice.[br /]
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[b]1853[/b] Published second and third volumes of The Stones of Venice.[br /]
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[b]1854[/b] Ruskin and Euphemia got divorced.[br /]

Worked as a lecturer of art at The Working Men’s College.[br /]
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[b]1856[/b] The third and fourth volumes of Modern Painters were published.[br /]
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[b]1857[/b] Published The Elements of Drawing and The Political Economy of Art.[br /]
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[b]1858[/b] Met Rose La Touche.[br /]
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[b]1860[/b] Published the last volume of Modern Painters.[br /]
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[b]1862[/b] Published ‘Essays on Political Economy’ and Unto This Last.[br /]
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[b]1864[/b] Death of Ruskin’s father.[br /]
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[b]1865[/b] Published Sesame and Lilies.[br /]
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[b]1866[/b] Published The Crown of the Wild Olive and The Ethics of the Dust.[br /]

Married Rose.[br /]
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[b]1867[/b] Published Time and Tide.[br /]
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[b]1869[/b] Published The Queen of the Air.[br /]
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[b]1871[/b] Joined Oxford as a professor.[br /]
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[b]1875[/b] Death of Rose.[br /]
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[b]1878[/b] Established the Guild of St. George.[br /]
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[b]1879[/b] Resigned his job at Oxford.[br /]
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[b]1880[/b] Published A Joy For Ever.[br /]
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[b]1884[/b] Published The Pleasures of England and The Art of England.[br /]

Published his autobiography Praeterita.[br /]
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[b]1900[/b] Died due to influenza.[br /]
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[b]Praeterita[/b][br /]
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Most of Ruskin’s writings have a didactic tone intended to communicate a message to the reader. His autobiography, Praeterita is the sole work which is supposed to give pleasure to the reader. In this book Ruskin has given an account of only those memories which were pleasant and happy. Praeterita is written with great ease and candor. In fact, referring to this point Ruskin told Kate Greenaway (an English artist) that it was "much easier and simpler to say things face to face like that, than as an author".[br /]
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His contemporary world was well acquainted with the fact that Ruskin suffered from fits of insanity. This gave them reason to reject the opinions and ideas he had communicated through his writings. In a letter that he wrote to his publisher, Ruskin said, "Whenever I say anything they don’t like, they all immediately declare. I must be out of my mind; (so) the game has to be played neatly." Ruskin resolved to prove that he was not insane so he wrote in a very simple manner though he found this form of writing quite detestable.[br /]
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Ruskin was eloquent since a very young age. When he was 13, he wrote a letter to his father. "My dear Papa, I would write a short, pithy, laconic, sensible, concentrated, and serious letter if I could, for I have scarcely time to write a long one. Observe I say only ‘to write’, for as to composition, ‘tis nothing, positively nothing, I roll on like a ball, with this exception, that contrary to the usual laws of motion I have no friction to contend with in my mind and of course have some difficulty in stopping."[br /]
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As the years advanced, Ruskin gained more eloquence. Curiously, in Praeterita though he mentions that his writings were successful, he never mentioned that he owed his eloquence to his perfect command over language.[br /]
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The period around 1860’s saw Ruskin mature from an art critic to a critic of the society. Thereafter he started writing in a rich, elaborate style. The rich descriptions of the portraits of the Pans at Christ Church suggest that Praeterita is a work of art. It is an evidence of Ruskin’s accomplishment as a craftsman. Ruskin says that his literary work was above "as quietly and methodically as a piece of tapestry. I knew exactly, what I had got to say, put the words firmly in their places like so many stitches, hemmed the edges of chapters round with what seemed to me graceful flourishes, touched them finally with my cunningest points of color, and read the work to Papa and Mama at breakfast next morning, as a girl shows her sampler."[br /]
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[b]Modern Painters[/b][br /]
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Modern Painters is one of the earlier works of Ruskin. The first volume of Modern Painters gives us a brief idea about Ruskin’s reviews on power, imitation, truth, beauty and art. Here Ruskin has supported Turner, a famous painter of the Victorian age whose paintings were reviewed as ‘unlike nature’. Ruskin defended Turner by saying, "by thorough investigation of actual facts, that Turner is like nature, and paints more of nature than any man who ever lived". Ruskin has also discussed about the range and accuracy of Turner’s paintings of plants, trees, sky, earth and water. Ruskin has described in this book that the modern painter has a better knowledge of facts compared to the painters of the past generations. Modern Painters throws light on the fact that Ruskin had a keen eye for art and a perceptive mind that could understand the richness of nature.[br /]
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In the second volume of Modern Painters Ruskin has delineated his theories of imagination and theophanic beauty. In this book Ruskin has explained beauty and its significance in human life. He explains that beauty "is either the record of conscience, written in things external, or it is symbolizing of Divine attributes in matter, or it is the felicity of living things, or the perfect fulfillment of their duties and junctions. In all cases it is something Divine". All forms of beauty reflect God. Reflecting on an object of beauty is considered similar to reading the Bible – it is an act, moral and religions in nature.[br /]
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Ruskin’s theories on beauty have acquired a neo-classical as well as romantic flavor. For instance, his theory on Typical (or symbolic) beauty has a Neo-classical shade that says that beauty is created by unity of variety, symmetry and proportion. Ruskin’s theory of vital beauty includes the beauty of human beings or animals (beauty common to living organisms). It has stresses the feelings of the observer who contemplates on a thing of beauty. Ruskin’s notion of vital beauty was inspired by the Romantic poets, especially Wordsworth, and those philosophers whose ideas paved the way for Romanticism like Adam Smith, David Hume and Dugald Stewart. Thus Ruskin’s views on aesthetics are a blend of the Neo-classical, Romantic and Christian views of man and the world.[br /]
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The third volume of Modern Painters could be considered as the richest of five volumes. This volume suggests a Romantic theory of painting and it deals with many features of Romanticism, including the nature of the artist, the significance of external nature and the importance of imagination, emotion and detail in art. He has defined the nature of great art and explains that he segregates art into two parts, "the art of Christian times into two great masses, symbolic and imitative".[br /]
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Further, Ruskin contemplates on the greatness of art. He defies Reynold’s Neo-classical theory, which says that an artistic style emerges by imitating the beauty of nature. [br /]
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Ruskin does not follow the Neo-classical or Romantic rules strictly.[br /]
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He suggests that creating art is a reflection of the artist as it is based on four aspects – noble subject (something that the artist loves naturally), love for beauty, sincerity and imagination.[br /]
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In this volume, Ruskin has also discussed about landscape painting and its origins. He begins by explaining the classical, medieval and modern attitudes towards nature. He further explains that landscape painting is a modern development, which entails a "romantic love of beauty, forced to seek in history, and in external nature, the satisfaction it cannot find in ordinary life".[br /]
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In the fourth volume of Modern Painters Ruskin has discussed about Turner’s picturesque paintings and landscape paintings in general. He suggests that picturesque paintings are vital for the growth of landscape paintings. He has also described the geology of the mountains. He ends the volume by writing about the impact that the mountain environment has on the lives of human beings.[br /]
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The fifth volume opens with a discussion of nature’s beauty. In this volume Ruskin has defined composition – "Composition may be best defined as the help of everything in the picture by everything else". He hails help as the "highest and first law of the universe – and the other name of life is, therefore, help". Thus composition could be defined as an interrelation between the different aspects of art.[br /]
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Modern Painters portrays Ruskin’s interest in the relation that exists between art and life. In ‘Invention Spiritual’ (a section of Modern Painters) his focus shifts from the problems of art to those of the society. He believes that one of the ill effects of Reformation was that art reflected lack of human hope. He explains that after the Reformation when men lost hope in after-life they also lost their peace of mind. To explain this, Ruskin has given the examples of four pairs of important artists whose paintings reflect lack of hope, Salvator and Durer, Claude and Poussin, Wowerman and Fra Angelicre and Giorgione and Turner. Ruskin was particularly concerned with Turner. He described how the external environment molded Turner’s mind. He wrote a detailed chapter on two paintings of Turner that reflects his faith in England. The two paintings – Apollo and Python and The Garden of the Hesperides describe Turner’s inclination towards the destruction of beauty and his lost hope. Turner’s despair reflects the society and the phase it was passing through i.e. distrust in God. [br /]
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[b]The Seven Lamps of Architecture[/b][br /]
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The Seven Lamps of Architecture has an evangelical shade. In this book Ruskin suggests that beauty and design "are not beautiful because they are copied from nature; only it is art of the power of man to conceive beauty without her aid". With the help of the Book of Leviticus, Ruskin tried to explain that God wanted man to enjoy his time, energy and money in the form of the architectural works of the church. He also wanted the architecture laborers to have the position, independence and pleasures that were enjoyed by the artists of the Romantic age. With reference to the importance of architecture, Ruskin has written, "the right question to ask, respecting all ornament, is simply this, was it done with enjoyment, was the carver happy while he was about it ?" This aspect has a lot of influence on the art and design of the 20th century as they have molded our cities, houses, furnishings and the other objects with which we come in contact.[br /]
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Ruskin believed that architecture is an asset that is bequeathed from one generation to the other. Secondly he also felt that architecture represents the society. Thus he tried to persuade his readers to build sound architectural structures so that they can be passed on to the future generations. He protested against demolishing old buildings. Ruskin believed that the contemporary generation was the trustee and not the owner of the art that they have inherited.[br /]
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[b]The Stones of Venice[/b][br /]
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The Stones of Venice depicts Ruskin’s views on architecture and cultural history, on Gothic Architecture and gives details of the architectural construction with reference to the social, political, moral and religious context. Ruskin has paid special attention to Venice because the "arts of Venice" give us an evidence "that the decline of her political prosperity was exactly coincident with that domestic and individual religion". Ruskin wants to convey this message to his Victorian readers through this book. Thus the first volume of The Stones of Venice begin with this message.[br /]
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"Since first…three thrones, of mark beyond all others, have been set upon its sands, the thrones of Tyre, Venice and England. Of the first of these great powers only the memory remains; of the second, the ruin, the third, which inherits their greatness, if it forget their example, may be led through prouder eminence to less pitied destruction…I would endeavor to…record…the warning…that beat like passing bells, against the stones of Venice."[br /]
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The 30 volumes of The Stones of Venice deal with Ruskin’s theories on architecture and construction. Different chapters are allocated to different parts of a structure for instance the wall, the roof, etc. Ruskin believed that the shift in the city’s architectural preference from Gothic style to that of Renaissance works the spiritual decline of the Venitians. To delineate it, Ruskin has used two chapters i.e. The Sea Stones and The Fall. In this he has also discussed the two main buildings of Venice – St Mark’s Building and the Ducal Palace.[br /]
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One of the most important chapters of The Stones of Venice is ‘The Nature of Gothic’. This chapter, included in the second volume passes the judgement that Gothic architecture was superior compared to the Renaissance style as the moral fiber of the society resulted in better architecture. On the other hand, Renaissance style enslaved the laborers. Ruskin’s arguments on architectural style criticizes the class system and its ill-effects. The chief focus of The Stones of Venice is the dehumanizing conditions of modern work. He strongly opposed all aspects of Renaissance to such an extent that he persuaded his readers to refrain from buying anything that was inspired by Renaissance, for example glass beads. At this juncture the art critic and the social critic in Ruskin merge when he said that his readers do not have "the idea of reading a building as we would read Milton or Dante, and getting the same kind of delight out of the stones as out of the stanzas". A society, in which the workers were delegated dehumanizing work, suffers because the architectural structures of such a society harmed the populace by depriving them of imaginations and sensibility, which were the very essence of a healthy, happy and a complete life.[br /]
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[b]Unto This Last[/b][br /]
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Ruskin’s Unto This Last is a criticism on the economic system that was responsible for the unharmonious relations between men in the society. The first four chapters of Unto This Last were first printed as articles in the Cornhill magazine in 1860. These ideas of Ruskin are also portrayed in Munera Pulneris (1862-63), The Crown of Wild Olive (1866), Time and Tide (1867) and Fors Clavigera (1871-84). The Victorian readers felt that Ruskin’s views were too outrageous. At the present his political ideas such as communal responsibility, dignity of labor, and the standard of living have a positive influence on the society.[br /]
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In the opening pages of Unto This Last Ruskin has defied the experts of social and economic issues and also their ideas. The economists generally believed that human beings live in an environment of scarcity. But Ruskin felt that the economy could be revamped by an improvised system of production and distribution. Thus he disregarded the assumptions of Malthus, Picardo, Mill and other economists. In Unto This Last Ruskin has written, "the real science of political economy, which has yet to be distinguished from the…science, as medicine from witchcraft, and astronomy and astrology, is that which teaches nations the desire and labor for the things that lead to life : and which teaches them to scorn and destroy the things that lead to destruction".[br /]
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[b]•[/b] When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] No great intellectual thing was ever done by great effort.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] A great thing can only be done by a great person; and they do it without effort.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] What distinguishes a great artist from a weak one is first their sensibility and tenderness; second their imagination, and third, their industry.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] They are the weakest-minded and the hardest-hearted men that most love change.[br /]


Tell me what you like and I’ll tell you what you are.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The first condition of education is being able to put someone to wholesome and meaningful work.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The imagination is never governed, it is always the ruling and divine power.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The secret of language is the secret of sympathy and its full charm is possible only to the gentle.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] It is not how much one makes but to what purpose one spends.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscriwpts – the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Punishment is the best and least effective instrument in the hands of the legislator for the prevention of crime.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Nothing is ever done beautifully which is done in rivalry and : or nobly, which is done in pride.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] Success by the laws of competition signifies a victory over others by obtaining the direction and profits of their work. This is the real source of all riches.[br /]
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[b]•[/b] The common practice of keeping up appearances with society is a mere selfish struggle of the rain with the vain.[br /]
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Comments - John James Ruskin