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CHAPTER I THE DRAMATIC CRITIC   His Qualifications The production of a play in the Russian tongue renders topical a phrase once used, not unhappily, by Mr Cecil Raleigh concerning the qualifications of the dramatic critic. After listening to a somewhat extravagant speech about the duties of the critic, he said that the dramatic critic ought, apparently, to be a "polyglot archangel." During the last few years we have had plays in Russian,... more...

THE NATIONAL GALLERY SITE COMMISSION. Evidence of John Ruskin, Monday, April 6, 1857. 114. Chairman. Has your attention been turned to the desirableness of uniting sculpture with painting under the same roof?—Yes. What is your opinion on the subject?—I think it almost essential that they should be united, if a National Gallery is to be of service in teaching the course of art. Sculpture of all kinds, or only ancient... more...

CHAPTER I. ARCHITECTURE--CIVIL AND MILITARY. Archaeologists, when visiting Egypt, have so concentrated their attention upon temples and tombs, that not one has devoted himself to a careful examination of the existing remains of private dwellings and military buildings. Few countries, nevertheless, have preserved so many relics of their ancient civil architecture. Setting aside towns of Roman or Byzantine date, such as are found almost intact at... more...

PREFACE TO THE EDITION OF 1887. The following lectures were the most important piece of my literary work done with unabated power, best motive, and happiest concurrence of circumstance. They were written and delivered while my mother yet lived, and had vividest sympathy in all I was attempting;—while also my friends put unbroken trust in me, and the course of study I had followed seemed to fit me for the acceptance of noble tasks and... more...

How the PianoCame To Be   From the dried sinews stretched across the shell of a dead tortoise to the concert-grand piano of the present day is a far flight. Yet to this primitive source, it is said, may be traced the evolution of the stringed instrument which reached its culmination in the piano. The latter has been aptly called "the household orchestra," and in tracing its origin one must go far back into the annals of the past. If we... more...


INTRODUCTION It is hardly necessary to apologise for the miscellaneous character of the following collection of essays.  Samuel Butler was a man of such unusual versatility, and his interests were so many and so various that his literary remains were bound to cover a wide field.  Nevertheless it will be found that several of the subjects to which he devoted much time and labour are not represented in these pages.  I have not... more...

ESSAYS ON ART "The Adoration of the Magi" There is one beauty of nature and another of art, and many attempts have been made to explain the difference between them. Signor Croce's theory, now much in favour, is that nature provides only the raw material for art. The beginning of the artistic process is the perception of beauty in nature; but an artist does not see beauty as he sees a cow. It is his own mind that imposes on the chaos of nature... more...

APOLOGIA PRO LIBELLO: IN A LETTER TO A FRIEND Although you know your Italy well, you ask me, who see her now for the first time, to tell you how I find her; how she sinks into me; wherein she fulfils, and wherein fails to fulfil, certain dreams and fancies of mine (old amusements of yours) about her. Here, truly, you show yourself the diligent collector of human documents your friends have always believed you; for I think it can only be appetite... more...

INTRODUCTION Whatever its outward expression, human thought remains essentially unchanged and, throughout all of its manifestations, is fundamentally the same. Varying phases are but accidents and underneath the divers wrappings of historic periods or different civilizations, the heart as well as the mind of man has been moved by the same desires. Art possesses a unity like that of nature. It is profound and stirring, precisely because it... more...

ARTIST AND PUBLIC In the history of art, as in the history of politics and in the history of economics, our modern epoch is marked off from all preceding epochs by one great event, the French Revolution. Fragonard, who survived that Revolution to lose himself in a new and strange world, is the last at the old masters; David, some sixteen years his junior, is the first of the moderns. Now if we look for the most fundamental distinction between... more...