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LECTURE I. THE DISCOVERY AND APPLICATION OF ART. A Lecture delivered at Manchester, July 10, 1857. 1. Among the various characteristics of the age in which we live, as compared with other ages of this not yet very experienced world, one of the most notable appears to me to be the just and wholesome contempt in which we hold poverty. I repeat, the just and wholesome contempt; though I see that some of my hearers look surprised at the... more...

Perhaps the most important part of Criticism is the fact that it presents to the creator a problem which is never solved. Criticism is to him a perpetual Presence: or perhaps a ghost which he will not succeed in laying. If he could satisfy his mind that Criticism was a certain thing: a good thing or a bad, a proper presence or an irrelevant, he could psychologically dispose of it. But he can not. For Criticism is a configuration of responses and... more...

Foreword This handbook is designed to furnish the information necessary for intelligent appreciation of the purely artistic features of the Exposition. It is planned first to explain the symbolism of the architecture, sculpture and painting; and second, to point out the special qualities that give each artistic unit its individual appeal. It is made for the intelligent observer who, having enjoyed the purely aesthetic impression of the various... more...

PREFACE. 1. I must pray the readers of the following Lectures to remember that the duty at present laid on me at Oxford is of an exceptionally complex character. Directly, it is to awaken the interest of my pupils in a study which they have hitherto found unattractive, and imagined to be useless; but more imperatively, it is to define the principles by which the study itself should be guided; and to vindicate their security against the doubts... 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...


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...

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...

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...

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...

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...