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John Ruskin

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Upper: Steel-plate engraving of Ruskin as a young man, made circa 1845?, scanned from print made circa 1895. Middle: Ruskin in middle-age, as Slade Professor of Art at Oxford (1869-1879). Scanned from 1879 book. Bottom: John Ruskin in old age, 1894, by photographer Frederick Hollyer. 1894 print. All public domain.

John Ruskin (February 8, 1819January 20, 1900) was an English author, poet and artist, although more famous for his work as art critic and social critic. Ruskin's thinking on art and architecture became the thinking of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Ruskin was born in London, and was brought up in south London. He was educated at the University of Oxford (Christ Church), where he was awarded a prize for poetry, his earliest interest. It was there that he met Turner. His Modern Painters series was responsible for the early popularity of the artist Joseph Mallord William Turner and the pre-Raphaelite movement.

He also worked with the artists Rossetti, Millais, Holman Hunt, John Brett, Burne-Jones and John William Inchbold. Millais would in due course marry Effie Gray, who had been unhappily married to Ruskin from 1848 until their marriage was annulled. Ruskin later fell deeply and tragically in love with Rose la Touche.

Ruskin taught first at the Working Men's College in London. Ruskin was the first Slade Professor of Art at Oxford, from 1869 to 1879. There he became friendly with Lewis Carroll and was photographed by him. After the parting of Carroll and Alice Liddell, she and her sisters pursued a similar relationship with John Ruskin, as detailed in Ruskin's Praeterita. Ruskin College, Oxford is named after him.

Upon the death of his father (who was a wealthy wine merchant), Ruskin declared that it was not possible to be a rich socialist and gave away most of his inheritance. He was friends with Sir Henry Acland. He founded the charity known as the Guild of St George in the 1870s and endowed it with large sums of money as well as a remarkable collection of art.

In 1878 he wrote a review of a painting by James Whistler in which he accused the painter of "throwing a pot of paint in the face of the public" that led to a famous libel case. Ruskin lost and his reputation was tarnished which may have accelerated his mental decline.

His later works influenced many Trade Union leaders of the Victorian era. He was also the inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Movement, the founding of the National Trust, the National Art Collections Fund and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

There are over 250 books he wrote in his collected works, on a huge variety of topics. He is well known for his essay on economy Unto This Last, the essay The Nature of Gothic, and the early fantasy novel The King of the Golden River.

A definitive two-volume biography by Tim Hilton appeared as John Ruskin: The Early Years (Yale University Press, 1985) and John Ruskin: The Later Years (Yale University Press, 2000).

Until 2005, biographies of both J. M. W. Turner and Ruskin had claimed that in 1858 Ruskin burned bundles of erotic paintings and drawings by Turner, in order to protect Turner's posthumous reputation. In 2005, these same works by Turner were discovered in a neglected British archive, proving that Ruskin did not destroy them.

The author Marcel Proust loved Ruskin's works and translated them into French. Mahatma Gandhi said that Ruskin had been the single greatest influence in his life.

Partial bibliography

  • Modern Painters (1843)
  • The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849)
  • Pre-Raphaelitism (1851)
  • The Stones of Venice (1853)
  • Architecture and Painting (1854)
  • Modern Painters III (1856)
  • Political Economy of Art (1857)
  • Modern Painters IV (1860)
  • Unto This Last (1862)
  • Essays on Political Economy (1862)
  • Sesame and Lilies (1865)
  • Time and Tide (1867)

External links

See also

es:John Ruskin eo:John RUSKIN fr:John Ruskin it:John Ruskin pl:John Ruskin pt:John Ruskin zh:约翰·拉斯金

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