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John Ruskin

1819-1900 England/Art Critic-Writer


Brief Biography-John Ruskin, born in London in 1819, was the most renowned British art critic of the nineteenth century. He was a profound advocate of Joseph Mallord William Turner. He praised his career in what he entitled Modern Painters: their superiority in the art of landscape painting to all the ancient masters proved by examples of the true, the beautiful and the intellectual from the works of modern artists, especially from those of J.M.W. Turner. Ruskin was also favourable to the Pre-Raphaelites, who took inspiration from his writings.
In 1878, James Abbot McNeill Whistler sued Ruskin for a scathing attack on his Nocturne in Black and Gold. The picture was on view at London’s Grosvenor Gallery, which sent Ruskin into a rage. Whistler won the case but only received one farthing damages. Nevertheless, the issue gained him notoriety in London, and Whistler published a pamphlet condemning critics before leaving London for Venice.
Ruskin married Effie Gray in 1848; the marriage was catastrophic and annulled in 1854. There are numerous accounts as to why the marriage failed. Gray married John Everett Millais afterwards, with whom she had eight children.
Ruskin was also a draughtsman, drawing teacher, and Slade Professor of Art at Oxford University from 1869 to 1884. In addition, he wrote books on architecture, notably The Seven Lamps of Architecture and Stones of Venice. Ruskin wrote on many subjects, including politics, social issues, mineralogy, and religion, linking art to almost every subject. He illustrated his books with his drawings, particularly those on architecture. He lectured in many cities, including Edinburgh and Dublin. The stature of the great artists from Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and England is, to this day, epitomised by the teachings of Ruskin.


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study of gneiss rock

study of gneiss rock glenfinlas

ruskin standing
at glenfinlas

ruskin by john everett millais standing at glenfinlas