77 Great Quotes By John Ruskin, The Distinguished Art Critic
Art Critic and Painter
John Ruskin was an English art critic, painter, watercolorist, draughtsman, prominent social thinker and a noted philanthropist, who lived in the Victorian era. He studied at Christ College at the University of Oxford and then went on to study at King’s College London. His works were not limited to one or two areas but across a varied set of subjects. He wrote essays and articles on topics as diverse as architecture, education, ornithology and political economy, which made him one of the most versatile thinkers of his time. However, it was as an art critic that he found maximum recognition. Ruskin became a widely known art writer in 1843 after the publication of the 1st volume of ‘Modern Painters’ that dealt with the J. M. W. Turner and his works. He went on to write four more volumes of ‘Modern Painters’ and all those volumes became highly popular. His other well-known works include ‘Fors Clavigera’, ‘The Seven Lamps of Architecture’, ‘Unto His Last’ and three volumes of ‘The Stones of Venice’ among many others. Ruskin was one of the most influential art experts of his time and shared his thoughts on several subjects through his writings. Here is a collection of thoughts, quotation and sayings by John Ruskin on education, books, literature and art. These John Ruskin quotes have been gathered from his work, writings, speeches, and books.
To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality. It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride. Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. All books are divisible into two classes: the books of the hours, and the books of all Time. The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most. A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel. The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it. Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them. A book worth reading is worth owning. When love and skill work together, expect a materpiece. All art is but dirtying the paper delicately. Every increased possession loads us with new weariness. Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. He who has truth at his heart need never fear the want of persuasion on his tongue. If a book is worth reading, it is worth buying. In order that people may be happy in their work,
these three things are needed:
they must be fit for it;
they must not do too much of it;
and they must have a sense of success in it. There is no wealth but life. Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them. Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave. Let every dawn of morning be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close. Remember that the most beautiful things in life are often the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance. Modern traveling is not traveling at all; it is merely being sent to a place, and very little different from becoming a parcel. Cookery means…English thoroughness, French art, and Arabian hospitality; it means the knowledge of all fruits and herbs and balms and spices; it means carefulness, inventiveness, and watchfulness. What we think or what we know or what we believe is in the end of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. There must be the will to produce a superior thing. You should read books like you take medicine, by advice, and not by advertisement. You can only possess beauty through understanding it. Education...is a painful, continual and difficult work to be done in kindness, by watching, by warning,... by praise, but above all -- by example. Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth. There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey. The best thing in life aren't things. The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and what it saw in a plain way. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion--all in one. Imperfection is in some sort essential to all that we know in life. The path of a good woman is indeed strewn with flowers; but they rise behind her steps, not before them. When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package. To speak and act truth with constancy and precision is nearly as difficult, and perhaps as meretorious, as to speak it under intimidation or penalty Imaginary evils soon become real ones by indulging our reflections on them. At least be sure you go to the author to find his meaning, not to find yours. To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered. Taste is the only morality. Tell me what you like and I'll tell you what you are. Nothing can be beautiful which is not true. The common practice of keeping up appearances with society is a mere selfish struggle of the vain with the vain. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought is incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. An architect should live as little in cities as a painter. Send him to our hills, and let him study there what nature understands by a buttress, and what by a dome. Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books. No good work whatever can be perfect, and the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art. It is far better to give work that is above a person, than to educate the person to be above their work. Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity. All great art is the expression of man's delight in God's work, not his own. In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes. To watch the corn grow, or the blossoms set; to draw hard breath over the plough or spade; to read, to think, to love, to pray, are the things that make men happy. What right have you to take the word wealth, which originally meant ''well-being,'' and degrade and narrow it by confining it to certain sorts of material objects measured by money. A thing of worth is what it can do for you, not what you choose to pay for it. For, truly, the man who does not know when to die, does not know how to live. The majesty of nature depends upon the force of the human spirit. I want to speak to you about the treasures hidden in books; and about the way we find them, and the way we lose them. It is a wiser, more generous, more noble thing to remember and point out the perfect words, than to invent poorer ones, wherewith to encumber temporarily the world. What do we, as a nation, care about books? How much do you think we spend altogether on our libraries, public or private, as compared to what we spend on our horses? Nothing is ever done beautifully which is done
in rival ship: or nobly, which is done in pride. If some people see angels where others only see empty space, let them paint the angels; only let not anybody else think they can paint an angel too, on any calculated principles of the angelic. Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together. Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts - the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art. In the purest landscape, the human subject is the immortality of the soul by the faithfulness of love. I have a dog of Blenheim birth,
With fine long ears and full of mirth;
And sometimes, running o'er the plain,
He tumbles on his nose:
But quickly jumping up again,
Like lightning on he goes! The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it. All that we call ideal in Greek or any other art, because to us it is false and visionary, was, to the makers of it, true and existent. I should recommend...keeping...a small memorandum-book in the breast-pocket, with its well-cut sheathed pencil, ready for notes on passing opportunities, but never being without this. If only the Geologists would let me alone, I could do very well, but those dreadful Hammers! I hear the clink of them at the end of every cadence of the Bible verses Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be enjoyed as light.
The rich and the poor have met, God is their light.
PAINT the leaves as they grow! If you can paint one leaf, you can paint the world,'' John Ruskin
If you do not wish for His kingdom, don't pray for it. But if you do, you must do more than pray for it, you must work for it.
Imperfections have been divinely appointed, that the law of human life may be effort, and the law of human judgment mercy.
Reading and writing are not education if they do not help people to be kind to all creatures The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.