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teen years. Not satisfied, however, with these occasional
“Three years' close and incessant labor to the examination of the chronology of the architecture of Venice; two long winters being wholly spent in the drawing of details on the spot; and yet I see constantly that architects who pass three or four days in a gondola, going up and down the grand canal, think that their first impressions are as likely to be true as my patiently wrought conclusions”
From these careful studies and measurements, drawings were made by Mr. Ruskin to illustrate “The Stones of Wenice,” and afterwards engraved in England by the best artists. Besides the fine illustrations which adorn those beau-stiful volumes, Mr. Ruskin prepared a separate work, consisting entirely of engravings from drawings which could not be reduced to the size of an octavo volume, without loss of accuracy in detail. These magnificent engravings were published in London, by subscription, in twelve parts, folio imperial size, at the price of one guinea each. They were fac-similes of Mr. Ruskin's drawings, and beautifully colored.* The “Seven Lamps of Architecture” and “The Stones of Venice”
* All Mr. Ruskin's works, with the exception of two volumes of “The Stones of Venice,” and these large illustrations, have been published in this country by Wiley & IIalsted, Broadway, New York. . . ."
would alone have placed Mr. Ruskin among the very first writers on Art that England has ever nurtured. The subtle critic of Art then turned aside, by way of episode, and wrote a feuilleton “On the Construction of Sheep. folds.” Graceful, picturesque, rustic sheepfolds? By no means. The versatile “Graduate of Oxford” must give his views on a subject which at that time was agitating the minds and employing the pens of some of the ablest thinkers ir Great Britain, namely, “The Church;” its character, author ity, teaching, government, and discipline. It was a “Tract for the Times,” but in direct opposition to the Tracts of his venerable alma mater. To this bold pamphlet was prefixed the following character. istic “advertisement:”-
“Many persons will probably find fault with me for publishing opinions which are not new: but I shall bear this blame contentedly, believing that opinions on this subject could hardly be just if they were not 1800 years old. Others will blame me for making proposals which are altogether new; to whom I would answer, that things in these days seem not so far right but that they may be mended. And others will simply call the opinions false and the proposals foolish– to whose good will, if they take it in hand to contradict me, I must leave what I have written,-having no purpose of being drawn, at present, into religious controversy. If, however, any should admit the truth, but regret the tone of what I have said, I can only pray them to consider how much less harm is done in the world by ungraceful boldness, than by
, untimely fear.”
Whatever were the “opinions” thus promulgated, there can be no doubt that the author’s motive was a sincere, earnest /
desire to do good. }
* Another pamphlet from the same prolific pen, entitled
“Advice which, whether bad or good, involved infinite labor and humiliation in the following it; and was therefore, for the most part, rejected. It has, however, been carried out, to the very letter, by a group of men who, for their reward | have been assailed with the most scurrilous abuse which I even § recollect seeing issue from the public press. I have, therefore, thought it due to them (the Pre-Raphaelites) to contradict the directly false statements which have been made respecting their works; and to point out the kind of merit which, however deficient in some respects, those works possess beyond the possibility of dispute.”
Mr. Ruskin here says no more than Schiller had said before him:
“With genius, Nature is bound in eternal alliance,—
Then why was the hue and cry raised against his “Pre
Raphaelitism?” Sneers are not arguments. For the want
of arguments was the Reviewer reduced to the following absurdity:—“If there were a ‘Burchell among painters, he • * would, in the author's presence, cry Fudge! Nonsense!”
This would-be astute critic, however, like many who had gone before him, cried “mad dog” in vain. Mr. Ruskin still lives.
The third volume of Modern Painters was issued ten years after the publication of the two first volumes. Those two volumes, as has already been mentioned, were written to check the attacks upon Turner. Little did the “Graduate” then foresee what a range his spirit would take, after its first venturous flight!
“The check was partially given, but too late; Turner was seized by painful illness soon after the second volume appeared; his works towards the close of the year 1845, showed a concluT-sive failure of power; and I saw that nothing remained for t àe to write, but his epitaph.” No one can fail to admire the generous, enthusiastic devo. tion of Mr. Ruskin to his favorite artist; but, as few of Turner's paintings have reached this country, his eloquent descriptions of them, and subtle criticisms, would not be generally interesting, and have therefore been omitted in the “Selections” from his Works. Engravings, however, from many of Turner's pictures are well known among us, and highly prized by genuine lovers of the Beautiful. Among these engravings the Illustrations to Rogers's Italy have been universally admired. In November, 1853, Mr. Ruskin delivered four Lectures in Edinburgh, on Architecture and Painting; which have since been published in a beautifully illustrated volume. He thought himself happy, he says, in his first Lecture, to address the citizens of Edinburgh on the subject of Architec
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ture; and yet, with his usual boldness and disregard of coil. sequences to himself personally, he launched forth into a com plete tirade against the Greek Architecture of that beautiful city. No doubt Mr. Ruskin remembered with some asperity the castigations of the Edinburgh Reviewers, and knowing that he was now strong enough to chastise the chastisers, he laid it on without mercy. Yet he is too earnest and too honest a man to say one word that he does not firmly believe to be for the advancement of noble Art. The Fourth Volume of “Modern Painters” is one of his ablest works. His versatile mind here grapples with Science as successfully as it has hitherto done with Art. Among the Alps and their glaciers, he would have been a fit companion for the learned Guyot. In pursuit of his investigations he had stood “where the black thundercloud was literally dashing itself in his face, while the blue hills seen through its rents were thirty miles away.” Indefatigable in the pursuit of that branch of Art, which “in all his lovings is the love,” Mr. Ruskin has lately written a book for young persons, entitled, “The Elements of Draw. ing, in three Letters to Beginners.” He always writes con amore, but never more so than in this valuable little treatise. Mr. Ruskin is not only a practical artist, but he has also had much experience in teaching, being employed at present as head-teacher of a class in Drawing, in the Working Men's College, 45 Great Ormond Street, London. “The Political Economy of Art,” the last published work by Mr. Ruskin, is the substance (with additions) of two
Lectures delivered at Manchester, July 10th and 13th, 1857, :ksk