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Ruskin

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RUSKIN, John, English critic and author: b, London, 8 Feb. 1819; d. Coniston, Lancashire, 20 Jan. 1900. He attended lectures at King's College, London, was trained in drawing and in 1836 went to Oxford, where he became a gentleman-commoner at Christ Church. In 1839, after two failures, he won the Newdigate prize for a poem on

After the publication of the first volume of 'Modern Painters' he continued his studies and his travels, and during a visit to Venice he definitely decided upon literature as his main work. In 1848 he married Euphemia Chalmers Gray, the 19-year-old daughter of a Scottish lawyer, for whom he had written in 1841 his fairy tale, 'The King of the Golden River' (published 1851). His married life was not very fortunate, and in 1854 the marriage was annulled and the lady married the artist Mil lais in 1855. (The Seven Lamps of Archi tecture' (1849) sought to do for architecture what Ruskin had already done for painting. The title and arrangement of the book are characteristic of his whole artistic criticism. All work in architecture. and in all else, should be illumined by the lamps of sacrifice, truth, power, beauty, life, memory and obedience. In

1851 he defended Millais and Holman Hunt, two of the pre-Raphaelite leaders, in letters to the Times, and in the same year followed up this advocacy by a work on pre-Raphaelitism. (The Stones of Venice' (1851-53), the fruit of much close study and arduous toil, is a worthy companion of (Modern Painters,' and in it, as in the earlier work, we meet the moralist as artist. The chapter the Nature of Gothic Architecture,' in which his economic teaching is distinctly foreshadowed, was reprinted by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press in 1892. In 1854 Ruskin came to know D. G. Rossetti, to whom he was a considerate and generous • and he was closely associated with F. D. Maurice, Furnivall and other Christian Socialists in the work of the Working Men's College, where he taught drawing regularly for some seven years. His career as a social re former may be dated from 1857, when he pub lished a series of lectures on Political Economy of Art' (enlarged edition, entitled (A Joy for Ever and its Price in the Market,' 1880). His chief works of this kind are (Unto this Last' (1862; popular edition. 1900), origi nally written for the Cornhill Magazine,• (1862), partly reprinted from Fraser's Magazine; and Tide by Weare and Tyne' (1867), and (Fors Clavigera 1871-84), consisting of letters to the working men and laborers of Great Britain. In these the tendency to exaggeration is clearly mani fest, and for a time it stood in the way of the serious consideration of his views. He laid especial stress upon the economic value of healthy, happy, honorable, self-sacrificing life; he directed attention to the vital importance of the problem of distribution and the necessity of economic co-operation; the need for a genuine national system of education, old-age pensions and a radical solution of the housing problem were eloquently set forth by him. In this work Ruskin always professed himself a follower of Carlyle, one of his warmest friends and ad mirers. Some of his books' published after 1855 were collections of lectures. Such are (1865) ;

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