John Ruskin (1819-1900) – OHIO University Libraries
John Ruskin during his professorship at Oxford (1869-1879)

British critic and writer John Ruskin, born in London in 1900, is known for his “word-painting,” or critiques and projections of art, artists, and architecture of the past, present, and future. Ruskin forecast more than the works of future painters; Ruskin developed as an independent philosopher of society, the classes, beauty, and religion.

Ruskin is known for his five-volume Modern Painters,  The Seven Lamps of Architecture, Pre-Raphaelitism, the three-volume The Stones of Venice, along with many other volumes of art and architecture criticism, travel guides about Venice and Florence, geology, ornithology, literary criticism, the environmental effects of pollution, mythology, social reform and other topics.

Ruskin was a professor of fine arts at Oxford from 1869 to 1879. Ruskin’s lifetime and the public’s perception of him was molded by Ruskin’s ever-changing philosophies, ideas about art and religion, society, and the economy.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography sums up his legacy thusly: “Ruskin can fairly be said to have had a hand in shaping the culture of the twentieth century, just as he did that of the nineteenth, and there is reason to believe that he may yet make a contribution to that of the twenty-first century.” Ruskin died in January 1900 in Lancashire.

Our Rare Book Collection has nearly 100 volumes by John Ruskin. We invite you to visit Archives and Special Collections to consult works by Ruskin, or other parts of our collection. See our Hours on the left sidebar of the Archives and Special Collections home page. In addition, the Libraries have more than 200 volumes of works about Ruskin: biographies, critical interpretations, and the like.


Picture credit: By Kasper Boers at nl.wikipedia (Transferred from nl.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons.