John Ruskin

John Ruskin

John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy.

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A book worth reading is worth buying.

The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it but what they become by it.

The first condition of education is being able to put someone to wholesome and meaningful work.

Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts - the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art.

Education is the leading of human souls to what is best, and making what is best out of them.

To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education.

Better the rudest work that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest without meaning.

All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing without shrinking into the darkness.

Endurance is nobler than strength and patience than beauty.

No architecture is so haughty as that which is simple.

I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.

Every great person is always being helped by everybody, for their gift is to get good out of all things and all persons.

In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.

The first test of a truly great man is his humility. By humility I don't mean doubt of his powers or hesitation in speaking his opinion, but merely an understanding of the relationship of what he can say and what he can do.

The child who desires education will be bettered by it, the child who dislikes it disgraced.

Nothing is ever done beautifully which is done in rivalship: or nobly which is done in pride.

All books are divisible into two classes: the books of the hour and the books of all time.

It is far more difficult to be simple than to be complicated, far more difficult to sacrifice skill and easy execution in the proper place, than to expand both indiscriminately.

Some slaves are scoured to their work by whips, others by their restlessness and ambition.

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.

All violent feelings have the same effect. They produce in us a falseness in all our impressions of external things which I would generally characterize as the pathetic fallacy.

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless, peacocks and lilies for instance.

To know anything well involves a profound sensation of ignorance.

The higher a man stands the more the word vulgar becomes unintelligible to him.

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.

Modern travelling is not travelling at all, it is merely being sent to a place and very little different from becoming a parcel.

The essence of lying is in deception not in words.

A thing is worth what it can do for you not what you choose to pay for it.

When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package.

Whether for life or death do your own work well.

Natural abilities can almost compensate for the want of every kind of cultivation but no cultivation of the mind can make up for the want of natural abilities.

No good is ever done to society by the pictorial representation of its diseases.

Give a little love to a child and you get a great deal back.

Nearly all the powerful people of this age are unbelievers the best of them in doubt and misery the most in plodding hesitation doing as well as they can what practical work lies at hand.

All great art is the work of the whole living creature body and soul and chiefly of the soul.

Men cannot not live by exchanging articles but producing them. They live by work not trade.

The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances and demonstrations for impressions.

Punishment is the last and the least effective instrument in the hands of the legislator for the prevention of crime.

You may either win your peace or buy it: win it by resistance to evil, buy it by compromise with evil.

The art which we may call generally art of the wayside as opposed to that which is the business of men's lives is in the best sense of the word Grotesque.

It is written on the arched sky, it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature, it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.

Cursing is invoking the assistance of a spirit to help you inflict suffering. Swearing on the other hand is invoking only the witness of a spirit to an statement you wish to make.

It is not how much one makes but to what purpose one spends.

The first duty of government is to see that people have food fuel and clothes. The second that they have means of moral and intellectual education.

No art can be noble which is incapable of expressing thought and no art is capable of expressing thought which does not change.

Music when healthy is the teacher of perfect order and when depraved the teacher of perfect disorder.

The distinguishing sign of slavery is to have a price and to be bought for it.

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.

Doing is the great thing for if people resolutely do what is right they come in time to like doing it.

No human being however great or powerful was ever so free as a fish.

Fine art is that in which the hand the head and the heart of man go together.

Nothing can be beautiful which is not true.

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.

How long most people would look at the best book before they would give the price of a large turbot for it?

Let every dawn be to you as the beginning of life and every setting sun be to you as its close.

The first duty of a state is to see that every child born therein shall be well housed clothed fed and educated till it attains years of discretion.

He that would be angry and sin not must not be angry with anything but sin.

No lying knight or lying priest ever prospered in any age but especially not in the dark ones. Men prospered then only in following an openly declared purpose and preaching candidly beloved and trusted creeds.

Books are divided into two classes the books of the hour and the books of all time.

The strength and power of a country depends absolutely on the quantity of good men and women in it.

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.

It is in this power of saying everything and yet saying nothing too plainly that the perfection of art consists.

Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools to be precise and perfect in all their actions.

One who does not know when to die does not know how to live.

I have not written in vain if I have heretofore done anything towards diminishing the reputation of the Renaissance landscape painting.

There are no such things as Flowers there are only gladdened Leaves.

Imaginary evils soon become real one by indulging our reflections on them.

Taste is the only morality. Tell me what you like and I'll tell you what you are.

Walk while ye have the light lest darkness come upon you.

Do not think of your faults still less of other's faults, look for what is good and strong and try to imitate it. Your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.

There is no wealth but life.

To give alms is nothing unless you give thought also.

Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.

Large fortunes are all founded either on the occupation of land, or lending, or the taxation of labor.

Man's only true happiness is to live in hope of something to be won by him. Reverence something to be worshipped by him and love something to be cherished by him forever.

Not only is there but one way of doing things rightly but there is only one way of seeing them and that is seeing the whole of them.

It is impossible as impossible as to raise the dead to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture. That which I have insisted upon as the life of the whole that spirit which is given only by the hand and eye of the workman can never be recalled.

Life being very short and the quiet hours of it few we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books.

Art is not a study of positive reality it is the seeking for ideal truth.

A great thing can only be done by a great person, and they do it without effort.

No person who is not a great sculptor or painter can be an architect. If he is not a sculptor or painter he can only be a builder.

No person who is well bred kind and modest is ever offensively plain, all real deformity means want for manners or of heart.

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.

It is his restraint that is honorable to a person not their liberty.

Tell me what you like and I'll tell you what you are.

There is never vulgarity in a whole truth however commonplace. It may be unimportant or painful. It cannot be vulgar. Vulgarity is only in concealment of truth or in affectation.

I believe the right question to ask respecting all ornament is simply this, was it done with enjoyment was the carver happy while he was about it?

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 with what we spend on our horses?

He is the greatest artist who has embodied in the sum of his works the greatest number of the greatest ideas.

The sky is the part of creation in which nature has done for the sake of pleasing man.

Let us reform our schools and we shall find little reform needed in our prisons.

It seems a fantastic paradox but it is nevertheless a most important truth that no architecture can be truly noble which is not imperfect.

Whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of the poor.

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.

Men don't and can't live by exchanging articles but by producing them. They don't live by trade but by work. Give up that foolish and vain title of Trades Unions, and take that of laborers Unions.

The principle of all successful effort is to try to do not what is absolutely the best but what is easily within our power and suited for our temperament and condition.

The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world... to see clearly is poetry prophecy and religion all in one.

We require from buildings two kinds of goodness: first the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it.

When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece.

Modern education has devoted itself to the teaching of impudence, and then we complain that we can no longer control our mobs.

When we build let us think that we build for ever.

An unimaginative person can neither be reverent or kind.

You might sooner get lightning out of incense smoke than true action or passion out of your modern English religion.

There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.

Civilization is the making of civil persons.

To see clearly is poetry prophecy and religion all in one.

Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.

That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings.

There is no such thing as bad weather only different kinds of good weather.

Skill is the unified force of experience intellect and passion in their operation.

Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.