John Ruskin Quotes

How false is the conception, how frantic the pursuit, of that treacherous phantom which men call Liberty: most treacherous, indeed, of all phantoms; for the feeblest ray of reason might surely show us, that not only its attainment, but its being, was impossible. There is no such thing in the universe. There can never be. The stars have it not; the earth has it not; the sea has it not; and we men have the mockery and semblance of it only for our heaviest punishment.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. "The Lamp of Obedience," sect. 1, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849).
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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.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. "The Lamp of Power," sect. 24, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849).
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I love Coleridge ... and I am very willing to allow that he has more imagination than Wordsworth, and more of the real poet. But after all Coleridge is nothing more than an intellectual opium-eater—a man of many crude though lovely thoughts—of confused though brilliant imagination, liable to much error—error even of the heart, very sensual in many of his ideas of pleasure—indolent to a degree, and evidently and always thinking without discipline; letting the fine brains which God gave him work themselves irregularly and without end or object—and carry him whither they will. Wordsworth has a grand, consistent, perfectly disciplined, all grasping intellect—for which nothing is too small, nothing too great, arranging everything in due relations, divinely pure in its conventions of pleasure, majestic in the equanimity of its benevolence—intense as white fire with chastened feeling. Coleridge may be the greater poet, but surely it admits of no question which is the greater man.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British critic, author. The Literary Criticism of John Ruskin, letter, 1843, to Rev. Walter Brown, ed. Harold Bloom (1972).
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Better the rudest work that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest without meaning.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. The Seven Lamps of Architecture, ch. 6 (1849).
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Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build for ever.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. The Seven Lamps of Architecture, ch. 6 (1849).
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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?
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. The Seven Lamps of Architecture, ch. 5 (1849).
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The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. The Stones of Venice, vol. 2, ch. 5, sct. 30 (1852).
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It seems a fantastic paradox, but it is nevertheless a most important truth, that no architecture can be truly noble which is not imperfect.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. The Stones of Venice, vol. II, ch. 6 (1853).
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The great cry that rises from all our manufacturing cities, louder than the furnace blast, is all in very deed for this—that we manufacture everything there except men.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. The Stones of Venice, vol. 2, ch. 6, para. 16 (1851-1853).
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Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), British art critic, author. The Stones of Venice, vol. I, ch. 2 (1851).
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