Date: Wednesday 24 April 2019
Location: Hatchards Piccadilly
How an eminent Victorian can teach us how to see our own world and time more clearly
John Ruskin – born 200 years ago, in February 1819 – was the greatest cultural critic of his age, writing beautifully and penetratingly not only on art and architecture, but also on society and life. But his writings – on beauty and truth, on work and leisure, on commerce and capitalism, on life and how to live it – can still teach us valuable lessons about how to perceive, protect and exist in our world.
John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy. Ruskin produced essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guide and manuals and even a fairy tale. He also made detailed drawings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes and architectural features. Ruskin’s books including the seminal Modern Painters (1843), in which he championed the work of J.M.W. Turner, and The Stones of Venice, a threevolume study of the art and architecture of the city. He was also an ardent supporter of the Pre-Raphaelite painters.
Suzanne Fagence Cooper, in conversation with Emma Mitchell, will delve into Ruskin’s writings and life, and uncover the dizzying clarity of his vision. Whether he was examining the exquisite and threatened carvings of a medieval cathedral or the mass-produced wares of Victorian factories, chronicling the beauties of Venice or his own descent into old age, Ruskin saw life’s glories and contradictions vividly, and can teach us to do the same.