Rebelling against formal, classical styles, John Ruskin reawakened interest in heavy, elaborate Gothic architecture. He also disdained anything machine-made, and paved the way for the Arts & Crafts movement
February 8, 1819 in London, England
January 20, 1900
Christ Church College at Oxford, MA degree, 1843
John Ruskin traveled to France and Italy, where he sketched the romantic beauty of medieval architecture and sculpture. Through his essays titled The Poetry of Architecture
) and his 1849 book The Seven Lamps of Architecture
), Ruskin awakened interest in medieval Gothic architecture.
John Ruskin later traveled to Venice and wrote about the rise and fall of spiritual forces as reflected through changing architectural styles. In 1851 Ruskin's observations were published in the three-volume series, The Stones of Venice (Download the introductory chapters for free).
Influence on Art:
John Ruskin was a writer, critic, scientist, poet, artist, environmentalist, and philosopher. As the most important art critic of the Victorian era
, Ruskin gained respectability for the Pre-Raphaelites
, who rejected the classical approach to art and believed that paintings must be done from direct observation of nature. Through his writings, Ruskin rescued the Romantic painter J. M. W. Turner
Influence on Architecture:
John Ruskin rebelled against formal, classical art and architecture. Ruskin championed the asymmetrical, rough architecture of medieval Europe. Ruskin's work heralded the Gothic Revival movement in Britain and paved the way for the Arts & Crafts movement in Britain and the United States. Like William Morris
and other Arts & Crafts philosophers, John Ruskin opposed industrialization and rejected the use of machine-made materials.
One of Ruskin's chief interests was the construction of the Oxford Museum of Natural History. Ruskin worked with the support of his old friend, Sir Henry Acland, then Regius Professor of Medicine, to bring his vision of Gothic beauty to this building. The Oxford Museum of Natural History remains one of the finest example of Victorian Gothic Revival (or Neo-Gothic) style in Britain.