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John Ruskin

Date de naissance: 8. février 1819
Date de décès: 20. janvier 1900
Autres noms:Джон Рескин

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John Ruskin, né le 8 février 1819 à Bloomsbury en Londres, mort le 20 janvier 1900 à Coniston est un écrivain, poète, peintre et critique d'art britannique.

Fils unique d'une riche famille, il fut éduqué à domicile, avec une insistance particulière sur l'art et la religion. Il poursuivit son éducation en dilettante, en tant qu'auditeur libre à Oxford. Malgré des problèmes de santé, il y obtint son MA en 1843. Surtout, il s'y lia d'amitié avec nombre d'intellectuels.

Il fut publié dès son adolescence. Grâce à la fortune de sa famille, il put consacrer sa vie à l'écriture. Il devint rapidement célèbre dans les années 1840 grâce à son travail de critique Modern Painters où il proposait une nouvelle façon d'appréhender l'art. Il écrivit ensuite The Seven Lamps of Architecture en 1849 et surtout The Stones of Venice en 1853. Il fit aussi passer ses idées par l'enseignement. Il participa à la création de l'University Museum, donna des cours de dessin au Working Men's College, un établissement de formation continue fondé par ses amis socialistes chrétiens. Il en donna aussi dans une école pour jeunes filles et par correspondance. En 1870, il devint le premier titulaire de la chaire Slade à Oxford.

Son mariage avec Effie Gray annulé pour non-consommation continue à alimenter de nos jours des légendes nombreuses et variées, des suppositions. Effie épousa très vite le peintre John Everett Millais, un membre du mouvement préraphaélite dont Ruskin fut le mécène et le soutien après s'être engagé pour Turner.

Citations John Ruskin

„Le principe des temps modernes [... ] consiste d'abord à négliger les édifices, puis à les restaurer. Prenez soin de vos monuments et vous n'aurez nul besoin de les restaurer. Quelques feuilles de plomb placées en temps voulu sur la toiture, le balayage opportun de quelques feuilles mortes et de brindilles de bois obstruant un conduit sauveront de la ruine à la fois murailles et toiture. Veillez avec vigilance sur un vieil édifice, gardez-le de votre mieux et par tous les moyens de toute cause de délabrement. Comptez-en les pierres comme vous le feriez pour les joyaux d'une couronne, mettez-y des gardes comme vous en placeriez aux portes d'une ville assiégée; liez-le par le fer quand il se désagrège; soutenez-le à l'aide de poutres quand il s'affaisse; ne vous préoccupez pas de la laideur du secours que vous lui apportez, mieux vaut une béquille que la perte d'un membre; faites-le avec tendresse, avec respect, avec une vigilance incessante, et encore plus d'une génération naîtra et disparaîtra à l'ombre de ses murs. Sa dernière heure enfin sonnera; mais qu'elle sonne ouvertement et franchement, et qu'aucune substitution déshonorante et mensongère ne le vienne priver des devoirs funèbres du souvenir. [... ] La conservation des monuments du passé n'est pas une simple question de convenance ou de sentiment. Nous n'avons pas le droit d'y toucher. Ils ne nous appartiennent pas. Ils appartiennent en partie à ceux qui les ont construits, en partie à toutes les générations d'hommes qui viendront après nous.“

— John Ruskin

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„The entire vitality of art depends upon its being either full of truth, or full of use“

— John Ruskin
Context: The entire vitality of art depends upon its being either full of truth, or full of use; and that, however pleasant, wonderful, or impressive it may be in itself, it must yet be of inferior kind, and tend to deeper inferiority, unless it has clearly one of these main objects, — either to state a true thing, or to adorn a serviceable one. Lecture IV

„We shall be remembered in history as the most cruel, and therefore the most unwise, generation of men that ever yet troubled the earth: — the most cruel in proportion to their sensibility, — the most unwise in proportion to their science.“

— John Ruskin
Context: We shall be remembered in history as the most cruel, and therefore the most unwise, generation of men that ever yet troubled the earth: — the most cruel in proportion to their sensibility, — the most unwise in proportion to their science. No people, understanding pain, ever inflicted so much: no people, understanding facts, ever acted on them so little. Lecture II, section 35.

„My entire delight was in observing without being myself noticed,— if I could have been invisible, all the better.“

— John Ruskin
Context: My entire delight was in observing without being myself noticed,— if I could have been invisible, all the better. I was absolutely interested in men and their ways, as I was interested in marmots and chamois, in tomtits and trout. If only they would stay still and let me look at them, and not get into their holes and up their heights! The living inhabitation of the world — the grazing and nesting in it, — the spiritual power of the air, the rocks, the waters, to be in the midst of it, and rejoice and wonder at it, and help it if I could, — happier if it needed no help of mine, — this was the essential love of Nature in me, this the root of all that I have usefully become, and the light of all that I have rightly learned. Praeterita, volume I, chapter IX (1885-1889).

„We are to remember, in the first place, that the arrangement of colours and lines is an art analogous to the composition of music, and entirely independent of the representation of facts.“

— John Ruskin
Context: We are to remember, in the first place, that the arrangement of colours and lines is an art analogous to the composition of music, and entirely independent of the representation of facts. Good colouring does not necessarily convey the image of anything but itself. It consists of certain proportions and arrangements of rays of light, but not in likeness to anything. A few touches of certain greys and purples laid by a master's hand on white paper will be good colouring; as more touches are added beside them, we may find out that they were intended to represent a dove's neck, and we may praise, as the drawing advances, the perfect imitation of the dove's neck. But the good colouring does not consist in that imitation, but in the abstract qualities and relations of the grey and purple. Volume II, chapter VI, section 42.

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

— John Ruskin
Context: You were made for enjoyment, and the world was filled with things which you will enjoy, unless you are too proud to be pleased with them, or too grasping to care for what you cannot turn to other account than mere delight. Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless: peacocks and lilies, for instance. Volume I, chapter II, section 17.

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„You must either make a tool of the creature, or a man of him.“

— John Ruskin
Context: You must either make a tool of the creature, or a man of him. You cannot make both. Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools, to be precise and perfect in all their actions. If you will have that precision out of them, and make their fingers measure degrees like cog-wheels, and their arms strike curves like compasses, you must unhumanize them. All the energy of their spirits must be given to make cogs and compasses of themselves…. On the other hand, if you will make a man of the working creature, you cannot make him a tool. Let him but begin to imagine, to think, to try to do anything worth doing; and the engine-turned precision is lost at once. Out come all his roughness, all his dulness, all his incapability; shame upon shame, failure upon failure, pause after pause: but out comes the whole majesty of him also; and we know the height of it only when we see the clouds settling upon him. Volume II, chapter VI, section 12.

„The living inhabitation of the world — the grazing and nesting in it, — the spiritual power of the air, the rocks, the waters, to be in the midst of it, and rejoice and wonder at it, and help it if I could, — happier if it needed no help of mine, — this was the essential love of Nature in me, this the root of all that I have usefully become, and the light of all that I have rightly learned.“

— John Ruskin
Context: My entire delight was in observing without being myself noticed,— if I could have been invisible, all the better. I was absolutely interested in men and their ways, as I was interested in marmots and chamois, in tomtits and trout. If only they would stay still and let me look at them, and not get into their holes and up their heights! The living inhabitation of the world — the grazing and nesting in it, — the spiritual power of the air, the rocks, the waters, to be in the midst of it, and rejoice and wonder at it, and help it if I could, — happier if it needed no help of mine, — this was the essential love of Nature in me, this the root of all that I have usefully become, and the light of all that I have rightly learned. Praeterita, volume I, chapter IX (1885-1889).

„But now, having no true business, we pour our whole masculine energy into the false business of money-making; and having no true emotion, we must have false emotions dressed up for us to play with“

— John Ruskin
Context: When men are rightly occupied, their amusement grows out of their work, as the colour-petals out of a fruitful flower;—when they are faithfully helpful and compassionate, all their emotions become steady, deep, perpetual, and vivifying to the soul as the natural pulse to the body. But now, having no true business, we pour our whole masculine energy into the false business of money-making; and having no true emotion, we must have false emotions dressed up for us to play with, not innocently, as children with dolls, but guiltily and darkly. Sesame and Lilies.

„When men are rightly occupied, their amusement grows out of their work“

— John Ruskin
Context: When men are rightly occupied, their amusement grows out of their work, as the colour-petals out of a fruitful flower;—when they are faithfully helpful and compassionate, all their emotions become steady, deep, perpetual, and vivifying to the soul as the natural pulse to the body. But now, having no true business, we pour our whole masculine energy into the false business of money-making; and having no true emotion, we must have false emotions dressed up for us to play with, not innocently, as children with dolls, but guiltily and darkly. Sesame and Lilies.

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„The natural and right system respecting all labour is, that it should be paid at a fixed rate, but the good workman employed, and the bad workman unemployed. The false, unnatural, and destructive system is when the bad workman is allowed to offer his work at half-price, and either take the place of the good, or force him by his competition to work for an inadequate sum.“

— John Ruskin
Context: “I choose my physician and my clergyman, thus indicating my sense of the quality of their work.” By all means, also, choose your bricklayer; that is the proper reward of the good workman, to be “chosen.” The natural and right system respecting all labour is, that it should be paid at a fixed rate, but the good workman employed, and the bad workman unemployed. The false, unnatural, and destructive system is when the bad workman is allowed to offer his work at half-price, and either take the place of the good, or force him by his competition to work for an inadequate sum. Essay I: "The Roots of Honour," section 29.

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