The Victorian Morality of Art: An Analysis of Ruskin's Esthetic, by Henry Ladd

By Henry Ladd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY TRADITIONS

CRITICISM AND CONNOISSEURS

THE early eighteenth century in England saw the rise of a systematic criticism of the fine arts. The previous century had produced musical handbooks, manuals of architecture and several important treatises on poetry. Some of the latter contained allusions to sculpture and occasionally to painting but criticism of the plastic arts did not go much beyond the casual praise and prejudice of a Pepys or an Evelyn. Theoretical opinion in so far as it referred to painting, sculpture or architecture relied exclusively on Italian or French authorities.

By 1730, however, a dozen or more books on art had appeared, most of them concerned with Italian painting or the classical or religious history which formed the subjects of famous pictures. 71 In so far as these were consciously critical, in so far as they defined and applied principles they still followed French or Italian guides. They differed only in the freedom of translation or slight adaptations to national taste. Self-conscious in manner and definitely on the defensive, the new criticism remained for several decades essentially derivative. Even the best of the new critics, Jonathan Richardson, who influenced Reynolds more than fifty years later, differed little from the French Du Piles or the Italian Du Fresnoy whose famous poem 2 on painting Dryden had been persuaded to translate in 1695. Richardson Essay on theTheory of Painting

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The Victorian Morality of Art: An Analysis of Ruskin's Esthetic, by Henry Ladd
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Table of Contents ix
  • Errata *
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - The Truth and Beauty of Art 5
  • Chapter I - Eighteenth Century Traditions 7
  • Bibliorraphical Note 25
  • Chapter II - Ruskin and Tradition 26
  • Chapter III - New Theories for a New Public 39
  • General Background 55
  • Chapter IV - The Case for Truth 57
  • Chapter V - The Complex Traditions of Beauty 83
  • Chapter VI - The Problem of Beauty 110
  • Part II - Morals and Imagination 145
  • Chapter I - Nature and God 147
  • Chapter II - The Roots of Beauty 167
  • Chapter III - Imagination 202
  • Chapter IV - The Morality of Picture Making 225
  • Chapter V - Style 245
  • Chapter VI - Esthetic Respectability Gentility 270
  • Part III - "High Seriousness" 293
  • Chapter I - The Moral Conflict 295
  • Chapter II - Ruskin's Contributions 316
  • Chapter III - Conclusion 328
  • Notes 343
  • Index 405
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