John Ruskin and the Victorian Eye

Article excerpt

The phoenix art museum will present The Art of Seeing: John Ruskin and the Victorian Eye from 6 March through 23 May 1993. This exhibit on the greatest nineteenth-century British critic of art and culture includes over 150 paintings and drawings from British and North American collections. On 2-3 April, the museum will host an international symposium of British and U.S. scholars. The exhibit, which will be at the Indianapolis Museum of Art from 99 June to 29 August 1993, is supported by Arizona's Flinn Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.(1)

Ruskin (1819-1900), critic and artist, spent his life teaching others how to look at nature and art. In his words, "To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion, all in one." His five-volume Modern Painters (1843-1860), which began as a defense of the paintings of J. M. W. Turner, evolved into a critique of British society. Offended by economic disparities, the militarism of the British empire, industrial pollution, and the weakness of the educational system, Ruskin used his reputation and his personal wealth to address social ills. Good art for Ruskin was a "universal language" capable of instilling moral and social responsibility. …