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

By Henry Ladd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
IMAGINATION

THE BOGEY OF IMAGINATION

SIX years intervened between the publication of the second and the third volumes of Modern Painters. In this period Ruskin devoted himself to architectural criticism. He was eager to call public attention to the beautiful buildings falling into ruin in France and Italy. He was also anxious to protest against the false restorations which an uncritical enthusiasm for Gothic was encouraging. His theory of architecture, outlined in The Seven Lamps and historically demonstrated in Stones of Venice, was largely an application of certain principles derived from his analysis of beauty. In no way was his theory of representation changed, nor the moral character of his analysis of esthetic contemplation. The emphasis, however, shifted gradually from an interest in natural truth to principles of decorative design and with this change there appeared two new theoretical developments. He realized as never before the esthetic and moral importance of skill or fine workmanship; he slowly but certainly discovered the relevance of social conditions to artistic aims and so began to work out his final conclusions upon the meaning of art to society.

For a few years more, however, both the theory of skill and the political economy of art remained unstated in any complete form. He returned in 1852 to the composition of Modern Painters. There was still much to

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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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