Monday, December 18, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

John Ruskin (1819 – 1900)


English author, poet and artist, most famous for his work as art critic and social critic.
John Ruskin
We have much studied and much perfected, of late, the great civilized invention of the division of labour; only we give it a false name. It is not, truly speaking, the labour that it divided; but the men: — Divided into mere segments of men — broken into small fragments and crumbs of life; so that all the little piece of intelligence that is left in a man is not enough to make a pin, or a nail, but exhausts itself in making the point of a pin or the head of a nail. Now it is a good and desirable thing, truly, to make many pins in a day; but if we could only see with what crystal sand their points were polished, — sand of human soul, much to be magnified before it can be discerned for what it is — we should think that there might be some loss in it also. And the great cry that rises from our manufacturing cities, louder than their furnace blast, is all in very deed for this, — that we manufacture everything there except men; we blanch cotton, and strengthen steel, and refine sugar, and shape pottery; but to brighten, to strengthen, to refine, or to form a single living spirit, never enters into our estimate of advantages. And all the evil to which that cry is urging our myriads can be met only in one way: not by teaching nor preaching, for to teach them is but to show them their misery, and to preach at them, if we do nothing more than preach, is to mock at it. It can only be met by a right understanding, on the part of all classes, of what kinds of labour are good for men, raising them, and making them happy; by a determined sacrifice of such convenience or beauty, or cheapness as is to be got only by the degradation of the workman; and by equally determined demand for the products and results of healthy and ennobling labour.
Ruskin quotes
For when we are interested in the beauty of a thing, the oftener we can see it the better; but when we are interested only by the story of a thing, we get tired of hearing the same tale told over and over again, and stopping always at the same point — we want a new story presently, a newer and better one — and the picture of the day, and novel of the day, become as ephemeral as the coiffure or the bonnet of the day. Now this spirit is wholly adverse to the existence of any lovely art. If you mean to throw it aside to-morrow, you can never have it to-day.
Ruskin
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.




Ruskin John quotes
For certainly it is excellent discipline for an author to feel that he must say all he has to say in the fewest possible words, or his reader is sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words, or his reader will certainly misunderstand them.
Ruskin John
And besides; the problem of land, at its worst, is a bye one; distribute the earth as you will, the principal question remains inexorable, —Who is to dig it? Which of us, in brief word, is to do the hard and dirty work for the rest, and for what pay?
John Ruskin quotes
Your honesty is not to be based either on religion or policy. Both your religion and policy must be based on it. Your honesty must be based, as the sun is, in vacant heaven; poised, as the lights in the firmament, which have rule over the day and over the night.
John Ruskin
Christian faith is a grand cathedral, with divinely pictured windows. Standing without you see no glory, nor can possibly imagine any. Nothing is visible but the merest outline of dusky shapes. Standing within all is clear and denned; every ray of light reveals an army of unspeakable splendors.
Ruskin John quotes
The power which causes the several portions of the plant to help each other, we call life. Much more is this so in an animal. We may take away the branch of a tree without much harm to it; but not the animal's limb. Thus, intensity of life is also intensity of helpfulness — completeness of depending of each part on all the rest. The ceasing of this help is what we call corruption; and in proportion to the perfectness of the help, is the dreadfulness of the loss. The more intense the life has been, the more terrible is its corruption.
Ruskin
Expression, sentiment, truth to nature, are essential: but all those are not enough. I never care to look at a picture again, if it be ill composed; and if well composed I can hardly leave off looking at it.
Ruskin John
The infinity of God is not mysterious, it is only unfathomable; not concealed, but incomprehensible; it is a clear infinity, the darkness of the pure unsearchable sea.
John Ruskin
How can man understand God, since he does not yet understand his own mind, with which he endeavors to understand Him? The infinity of God is not mysterious, it is only unfathomable — not concealed, but incomprehensible. It is a clear infinity — the darkness of the pure, unsearchable sea.




John Ruskin quotes
If you want to work for the kingdom of God, and to bring it, and enter into it, there is just one condition to be first accepted. You must enter into it as children, or not at all.
John Ruskin
All true opinions are living, and show their life by being capable of nourishment; therefore of change. But their change is that of a tree — not of a cloud.
Ruskin quotes
You may either win your peace, or buy it:—win it, by resistance to evil;—buy it, by compromise with evil.
Ruskin John
..the art of becoming 'rich', in the common sense, is not absolutely nor finally the art of accumulating much money for ourselves, but also of contriving that our neighbour shall have less. In accurate terms, it is 'the art of establishing the maximum inequality in your own favour'.
Ruskin John quotes
You talk of the scythe of Time, and the tooth of Time: I tell you, Time is scytheless and toothless; it is we who gnaw like the worm — we who smite like the scythe. It is ourselves who abolish — ourselves who consume: we are the mildew, and the flame.
John Ruskin
There is nothing so small but that we may honor God by asking His guidance of it, or insult Him by taking it into our own hands.
John Ruskin quotes
In great states, children are always trying to remain children, and the parents wanting to make men and women of them. In vile states, the children are always wanting to be men and women, and the parents to keep them children.
John Ruskin
Ignorance, which is contented and clumsy, will produce what is imperfect, but not offensive. But ignorance discontented and dexterous, learning what it cannot understand, and imitating what it cannot enjoy, produces the most loathsome forms of manufacture that can disgrace or mislead humanity.
Ruskin John
It is not possible to find a landscape, which if painted precisely as it is, will not make an impressive picture. No one knows, till he has tried, what strange beauty and subtle composition is prepared to his hand by Nature.


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact