Ruskin and Italy
5th October 1998 - 3rd January 1999
'But, if, instead of driving, with excited expectation, to particular points, you saunter leisurely up one street and down another, yielding to every impulse, peeping into every corner, and keeping your observation active, the impression is exceedingly changed.' [From a letter to the Revd. T. Dale, 31 Dec. 1840]
This exhibition draws on only a fraction of the drawings and studies which Ruskin made during his many visits to Italy. Through the display of pictures, diaries, letters and published works, like the Stones of Venice, we get an idea of how important Italy was in his life.
Column bases, doorway of Badia Fiesolana, 1874 John Ruskin
John Ruskin made nearly twenty separate trips to Italy, the first in 1833, the last in 1888. For him Italy became a vital part of his life, and his way of thinking. Like the Lake District it was a refuge and place of rehabilitation after illness and upset.
When he was thirteen Ruskin was given Roger's Italy, and was awed by the Turner vignettes of Italian landscape. The development of his skills in drawing and perception are recorded in the pictures and diaries of his travels.
Vesuvius in Erruption, 1875 John Ruskin
February 12th Yesterday a lovely evening for Carnival, but little merriment when we drove out of the crowd. The sunset on Vesuvius was purple as its own fire; the smoke rosy red, falling over Pompeii in delicate purple sweeps, melting like clouds into the blue. [From John Ruskin's Diary 1841]
Catalogues are available for many of our exhibitions - see our Publications List for details.
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All images and text (c)The Ruskin Library, unless otherwise stated.