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could have felt more strongly than myself that it was written expressly for him."
Before the second volume was written Ruskin's conception of art had enlarged by acquaintance with the great Italian masters. The actual composition of the book took but about five months, but he had spent three years in preparation. Though he had visited the Continent five times before the writing of the first volume, he had been strangely indifferent to the greatness of the early painters. He had not realized that a critic of art should have a comprehensive view of art. He now became conscious of the greatness of Titian, Veronese, Bellini, and Perugino. In writing the second volume he wished “to explain the quality of beauty in all happy conditions of living organism," and to “ bring before the public two schools of painting — that of Angelico in Florence and Tintoret in Venice.” For one day while in Venice he and his friend Harding knocked at the door of the Scuola di San Rocco to view the Tintorets, pictures then little known. To his father Ruskin writes of the event as one of the turning-points in his life: “I have been quite overwhelmed today by a man whom I never dreamed of - Tintoret.” And a day later he continues, “I never was so utterly crushed to the earth before any human intellect as I was today before Tintoret."
The style of the second volume differs from the impassioned eloquence of the first, due perhaps because the first was written in "great haste and indignation," while the second sought elevation and dignity of style by imitating Hooker. “It was not my proper style,” said Ruskin himself. The effect of the book was to turn the British public to the primitive painters.
It was ten years before the third and fourth volumes appeared, In that interval he wrote The Seven Lamps of Architecture, The Stones of Venice, and Examples of the Architecture of Venice. The last volume appeared in 1860. E. T. Cook, in his Life of Ruskin, gives this summary of the five volumes of Modern Painters:
“1. The First Volume is a defence of Turner, against the charge that his later pictures were 'unnatural.' This volume was, as Ruskin says, the expansion of a magazine article, and was written in all the heat and haste of youthful enthusiasm. 2. Then came a pause, during which the author's principal study was among the early Italian painters and Tintoretto. Both alike commanded his passionate admiration. The Second Volume thus became in part a hymn of praise, inspired by the religious ideal of Giotto and his circle; and in part an essay upon the Imagination, inspired by Tintoret's works in the Scuola di San Rocco. 3. Ten years now intervened — years of widened and deepened study in many directions. The earlier chapters of the Third Volume are an interlude, necessary in order.to establish a harmony between what had preceded and what was to follow. 4. The Fourth Volume and the first two parts of the Fifth ... are an essay on the Beauty of Mountains, Trees, and Clouds; while lastly, 5. The remainder of that final volume, written four years later, is a treatise on 'the relations of Art to God and man.'»
Marriage. Before continuing a discussion of his literary work, at this point a word must be said concerning his marriage. Euphemia Chalmers Gray was the daughter of an old friend of the Ruskin family, George Gray, a lawyer. Upon one of her visits to the Ruskin family, while still a child, she had challenged Ruskin to write a story. The King of the Golden River was the result, a story which Ruskin characterized as "a fairly good imitation of Grimm and Dickens, mixed with a little true Alpine feeling of my own." It was written in 1841. Six years later Miss Gray was a visitor at Denmark Hill, the Ruskin home. She was young, beautiful, and vivacious. Ruskin's mother
. thought her talented son would be more likely to spend less time in roaming over the Continent, if he were married. To please his mother Ruskin proposed, was accepted, and they were married at Bowerswell, Perth, on April 10, 1848.
Six years later the wife left her husband and returned to her parents. The gossip of the time is reflected in a letter of Mrs. Carlyle to Dr. John Carlyle:
“There is a great deal of talking about the Ruskins here at present. Mrs. Ruskin has been taken to Scotland by her parents; and Ruskin is gone to Switzerland with his; and the separation is understood to be permanent. There is even a rumor that Mrs. Ruskin is to sue for a divorce. I know nothing about it, except that I have always pitied Mrs. Ruskin, while people generally blame her - for love of dress and company and flirtation. She was too young and pretty to be so left to her own devices as she was by her Husband, who seemed to wish nothing more of her but the credit of having a pretty, well-dressed Wife.”
Mrs. Ruskin obtained a divorce; resumed her maiden name, and was married to J. E. Millais, later president of the Royal Academy, in July, 1855. After a lapse of many years, in speaking of this unfortunate episode in his life, Ruskin said, “I have had many deep sorrows, but this was not one of them.”
“No blame appears to be attached to either side (writes Ada Earland). Lady Millais made an admirable wife. She was much better suited to Millais than Ruskin. . . . Millais fully appreciated her worth. Her previous marriage barred her from Court. His dying request was that Queen Victoria would receive his wife. He had his desire: she was sent for by command.”
Seven Lamps of Architecture. This book, written between November, 1848, and April, 1849, is the first of those that were illustrated by Ruskin himself. Hamerton's comment would indicate that the work was well done: “No architectural draughtsman whom I can name, with the one glorious exception of Méryon, has ever drawn buildings in a way comparable to Ruskin.”
The Seven Lamps are Truth, Beauty, Power, Sacrifice, Obedience, Labor, and Memory. This young reformer insisted that truth and beauty and absolute sincerity should enter into the construction of all buildings; "that a building should look what it is, and be what it is built to serve;" that the business of the architect is to decorate construction, not to construct decoration; and that a nation writes its autobiography in its architecture. In The Crown of Wild Olives he tells us, “The book I called Seven Lamps was to show that certain right states of temper and moral feeling were the magic powers by which all good architecture without exception had been produced."
As more people are interested in building than in painting, the book made a wider appeal than Modern Painters. “ It shook conventional ideas," writes Mr. Harrison, "to the roots,
' and flung forth a body of new and pregnant ideas.” The work is especially significant as giving decided indications of the germs of those ideas which led Ruskin a few years later to turn from art to man, to become a zealous reformer of social and political conditions rather than a critic of painting and architecture.
Stones of Venice.- Ruskin himself tells us that Stones of Venice had
no other aim than to show that the Gothic architecture of Venice had risen out of ... a state of pure national faith and of domestic virtue; and that its Renaissance architecture had risen out of ... a state of national infidelity and of domestic corruption.”
This is in accord with Ruskin's doctrine that all great art is the product of great and good souls — a noble theory, but one not in accord with the facts. Turner, Ruskin's idol, was not a great and noble soul; and, as Mr. F. Harrison points out in the case of architecture, the Parthenon, the Pantheon at Rome, the Church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, and St. Paul's in London were built in times when there appeared “some of the most scathing satires upon social and personal corruption that survive in Greek, Latin, Byzantine, and English literature."
After months of industrious study and the drawing of many sketches of the very stones that composed the Venetian palaces and churches, he published the first volume in 1851. After further studies in Venice he published the second volume in the spring of 1853. The last appeared in October of the same year.
The influence of Stones of Venice was twofold: it aroused an interest in Venetian architecture and modified some think injuriously — the development of English architecture; and second, it exerted a social influence.
In noting Ruskin's influence in awakening an interest in Venice, it must be remembered that the beauty and glory and romance of Venice, qualities made familiar to us by the pen of poet and the brush of artist, were not appreciated before Ruskin's time. In the eighteenth century Venice was considered "a city of murky shadows." The common opinion was expressed by
. Gibbon, who wrote in 1765, “Of all the towns in Italy, I am
least satisfied with Venice," and then in the same paragraph he refers to "a large square decorated with the worst architecture I ever saw," a strange description to apply to San Marco.
In Stones of Venice, as we also noted in Seven Lamps of Architecture, we find expression of Ruskin's growing interest in the social problems of his age.
As he studied architecture he felt more and more that the workman is greater than the work. His later vehement denunciation of modern social conditions is more than foreshadowed in Stones of Venice, especially in his chapter on “The Nature of Gothic Architecture" - the chapter in the second volume which Ruskin himself considered the most important in the book. Great art can be the product only of those who have freedom, and freedom means the opportunity to do work that is a joy.
“There might be more freedom in England (he writes), though her feudal lords’ lightest words were worth men's lives, and though the blood of the vexed husbandmen dropped in the furrows of her fields, than there is while the animation of her multitudes is sent like fuel to feed the factory smoke, and the strength of them is given daily to be wasted into the fineness of a web, or racked into the exactness of a line." Later this chapter was printed separately and distributed among workingmen.
Unto This Last. - The year 1860 marks a transition in the life of Ruskin; it was then that he turned from a passionate interest in art to an equally passionate interest in what used to be called political economy. To see and love the Beautiful had seemed the vital need of the public, but as he grew older he was deeply impressed by the misery and poverty of the millions. The beauty which is a joy forever should be a joy for all. How could the masses enjoy art, if they were hungry, ill-clad, and shelterless ? Unto This Last, the title taken from the Biblical phrase, “Unto this last as unto thee,” first appeared, 1860, as four essays in The Cornhill Magazine. Two years later the essays were published in book form. Combating the established Political Economy, the essays naturally'aroused much opposition. “It is no pleasure," wrote a critic, "to see genius mistaking its