John Ruskin | Contextual Theory For Designers

5 Feb

John Ruskin (1819-1900) was an art critic, socialist, anti-capitalist and anti-industrualist. He was involved with William Morris during his life, and inspired William to develop the society for the protection of ancient buildings.

He was a patron for the Arts and Crafts movement, and the philosophy was focused on his work. Because he was an anti-industrialist, he was extremely against the use of ‘the machine’, and disagreed with the manufacture of ‘Cheap and Nasty’ mass produced goods of the Victorian era. He stated that during the renaissance period, there was a decline in professional artwork due to industrialisation, and there was a process of separating art from society.

John Ruskin’s aesthetic philosophies and theories were adapted by William Morris (1834-1896), and his close friend Edward Burne-Jones (1833-98). His ideologies that we became the ‘slave to the machine’ is exemplified in the poor printmaking below, where typefaces seem to be pushed together without thought, and the quality is very low as quantity was the main requirement.

Pre-Raphaelite Movement

The Pre-Raphaelite movement, strongly influenced by Ruskin, was founded in 1849 by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), D.G. Rosetti, Johen Millais, William Rosetti, James Collinson, Thomas Woolner and F.G. Stephens. They were a group of avante-garde painters who were associated with John Ruskin. They have greatly affected a global appreciation of art, as well as including a romantic element to their work. They used true principles of art to complete their work.

Pandora (1869)

Pandora (1869)
Dante Gabriel Rosetti
The Faringdon Collection Trust










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