The Wine Merchant’s Son: Ruskin’s Discovery of the World

  • Graham A. MacDonald


This chapter reviews Ruskin’s early years of education, his exposure to great literature and his mastery of Biblical texts in the home. His great interest in science, particularly geology, is noticed along with his positive early association with such figures as Charles Darwin and Charles Lyell. His encouragement in poetry and interest in art culminated in the production of the first two volumes of Modern Painters in which were suspended a definite morality of art. In preparing the second volume he became familiar with the works of the Elizabethan Richard Hooker, which exercised considerable influence on his writing style and general thought.

During the years leading up to his marriage in 1848, lessons of travel helped foster a broader appreciation for the historical context of the art of old Catholic Europe, thereby modifying his narrower domestic Protestant views and stimulating a shift in attention towards the significance of architecture. The first signs of hostility towards the Renaissance, a still scarcely explored period concept, are displayed in these years.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham A. MacDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.ParksvilleCanada

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