[Note one to "There Began to Be a Great Talking about the Fine Arts," which originally appeared as a chapter in The Mind and Art of Victorian England, ed. Josef P. Altholz (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1976).]

Histories of Technique

Sir Charles Eastlake, president of the Royal Academy, produced Materials for a History of Oil Painting (1847), which he expanded and reissued in 1869 with the same title; it was later called Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters. Ruskin's fine review of Eastlake's first volume, which took it to task for making no connections between the methods and materials of art and the styles they produced, awakened Lady Eastlake's undying hostility to the author of Modern Painters. Its first sign was a number of anonymous attacks on Ruskin in the Quarterly Review (to which he had contributed his estimate of her husband's work), and she later became the most passionate advocate and defender of Ruskin's wife when the critic's marriage was dissolved.

Iconographical Studies

Mrs. Jameson's various books, which include Sacred and Legendary Art in three parts (1848, 1850, and 1852), contain valuable information about medieval and Renaissance iconography. Ruskin did not much care for her work, but for Lord Lindsay's three-volume Sketches of the History of Christian Art (1847), which he reviewed, he frequently expressed admiration and indebtedness, although he did not accept many of Lindsay's theories.

I have discussed Ruskin's own iconographic analyses, which occur in Modern Painters, The Stones of Venice, and many other works, in the fifth chapter of The Aesthetic and Critical Theories of John Ruskin (1971); it is now available as part of the Victorian Web.

Treatises on Aesthetic and Critical Theory

Eneas Sweetland Dallas, a contemporary of Ruskin, wrote both Poetics (1852) and The Gay Science (1866). The third and fourth volumes of Modern Painters contain the most important parts of Ruskin's own contributions on this subject.

Pamphlets and Manifestoes

Artists and their supporters produced often detailed catalogues, key-plates, descriptions, pamphlets, and manifestoes, such as those written by Holman Hunt and F. G. Stephens, on the occasion of major exhibitions. Stephens's William Holman Hunt and His Works (1860), which draws heavily upon the critic's periodical writings (particularly those published in the American Crayon), was written specifically for the exhibition of the painter's Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, while for his later exhibitions Hunt wrote at least part of each pamphlet himself.

Created in or before 2000
Last modified 30 April 2024