1 / 4


Quotes by John Ruskin

  • English writer
  • Born February 8, 1819
  • Died January 20, 1900

John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy. His writing styles and literary forms were equally varied. He penned essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale.


To know anything well involves a profound sensation of ignorance.


The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world... to see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.




It is in this power of saying everything, and yet saying nothing too plainly, that the perfection of art consists.




Modern travelling is not travelling at all; it is merely being sent to a place, and very little different from becoming a parcel.




All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing without shrinking into the darkness.




Give a little love to a child, and you get a great deal back.


Let every dawn be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close.




Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books.




Education is the leading of human souls to what is best, and making what is best out of them.




A thing is worth what it can do for you, not what you choose to pay for it.


The first duty of government is to see that people have food, fuel, and clothes. The second, that they have means of moral and intellectual education.




It seems a fantastic paradox, but it is nevertheless a most important truth, that no architecture can be truly noble which is not imperfect.




It is not how much one makes but to what purpose one spends.




What do we, as a nation, care about books? How much do you think we spend altogether on our libraries, public or private, as compared with what we spend on our horses?




Man's only true happiness is to live in hope of something to be won by him. Reverence something to be worshipped by him, and love something to be cherished by him, forever.




He that would be angry and sin not, must not be angry with anything but sin.




Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts - the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art.




Nearly all the powerful people of this age are unbelievers, the best of them in doubt and misery, the most in plodding hesitation, doing as well as they can, what practical work lies at hand.




Every great person is always being helped by everybody; for their gift is to get good out of all things and all persons.




The higher a man stands, the more the word vulgar becomes unintelligible to him.




Punishment is the last and the least effective instrument in the hands of the legislator for the prevention of crime.




No architecture is so haughty as that which is simple.




All books are divisible into two classes, the books of the hour, and the books of all time.


No good is ever done to society by the pictorial representation of its diseases.




Modern education has devoted itself to the teaching of impudence, and then we complain that we can no longer control our mobs.




To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.




Taste is the only morality. Tell me what you like and I'll tell you what you are.


In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.




No art can be noble which is incapable of expressing thought, and no art is capable of expressing thought which does not change.




Doing is the great thing, for if people resolutely do what is right, they come in time to like doing it.



1 / 4