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John Ruskin

John Ruskin (1819 - 1900) was an English art critic. He travelled widely in Europe between 1833 and 1888. In 1840 he met the painter Turner and three years later published the first of five volumes of 'Modern Painters', which originated as a defence and appreciation of the work of Turner.

Ruskin's numerous books also deal with aesthetics, architecture (notably that of Venice, in 'Stones of Venice') and aspects of social reform and politics. He championed the virtues of medieval art and supported the Pre-Raphaelites, but damned other contemporary painters, among them Whistler who brought a famous libel suit against him.

Ruskin was himself an accomplished draughtsman and watercolourist. 

Discover what Ruskin had to say about National Gallery paintings