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Quotes of the day: John Ruskin

Published Monday, January 20, 2014 @ 12:03 AM EST
Jan 20 2014

John Ruskin (February 8, 1819 - January 20, 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draftsman, watercolorist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, and botany to political economy. His writing styles and literary forms were equally varied. Ruskin penned essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale. The elaborate style that characterized his earliest writing on art was later superseded by a preference for plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. Click for full Wikipedia article.


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

Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know; it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.

Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty.

Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.

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

How false is the conception, how frantic the pursuit, of that treacherous phantom which men call Liberty.

In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.

In old times, men used their powers of painting to show the objects of faith; in later times, they used the objects of faith that they might show their powers of painting.

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

No small misery is caused by overworked and unhappy people, in the dark views which they necessarily take up themselves, and force upon others, of work itself.

Of human work none but what is bad can be perfect in its own bad way.

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

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies, for instance.

The distinguishing sign of slavery is to have a price, and to be bought for it.

The principle of all successful effort is to try to do not what is absolutely the best, but what is easily within our power, and suited for our temperament and condition.

The simplest and most necessary truths are always the last believed.

The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances, and demonstrations for impressions.

The world is full of vulgar Purists, who bring discredit on all selection by the silliness of their choice; and this the more, because the very becoming a Purist is commonly indicative of some slight degree of weakness, readiness to be offended, or narrowness of understanding of the ends of things.

There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.

There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

They are the weakest-minded and the hardest-hearted men, that most love variety and change.

What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.

When we build, let us think that we build for ever.

Whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of the poor.

You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil; buy it, by compromise with evil.

Categories: John Ruskin, Quotes of the day


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