John Ruskin, View from my Window at Mornex, c. 1862-1863
Images from Wikimedia Commons
John Ruskin, Rocks and Vegetation, Chamonix, c. 1854
John Ruskin, The Casa d'Oro Venice, 1845
Looking to see what other reviewers in Canada made of it, I came upon the Ottawa Magazine, whose 'Artful Blogger' finds Ruskin's private life far more intriguing than his art and concludes with a reference to his 'steamy landscapes' in which there is a hidden sexual element. Much more useful is a review on The Victorian Web, that venerable website which is clearly still putting up valuable and interesting material. And the short video tour with curator Christopher Newall that I've embedded below is well worth a watch. In it he describes Ruskin's fascination with the individuality and craftsmanship of the Byzantine capitals used in building St Mark's, and horror at plans to reconstruct the facade of the basilica, which were fortunately thwarted. He talks about Ruskin's intricate sketch of glacial rocks in Scotland and his passion for stones in both architecture and landscape (Ruskin said that had he not discovered the art of Tintoretto, he would have written a book called The Stones of Chamonix). He also refers to Ruskin's bipolarity, but in a way that illuminates the painting - a vivid sketch of winter sunset on the Venetian lagoon conveys the delight Ruskin clearly felt at the time, but writing later in his diary, Ruskin regretted that he had felt the beauty of the place so intensely that he was now 'suffering the consequences'.