John RuskinEnglish Romantic Writer and Painter, 1819-1900
English art critic. Born into a wealthy family, Ruskin was largely educated at home. He was a gifted painter, but the best of his talent went into his writing. His multivolume Modern Painters (1843 C 60), planned as a defense of painter J.M.W. Turner, expanded to become a general survey of art. In Turner he saw "truth to nature" in landscape painting, and he went on to find the same truthfulness in Gothic architecture. His other writings include The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and The Stones of Venice (1851 C 53). He was also a defender of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1869 he was elected Oxford's first Slade professor of fine art; he resigned in 1879 after James McNeill Whistler won a libel suit against him.