Famous Quotes By John Ruskin


  1. A great thing can only be done by a great person and they do it without effort.
  2. A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.
  3. All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing without shrinking into the darkness.
  4. All great art is the work of the whole living creature, body and soul, and chiefly of the soul.
  5. All that we call ideal in Greek or any other art, because to us it is false and visionary, was, to the makers of it, true and existent.
  6. An architect should live as little in cities as a painter. Send him to our hills, and let him study there what nature understands by a buttress, and what by a dome.
  7. Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth.
  8. Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be enjoyed as light.
  9. Better the rudest work that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest without meaning.
  10. Do not think of your faults, still less of other's faults look for what is good and strong, and try to imitate it. Your faults will drop off, like dead leaves, when their time comes.
  11. Doing is the great thing, for if people resolutely do what is right, they come in time to like doing it.
  12. Education is the leading of human souls to what is best, and making what is best out of them.
  13. Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty.
  14. Every great person is always being helped by everybody for their gift is to get good out of all things and all persons.
  15. Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.
  16. Give a little love to a child, and you get a great deal back.
  17. Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts - the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art.
  18. He that would be angry and sin not, must not be angry with anything but sin.
  19. How long most people would look at the best book before they would give the price of a large turbot for it?
  20. I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.
  21. In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.
  22. 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.
  23. It is in this power of saying everything, and yet saying nothing too plainly, that the perfection of art consists.
  24. It is written on the arched sky it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.
  25. It seems a fantastic paradox, but it is nevertheless a most important truth, that no architecture can be truly noble which is not imperfect.
  26. 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.
  27. Men cannot not live by exchanging articles, but producing them. They live by work not trade.
  28. Men don't and can't live by exchanging articles, but by producing them. They don't live by trade, but by work. Give up that foolish and vain title of Trades Unions and take that of laborers Unions.
  29. Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools, to be precise and perfect in all their actions.
  30. Modern education has devoted itself to the teaching of impudence, and then we complain that we can no longer control our mobs.
  31. Music when healthy, is the teacher of perfect order, and when depraved, the teacher of perfect disorder.
  32. 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.
  33. No architecture is so haughty as that which is simple.
  34. No art can be noble which is incapable of expressing thought, and no art is capable of expressing thought which does not change.
  35. No good is ever done to society by the pictorial representation of its diseases.
  36. No human being, however great, or powerful, was ever so free as a fish.
  37. No lying knight or lying priest ever prospered in any age, but especially not in the dark ones. Men prospered then only in following an openly declared purpose, and preaching candidly beloved and trusted creeds.
  38. No person who is not a great sculptor or painter can be an architect. If he is not a sculptor or painter, he can only be a builder.
  39. Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation.
  40. Some slaves are scoured to their work by whips, others by their restlessness and ambition.
  41. Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
  42. The art which we may call generally art of the wayside, as opposed to that which is the business of men's lives, is, in the best sense of the word, Grotesque.
  43. The child who desires education will be bettered by it the child who dislikes it disgraced.
  44. The first condition of education is being able to put someone to wholesome and meaningful work.
  45. 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.
  46. The first test of a truly great man is his humility. By humility I don't mean doubt of his powers or hesitation in speaking his opinion, but merely an understanding of the relationship of what he can say and what he can do.
  47. The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world... to see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.
  48. 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.
  49. The sky is the part of creation in which nature has done for the sake of pleasing man.
  50. The strength and power of a country depends absolutely on the quantity of good men and women in it.
  51. The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances, and demonstrations for impressions.
  52. There is never vulgarity in a whole truth, however commonplace. It may be unimportant or painful. It cannot be vulgar. Vulgarity is only in concealment of truth, or in affectation.
  53. There is no wealth but life.
  54. To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education.
  55. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.
  56. We require from buildings two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it.
  57. When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.
  58. Whether for life or death, do your own work well.
  59. You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil buy it, by compromise with evil.
  60. You might sooner get lightning out of incense smoke than true action or passion out of your modern English religion.

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