John Ruskin Biography
(Art Critic and Painter)
Birthday: February 8, 1819 (Aquarius)
Born In: England
John Ruskin was an English artist and a leading art critic of the Victorian era. A multi-faceted individual, he was also a prominent social thinker and writer who wrote on varied subjects including geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, and political economy. A nature lover, his artworks were often of plants, birds, landscapes and he emphasized on the connections between nature, art, and society in his writings. The only son of a prosperous merchant, he developed an early interest in art, primarily influenced by his father’s collection of watercolor paintings. As a young man he was influenced by the works of painters such as J.M.W. Turner, John Constable, and John Sell Cotman, and the writings of preachers like Charles Simeon, John Keble, Thomas Arnold, and John Henry Newman. He also travelled widely which inspired his artistic pursuits. He gained widespread recognition for what became the first volume of ‘Modern Painters’, a book on art criticism. The popularity of the book prompted him to add later volumes in subsequent years. In addition to art he was knowledgeable about several other subjects as well. He also published a series of social essays in the ‘Cornhill Magazine’ that he later collected as ‘Unto This Last’ and authored a series of articles on economic subjects, published in ‘Fraser's Magazine’.