John Ruskin - Art, Society and Ideology

Drawing from Nature

From an early age, Ruskin developed a passion for collecting things, especially rocks and minerals. He carried this hobby into his adult life to such an extent that he employed people to travel across Europe to add to his collection by creating detailed studies or collecting geology.

His vision for the museum was to offer the working class a chance to improve their lives by seeing beautiful things and learning from them. At this time the working people of Sheffield would have had little opportunity to travel to the country and enjoy the natural world. Their city would have been polluted and densely populated with factories and poor quality housing.

'Trees and fields and flowers were made for all, and are necessary for all.'  John Ruskin, Nature of Gothic (read more Ruskin quotations here)

Ruskin chose the items for his museum with education in mind, and included inspirational objects from nature to encourage students to draw and study.

He felt that we are happiest when the objects around us combine both good pattern and design. He wanted our everyday world to have beauty in it and believed that the beauty of nature could inspire artists and crafts people.

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Document icon Learning article provided by: Museums Sheffield: Millennium Gallery | 
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