Best quotes by the English Writer John Ruskin

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.
  • Ability

Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty.
  • patience

When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package.
  • Ego

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.
  • Color



The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.
  • Work

In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.
  • Pride

Summer is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
  • Weather

The best work never was and never will be done for money.
  • Work

When we build, let us think that we build for ever.
  • Architecture

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies, for instance.
  • Beauty

You should read books like you take medicine, by advice, and not by advertisement.
  • Reading

Tell me what you like and I'll tell you what you are.
  • Desires

You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil; buy it, by compromise with evil.
  • Peace

The best thing in life aren't things.
  • Value

Doing is the great thing, for if people resolutely do what is right, they come in time to like doing it.
  • Enjoyment

Nothing can be beautiful which is not true.
  • Beauty

The distinctive character of a child is to always live in the tangible present.
  • Children

The strength and power of a country depends absolutely on the quantity of good men and women in it.
  • Nation

People are eternally divided into two classes, the believer, builder, and praiser, and the unbeliever, destroyer and critic.
  • People

To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education.
  • Honesty

Out of suffering comes the serious mind; out of salvation, the grateful heart; out of endurance, fortitude; out of deliverance faith.
  • Faith

It is far better to give work that is above a person, than to educate the person to be above their work.
  • Goals

It takes a great deal of living to get a little deal of learning.
  • Learning

A book worth reading is worth buying.
  • Reading

Nothing is ever done beautifully which is done in rivalship: or nobly, which is done in pride.
  • Business

Music when healthy, is the teacher of perfect order, and when depraved, the teacher of perfect disorder.
  • Music

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.
  • money

The first condition of education is being able to put someone to wholesome and meaningful work.
  • Education

No human being, however great, or powerful, was ever so free as a fish.
  • Fish

Your labor only may be sold, your soul must not.
  • Individuality


Pictures quotes by John Ruskin

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John Ruskin Quotes About

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John Ruskin art quotes

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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.
  • art

In old times men used their powers of painting to show the objects of faith, in later times they use the objects of faith to show their powers of painting.
  • Art

What distinguishes a great artist from a weak one is first their sensibility and tenderness; second, their imagination, and third, their industry.
  • Art

I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face.
  • Art

No art can be noble which is incapable of expressing thought, and no art is capable of expressing thought which does not change.
  • Art

Depend upon it, the first universal characteristic of all great art is Tenderness, as the second is Truth. I find this more and more every day: an infinitude of tenderness is the chief gift and inheritance of all the truly great men. It is sure to involve a relative intensity of disdain towards base things, and an appearance of sternness and arrogance in the eyes of all hard, stupid, and vulgar people
  • Art

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.
  • art

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.
  • art

He is the greatest artist who has embodied, in the sum of his works, the greatest number of the greatest ideas.
  • artist

Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts - the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art.
  • art

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John Ruskin architecture quotes

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When we build, let us think that we build for ever.
  • Architecture

No architecture is so haughty as that which is simple.
  • Architecture

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.
  • Architecture

We may live without her, and worship without her, but we cannot remember without her. How cold is all history, how lifeless all imagery, compared to that which the living nation writes, and the uncorrupted marble bears!
  • Architecture

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.
  • Architecture

It seems a fantastic paradox, but it is nevertheless a most important truth, that no architecture can be truly noble which is not imperfect.
  • architecture

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.
  • architecture

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John Ruskin reading quotes

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You should read books like you take medicine, by advice, and not by advertisement.
  • Reading

A book worth reading is worth buying.
  • Reading

Books are divided into two classes, the books of the hour and the books of all time.
  • Reading

Be sure that you go to the author to get at his meaning, not to find yours.
  • Reading

How long most people would look at the best book before they would give the price of a large turbot for it?
  • Reading

To use books rightly, is to go to them for help; to appeal to them when our own knowledge and power fail; to be led by them into wider sight and purer conception than our own, and to receive from them the united sentence of the judges and councils of all time, against our solitary and unstable opinions.
  • Reading

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John Ruskin children quotes

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The distinctive character of a child is to always live in the tangible present.
  • Children

You may chisel a boy into shape, as you would a rock, or hammer him into it, if he be of a better kind, as you would a piece of bronze. But you cannot hammer a girl into anything. She grows as a flower does.
  • Children

In great countries, children are always trying to remain children, and the parents want to make them into adults. In vile countries, the children are always wanting to be adults and the parents want to keep them children.
  • Children

Children see in their parents the past, their parents see in them the future; and if we find more love in the parents for their children than in children for their parents, this is sad but natural. Who does not entertain his hopes more than his recollections.
  • Children

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John Ruskin nature quotes

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The sky is the part of creation in which nature has done for the sake of pleasing man.
  • Nature

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.
  • nature

Mountains are to the rest of the body of the earth, what violent muscular action is to the body of man. The muscles and tendons of its anatomy are, in the mountain, brought out with force and convulsive energy, full of expression, passion, and strength.
  • Nature

Of all the things that oppress me, this sense of the evil working of nature herself --my disgust at her barbarity --clumsiness --darkness --bitter mockery of herself --is the most desolating.
  • Nature

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More quotes by John Ruskin

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There is no wealth but life.
  • Life

Books are divided into two classes, the books of the hour and the books of all time.
  • Reading

Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation.
  • Talent

Government and cooperation are in all things the laws of life. Anarchy and competition, the laws of death.
  • Unity



Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.
  • Authors

An unimaginative person can neither be reverent or kind.
  • Imagination

It is advisable that a person know at least three things, where they are, where they are going, and what they had best do under the circumstances.
  • Life

Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
  • Property

Whether for life or death, do your own work well.
  • Quality

A thing is worth what it can do for you, not what you choose to pay for it.
  • Value

All violent feelings have the same effect. They produce in us a falseness in all our impressions of external things, which I would generally characterize as the pathetic fallacy.
  • characterize

No great intellectual thing was ever done by great effort.
  • Ability

The anger of a person who is strong, can always bide its time.
  • Anger

No architecture is so haughty as that which is simple.
  • Architecture

It is excellent discipline for an author to feel that he must say all that he has to say in the fewest possible words, or his readers is sure to skip them.
  • Authors

Give little love to a child, and you get a great deal back.
  • Charity

Of all God's gifts to the sighted man, color is holiest, the most divine, the most solemn.
  • Color

One who does not know when to die, does not know how to live.
  • Death

Men cannot not live by exchanging articles, but producing them. They live by work not trade.
  • Economics

Every great man is always being helped by everybody; for his gift is to get good out of all things and all persons.
  • Help

It is not how much one makes but to what purpose one spends.
  • Money

The last act crowns the play.
  • PlayGames

The higher a man stands, the more the word vulgar becomes unintelligible to him.
  • Profanity

What is the cheapest to you now is likely to be the dearest to you in the end.
  • Quality

If a great thing can be done, it can be done easily, but this ease is like the ease of a tree blossoming after long years of gathering strength.
  • Strength

The common practice of keeping up appearances with society is a mere selfish struggle of the vain with the vain.
  • Vanity

To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.
  • poetry

The essence of lying is in deception, not in words.
  • deception

Our duty is to preserve what the past has had to say for itself, and to say for ourselves what shall be true for the future.

No person who is well bred, kind and modest is ever offensively plain; all real deformity means want for manners or of heart.
  • Appearance

They are the weakest-minded and the hardest-hearted men that most love change.
  • Change

The beginning and almost the end of all good law is that everyone shall work for their bread and receive good bread for their work.
  • Charity

People cannot live by lending money to one another.
  • Debt

Large fortunes are all founded either on the occupation of land, or lending or the taxation of labor.
  • Fortune

A great thing can only be done by a great person; and they do it without effort.
  • Greatness

The imagination is never governed, it is always the ruling and divine power.
  • Imagination

Imaginary evils soon become real one by indulging our reflections on them.
  • Imagination

Once thoroughly our own knowledge ceases to give us pleasure.
  • Knowledge

The secret of language is the secret of sympathy and its full charm is possible only to the gentle.
  • Language

They are good furniture pictures, unworthy of praise, and undeserving of blame.
  • Mediocrity

The sky is the part of creation in which nature has done for the sake of pleasing man.
  • Nature

No good work whatever can be perfect, and the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art.
  • Perfection

It is his restraint that is honorable to a person, not their liberty.
  • Restraint

It is far more difficult to be simple than to be complicated; far more difficult to sacrifice skill and easy execution in the proper place, than to expand both indiscriminately.
  • Simplicity

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.
  • art

Let every dawn be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close.
  • beginning

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.
  • Ability

Civilization is the making of civil persons.
  • Civilization

Fit yourself for the best society, and then, never enter it.
  • Class

The child who desires education will be bettered by it; the child who dislikes it disgraced.
  • Education

Modern education has devoted itself to the teaching of impudence, and then we complain that we can no longer control our mobs.
  • Education

You cannot get anything out of nature or from God by gambling; only out of your neighbor.
  • Gambling

Life without industry is guilt. Industry without Art is Brutality.
  • Guilt

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.
  • Humanity

No good is ever done to society by the pictorial representation of its diseases.
  • Photography

Be sure that you go to the author to get at his meaning, not to find yours.
  • Reading

How long most people would look at the best book before they would give the price of a large turbot for it?
  • Reading

The root of almost every schism and heresy from which the Christian Church has suffered, has been because of the effort of men to earn, rather than receive their salvation; and the reason preaching is so commonly ineffective is, that it often calls on people to work for God rather than letting God work through them.
  • Religion

The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances, and demonstrations for impressions.
  • Science

The distinguishing sign of slavery is to have a price, and to be bought for it.
  • Slavery

Some slaves are scoured to their work by whips, others by their restlessness and ambition.
  • Slavery

It does not matter what the whip is; it is none the less a whip, because you have cut thongs for it out of your own souls.
  • Slavery

Spiritual power begins by directing animal power to other than egoistic ends.
  • Spirituality

What right have you to take the word wealth, which originally meant well-being, and degrade and narrow it by confining it to certain sorts of material objects measured by money.
  • Wealth

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
  • Weather

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.
  • nature

Modern travelling is not travelling at all; it is merely being sent to a place, and very little different from becoming a parcel.
  • becoming

The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world... to see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all in one.
  • clearly

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance.
  • beautiful

To give alms is nothing unless you give thought also.
  • alms

All books are divisible into two classes: the books of the hours, and the books of all Time.
  • books

God has lent us the earth for our life; it is a great entail. It belongs as much to those who are to come after us, and whose names are already written in the book of creation, as to us; and we have no right, by anything that we do or neglect, to involve them in unnecessary penalties, or deprive them of benefits which it was in our power to bequeath.

Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts, the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others, but of the three the only trustworthy one is the last.

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.
  • Architecture

We may live without her, and worship without her, but we cannot remember without her. How cold is all history, how lifeless all imagery, compared to that which the living nation writes, and the uncorrupted marble bears!
  • Architecture

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.
  • Architecture

In old times men used their powers of painting to show the objects of faith, in later times they use the objects of faith to show their powers of painting.
  • Art

What distinguishes a great artist from a weak one is first their sensibility and tenderness; second, their imagination, and third, their industry.
  • Art

I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face.
  • Art

No art can be noble which is incapable of expressing thought, and no art is capable of expressing thought which does not change.
  • Art

Depend upon it, the first universal characteristic of all great art is Tenderness, as the second is Truth. I find this more and more every day: an infinitude of tenderness is the chief gift and inheritance of all the truly great men. It is sure to involve a relative intensity of disdain towards base things, and an appearance of sternness and arrogance in the eyes of all hard, stupid, and vulgar people
  • Art

One of the prevailing sources of misery and crime is in the generally accepted assumption, that because things have been wrong a long time, it is impossible they will ever be right.
  • Change

You may chisel a boy into shape, as you would a rock, or hammer him into it, if he be of a better kind, as you would a piece of bronze. But you cannot hammer a girl into anything. She grows as a flower does.
  • Children

In great countries, children are always trying to remain children, and the parents want to make them into adults. In vile countries, the children are always wanting to be adults and the parents want to keep them children.
  • Children

Children see in their parents the past, their parents see in them the future; and if we find more love in the parents for their children than in children for their parents, this is sad but natural. Who does not entertain his hopes more than his recollections.
  • Children

We have seen when the earth had to be prepared for the habitation of man, a veil, as it were, of intermediate being was spread between him and its darkness, in which were joined in a subdued measure, the stability and insensibility of the earth, and the passion and perishing of mankind.
  • Creation

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.
  • DeceptionLying

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.
  • Doubt

Freedom is only granted us that obedience may be more perfect.
  • Freedom

Men are more evanescent than pictures, yet one sorrows for lost friends, and pictures are my friends. I have none others. I am never long enough with men to attach myself to them; and whatever feelings of attachment I have are to material things.
  • Friends

To watch the corn grow, or the blossoms set; to draw hard breath over the plough or spade; to read, to think, to love, to pray, are the things that make men happy.
  • Happiness

It is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture. That which I have... insisted upon as the life of the whole, that spirit which is given only by the hand and eye of the workman, can never be recalled.
  • Heritage

If men lived like men indeed, their houses would be temples -- temples which we should hardly dare to injure, and in which it would make us holy to be permitted to live; and there must be a strange dissolution of natural affection, a strange unthankfulness for all that homes have given and parents taught, a strange consciousness that we have been unfaithful to our fathers honor, or that our own lives are not such as would make our dwellings sacred to our children, when each man would fain build to himself, and build for the little revolution of his own life only.
  • Home

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.
  • Humility

It is eminently a weariable faculty, eminently delicate, and incapable of bearing fatigue; so that if we give it too many objects at a time to employ itself upon, or very grand ones for a long time together, it fails under the effort, becomes jaded, exactly as the limbs do by bodily fatigue, and incapable of answering any farther appeal till it has had rest.
  • Imagination

The great cry that rises from all our manufacturing cities, louder than the furnace blast, is all in very deed for this -- that we manufacture everything there except men.
  • Industry

It is not, truly speaking, the labor that is divided; but the men: divided into mere segments of men --broken into small fragments and crumbs of life, so that all the little piece of intelligence that is left in a man is not enough to make a pin, or a nail, but exhausts itself in making the point of a pin or the head of a nail.
  • Labor

How false is the conception, how frantic the pursuit, of that treacherous phantom which men call Liberty: most treacherous, indeed, of all phantoms; for the feeblest ray of reason might surely show us, that not only its attainment, but its being, was impossible. There is no such thing in the universe. There can never be. The stars have it not; the earth has it not; the sea has it not; and we men have the mockery and semblance of it only for our heaviest punishment.
  • Liberty

What do we, as a nation, care about books? How much do you think we spend altogether on our libraries, public or private, as compared with what we spend on our horses?
  • Libraries

Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts -- the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art.
  • Nation

Mountains are to the rest of the body of the earth, what violent muscular action is to the body of man. The muscles and tendons of its anatomy are, in the mountain, brought out with force and convulsive energy, full of expression, passion, and strength.
  • Nature

Of all the things that oppress me, this sense of the evil working of nature herself --my disgust at her barbarity --clumsiness --darkness --bitter mockery of herself --is the most desolating.
  • Nature

Obey something, and you will have a chance to learn what is best to obey. But if you begin by obeying nothing, you will end by obeying the devil and all his invited friends.
  • Obedience

Punishment is the last and the least effective instrument in the hands of the legislator for the prevention of crime.
  • Punishment

To use books rightly, is to go to them for help; to appeal to them when our own knowledge and power fail; to be led by them into wider sight and purer conception than our own, and to receive from them the united sentence of the judges and councils of all time, against our solitary and unstable opinions.
  • Reading

Nearly all the evils in the Church have arisen from bishops desiring power more than light. They want authority, not outlook.
  • Religion

Let every dawn of the morning be to you as the beginning of life. And let every setting of the sun be to you as its close. Then let everyone of these short lives leave its sure record of some kindly thing done for others; some good strength of knowledge gained for yourself.
  • Service

No one can become rich by the efforts of only their toil, but only by the discovery of some method of taxing the labor of others.
  • Taxation

In health of mind and body, men should see with their own eyes, hear and speak without trumpets, walk on their feet, not on wheels, and work and war with their arms, not with engine-beams, nor rifles warranted to kill twenty men at a shot before you can see them.
  • Technology

Along the iron veins that traverse the frame of our country, beat and flow the fiery pulses of its exertion, hotter and faster every hour. All vitality is concentrated through those throbbing arteries into the central cities; the country is passed over like a green sea by narrow bridges, and we are thrown back in continually closer crowds on the city gates.
  • Trains

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.
  • Unions

Success by the laws of competition signifies a victory over others by obtaining the direction and profits of their work. This is the real source of all great riches.
  • Wealth

I have not written in vain if I have heretofore done anything towards diminishing the reputation of the Renaissance landscape painting.
  • anything

It seems a fantastic paradox, but it is nevertheless a most important truth, that no architecture can be truly noble which is not imperfect.
  • architecture

I believe the right question to ask, respecting all ornament, is simply this; was it done with enjoyment, was the carver happy while he was about it?
  • ask

Whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of the poor.
  • declared

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.
  • clothes

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.
  • affectation

The first duty of a state is to see that every child born therein shall be well housed, clothed, fed and educated till it attains years of discretion.
  • attains

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.
  • art


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Part 2
John Ruskin pictures quotes

Part 3
John Ruskin's Quotes About ...
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Part 4
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