The Two Paths

Within John Ruskin's Book "The Two Paths" he discusses many of his ideas, concerns and theories on art and art culture. I will cover but four of what I think to be the more interesting concepts. Balancing true representation of form and'abstract' human expression in an artwork. The effect art has on a cultures behaviour and vice versa. The idea that the human hand will never be surpassed in its ability to create true art. And finally, I will discuss Ruskin's position on the distinction between art for arts sake, or art for self-recognition and wealth.
Born in London, February 8, 1819, John Ruskin was destined to be either a man of God or a man of art and literature. His mother Margaret Cox was a devoted Christian who had dedicated her only child to God before Ruskin was even born. Hisfirst education was to be that of the bible, and due to his mother's strict policy of being a Christian, he would end up learning it well. His father, though no less strict, was a highly cultured man. He was not only a collector of art, but also a lover and writer of poetry. This mix of strictness and culture, caused Ruskin's upbringing to be a very successful one in which he learnt to write verse by the age of eight, began taking lessons from a drawing master at age ten, and had hisfirst works published by the age of fifteen. It was his strict upbringing, his educated outlook on the world and a copy of Roger's "Italy" by which was partly illustrated by J.M.W. Turner that influenced his stance on the world of art, architecture and poetry all around him. Although Ruskin suffered from a lot of mental illness throughout his life he was still able to write the most profound statements that often seem to encapsulate what I think to be the truth about art.
"Of all writers on art, Ruskin is the most difficult to evaluate today" (Fishman,1963, 14). This statement is certainly powerful, and …

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