John Ruskin

The North-West Angle of the Facade of St Mark’s, Venice

Not on display

John Ruskin 1819–1900
Watercolour and graphite on paper
Support: 940 × 610 mm
Presented by the Art Fund 1914

Display caption

John Ruskin undertook a detailed study of the façade of St Mark’s in the years before beginning his book The Stones of Venice in 1851. He made measurements, diagrams and daguerreotypes as well as drawings and watercolours. This representation differs from conventional views of the landmark. The section of wall fills the paper in a relief of light and shadow.

Ruskin saw the Venetian Gothic style of architecture as appropriate for modern Britain, at that time a maritime trading nation as Venice had once been. Round arches, columns, capitals and polychrome brick became a familiar feature of Victorian architecture.

Gallery label, October 2013

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