Press Release

Ruskin, Turner and The Pre-Raphaelites

Tate Britain
9 March – 29 May 2000

Ruskin, Turner and The Pre-Raphaelites at the Tate Gallery is a major exhibition marking the centenary of John Ruskin’s death in 1900, and launches a year of international celebrations of his life and work. Sponsored by Sun Life and Provincial Holdings plc, the exhibition brings together more than 250 works from all over the world, including masterpieces by Turner, Millais, Holman Hunt, Rossetti, Burne-Jones and Ruskin himself. The exhibition is designed by Richard MacCormac, the award-winning architect of the Ruskin Library, Lancaster.

John Ruskin (1819–1900) is the greatest critic of art, culture and society Britain has ever produced. His influence on artists, architects, writers and politicians including personalities as diverse as Proust, Gandhi, Tolstoy and the founders of the Labour movement in Britain, make him one of the formative thinkers of the modern age.

Ruskin was the first art critic to make his reputation by championing the work of his contemporaries, beginning with Turner in his celebrated book, Modern Painters. He was also an exceptional artist in his own right. The exhibition explores the modernity of Ruskin’s vision, presenting him as a critic writing about his contemporaries and showing the works he praised, inspired or condemned.

One of his greatest achievements was to launch the campaign for the preservation of Venice, the city which engaged his imagination throughout his life, and which was the subject of some of his finest works.

Highlights of the exhibition will include previously undiscovered or rarely seen drawings by Ruskin; loans from the Lloyd Webber collection, the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the Capitoline Museum, Rome; and Turner’s masterpiece, Slavers 1840, on loan from the Boston Museum of Fine Art. Ruskin said of this work, which he once owned: ‘If I were reduced to rest Turner’s immortality upon a single work, I should choose this’.

A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition with essays by Robert Hewison, cultural historian and Oxford University’s Slade Professor of Fine Art in 2000, and co-curator of the exhibition with Ian Warrell, Tate Gallery, and Stephen Wildman, Curator of the Ruskin Library, Lancaster University (£29.99pb, 288pp).

Opening Hours: Daily 10.00–17.50 Last Admission: 17.00