Review of The Life of John Ruskin by W. G. Collingwood

This as an authoritative biography of John Ruskin unveils the life, works and time of the influential nineteenth century art critic and literary figure. Drawing immensely from Ruskin’s diaries and a mighty volume of unpublished letters and several other insightful documents it offers the reader fresh portrait of the personality in its totality. Besides offering lively insight in the backdrop of Ruskin’s life the volume also provides key for a better understanding of Ruskin’s works published in several volumes. The beautiful account of his early life and upbringing apart, the book on The Life of John Ruskin by W. G. Collingwood also unveils the influence of Victorian household in shaping his artistic spirit. From his travels around continents to closer look at his friends, acquaintances and relations to the development of his aesthetic values and refinement of his tastes, the biography portrays each and every aspect of this artist-prodigy’s life.

Introducing John Ruskin

Understanding the present biography and its significance requires having some basic information on the importance of John Ruskin as the invaluable art critic who to this day is respected world over for introducing his contemporary artists to the wider audience and his critical writings on art and society. Ruskin’s complete works consist of total 38 volumes which is by its sheer length and size alone is enough indicative of Ruskin’s expanding career as an author and influence over his time and beyond. Ruskin’s writings besides influencing his contemporaries and political as well as social institutions and personalities garnered praise from figures such as Oscar Wilde, Gandhi and Proust.

The famous association that led to this volume

W.G. Collingwood ( is likely to have best insights on Ruskin’s life as he was one of his close associates and friend. After meeting Ruskin in 1872 for the first time in University College, Oxford, in the later years he became a close associate of Ruskin and their friendship continued for the rest of their life. Ruskin expressed admiration for Collingwood’s draughtsmanship. Collingwood is credited to edit a number of texts by Ruskin as well. This long association and close relationship naturally granted him more freedom and ease in formulating the biographical account of Ruskin.

In depth exploration of the life, time and work of Ruskin

In his time he has been one of the most dominating figures in the world of art and art criticism and this biographical account went into the depth of his stature as an art critic, author and influential figure. Withstanding the fluctuations of reputation and the unpredictable tumult of events John Ruskin left his unmistakable mark on his contemporary time making him an admired figure by eminent world personalities of his time. The present biography focused on various sides of his personality besides offering insights on Ruskin’s time and major socio political upheavals and events. While till the first half of twentieth century his influence over the world of art and social strata was evident, this biography will continue to introduce his personality and thought to the readers of present and future.