Ruskin, J[ohn]. Letter to the Editor. "Correspondence." Crayon 1 (14 Nov. 1855), 310.

full text

Dear Mr. Stillman:–

* * * *

Your first question, "What do we learn from pictures?" I have a long special chapter on, in the third volume of Modern Painters, headed, "Of the Use of Pictures." It is really too wide a question to be otherwise answered; but, surely, what I wrote about the function of the artist involves an answer to this also.*

"What is the distinction between Pre-Raphaelitism and such Art as that of Wilkie and Mulready?" None, so far as Wilkie and Mulready are sincere, but neither of them is so more than half. Wilkie is wholly false and conventional in color; Mulready usually so in arrangement and sentiment; a great imitator also of Dutch pictures, in his early works. I am wrong in saying None–also in this respect:–Pre-Raphaelitism being natural with heroic and pathetic subjects of the highest order, which neither Wilkie nor Mulready ever dared to attempt. So, in a few words, Wilkie and Mulready are only half sincere or natural, and in heroic subject. Dante Rossetti is at this moment painting a holy family with the most exquisite naturalism.

I am delighted with all your criticism in The Crayon. It is full of sense and justice.–I mean by yours, the editorial. The other matter is also very interesting and good. I think you should be well pleased with your London contributor.

Most truly yours,

J. Ruskin

* See No. 26, Vol. II.

This document was scanned/transcribed from the original source.

Copyright © 1999 Thomas J. Tobin.

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