The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

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Photograph of Cima da Conegliano's "Saint John the Baptist with Saints Peter, Mark, Jerome and Paul" Carlo Naya, firm

  • Curator’s description:

    Description

    The figures stand beneath two ruined domes. Saint John the Baptist stands on a small stone pedestal in the centre. On the left, Saint Peter holds a book and his keys, Saint Mark what appears to be a large, closed book.On the right, stand Saint Jerome, an old man with a long white beard, and Saint Paul, balding but with a long, dark beard.

    Cook and Wedderburn (vol. XXI, p. 16, n. 4) identify this as a picture in the church of the Madonna dell'Orto in Venice, although the inscription on the back of the mount implies that it was in the Accademia when the photograph was taken. The altarpiece was painted at some point in the period c.1493 and c.1495 by Cima da Conegliano.

    Ruskin included this photograph in the Teaching Collection from the very beginning, listing it as no. 8 in the Standard Series in the "Catalogue of Examples" of 1870, where he described it as 'An example of perfect delineation by the school of colour.' In "Lectures on Art" (§ 150 = XX.141) the picture again represented the 'colour school', and demonstrated Cima's intense faith, and joy in the natural world - in particular, Ruskin mentioned 'the wild strawberry of Cima's native mountains' (in Friuli) in the foreground - to which he also drew attention in his inscription on the mount. He also included a copy of a spray of the oak tree as No. 12 in the Educational Series of the "Catalogue of Examples" (now Educational Series no. 20), and drew attention to the variety of the plants - oak, fig, ivy-leaved toadflax (his 'Erba della Madonna'), ivy and the strawberry - and the care with which they were depicted in "Modern Painters" (vol. I, pt ii, sec.1, ch. 7, § 9 = III.175), where the picture served as one example of the accuracy of early Italian renaissance depictions of natural details.

  • Details

    Artist/maker
    Carlo Naya, firm (active 1850s - 1918) (photographer)
    after Cima da Conegliano (1459/60 - ?1518)
    Object type
    photograph
    Material and technique
    albumen print
    Dimensions
    344 x 222 mm (print); 427 x 269 mm (original mount)
    Inscription
    Recto:
    on the photograph, bottom right, marked on the negative and so printed in white, and obscured with black ink: C Naya [and an indistinct date]
    on the mount, bottom centre, printed: Fotografia dell' originale di C. NAYA.
    on the mount, beneath the picture, in ink in Ruskin's hand: The picture of the Madonna dell' Orto which unites every quattrocento quality | - Light in colour - & perfect - with strawberry plants in foreground | mentioned in Modern painters

    Verso:
    across the top (truncated at both ends as the mount has been trimmed), in ink: [S. Giovanni] Batt. e altri Santi - Cima da Conegliano - Acc. B. [Arti] | Ven[ezia]
    just below, left of centre, in pencil: S. Maria dell'Orto
    bottom right, in pencil: St 8
    towards the bottom, centre, the Ruskin School's stamp
    Provenance

    Presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford), 1875; transferred from the Ruskin Drawing School to the Ashmolean Museum, c.1949.

    No. of items
    1
    Accession no.
    WA.RS.STD.008
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:

    Subjects

  • References in which this object is cited include:

    References

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of Examples Arranged for Elementary Study in the University Galleries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1870), cat. Standard no. 8

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Reference Series Including Temporarily the First Section of the Standard Series (London: Smith, Elder, [1872]), cat. Standard no. 8

    Ruskin, John, ‘Modern Painters’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 3-7

    Ruskin, John, ‘Lectures on Art: Delivered Before the University of Oxford in Hilary Term, 1870’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 20

    Ruskin, John, ‘The Ruskin Art Collection at Oxford: Catalogues, Notes and Instructions’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 21, cat. Standard no. 8

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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