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

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

Ruskin's Standard & Reference series (1872)

Exemplary works of art. In the catalogue of the Reference series, items marked 'M' are drawings "by my own Hand" (by Ruskin), P are photographs, E engravings and A by Ruskin's Assistant, Arthur Burgess.

Standard & Reference Cover

Ruskin's Introduction

NOTE.—The Standard Series referred to in the Lectures as S. 1, S. 2, &c.,will be ultimately composed of four hundred pieces: 1 to 100 illustrating theschools of painting in general; 101 to 200, those of sculpture and its relativearts connected with the traditions and religion of the Gothic races; 201 to 300,those of sculpture and its relative arts connected with the traditions andreligion of the Greeks; and 301 to 400, the special skill of modern time.

The reason for the adoption of this order is that the art of painting furnishes examples of every meritorious quality possible in form or colour: the earlierarts of sculpture and building may then be advantageously studied with reference to these ultimate results; and our own skill finallyestimated by comparison with whatever it has chosen to imitate, and measure ofwhatever it has been able to invent.

The first pieces in the large cabinets, up to the number 50 in this Catalogue, allbelong to the Standard Series. The numbers beyond 50 are part of the ReferenceSeries, which will be of quite mixed character, as supplementary to the two others,and referred to in the Lectures as Ref. 1, Ref. 2, &c.

I am obliged to leave blanks in my numbers. I think it better to do this than tochange the numbers continually.

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