John Ruskin (1819-1900) is renowned as the greatest British art critic of the nineteenth century and the champion of Turner, but his role as an artist remains relatively little known. He was however an outstanding draughtsman and watercolour painter, who especially took inspiration from the natural world and architectural subjects. This exhibition will illustrate, with the finest examples, the range and quality of his drawn and painted work. Gothic palaces in Venice, wild and spectacular Scottish and Alpine landscapes, and minutely defined and brilliantly coloured birds and plants will all be highlights of the show. The loans will chiefly come from the key UK and US collections (both public and private), and the exhibition is a prestigious collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
It is especially fitting that John Ruskin: Artist and Observer should be showcased in Edinburgh, as Ruskin came from a Scottish family, visited Scotland many times, and was a passionate advocate for the beauty of its landscapes and literary heritage. Key episodes in his public and private life were enacted here.