Art as a moral compass

Art as a moral compass

Every nation's vice or virtue, was written in its art: the soldiership of early Greece; the sensuality of late Italy; the visionary religion of Tuscany; the splendid human energy of Venice.

We, europeans, have had three great religions: the Greek, which was the worship of the God of Wisdom and Power; the Medieval, which was the worship of the God of Judgement and Consolation; the Renaissance, which was the worship of the God for Pride and Beauty.

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Traffic

Traffic

by John Ruskin

MORE IDEAS FROM THE BOOK

To teach taste is inevitably to form character

For if, resolutely, people do what is right, in time to come they like doing it. But they only are in a moral state when they have come to like doing it; and as long as they don't like it, they are still in a vicious state.

The entire object of education is to make people not merely do the right things, - not merely industrious, but to love industry - not merely learned, but to love knowledge - not merely pure, but to love purity - not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.

What we like determines what we are, and is the sign of what we are.

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Design as character.

The Greek conception of the purest Deity - every habit of life, and every form of his art developed themselves from the seeking this bright, serene, resistless wisdom and setting himself, as a man, to do things evermore rightly and strongly.

The principal character of Greek art is not beauty, but design, expression of adoration of divine wisdom and purity.

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Power of brains.

If you do not spend, somebody else will - somebody else must.

What then do you think the old practice that they should take who have the power and they should keep who can is less iniquitous when the power has become power of brains instead of fist? Though we may not take advantage of a child's or a woman's weakness, we may of man's foolishness?

Change must come, but it is ours to determine whether change of growth or change of death. Better or worse shall come and it is for you to choose which.

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The Earth is sacred. Church is made sacred.

I am trying to prove to you the honour of your houses and your hills; not that the Church si not sacred - but that the whole Earth is.

People are so apt to look upon religion as the business of the clergy, not their own, that the moment they hear of anything depending on 'religion', they think it must also have depended on the priesthood; and I have had to take what place was to be occupied between these two errors, and fight both, often with seeming contradiction.

Good architecture is the work of good and believing men, the work of commonality, not the clergy.

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Taste as morality

Taste is not only a part and an index of morality; - it is the ONLY morality. 

The first, and last, and closest trial question to any living creature is , 'What do you like?' Tell me what you like and I'll tell you what you are.

Go out into the street, and ask the first man or woman you meet, what their 'taste' is; and if they answer candidly, you know them, body and soul.

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Building with the heart makes things eternal.

If you can fix some conception of a true human state of life to be striven for - life, good for all men, as for yourselves; if you can determine some honest and simple order of existence following those trodden ways of wisdom, which are pleasentness and seeking her quiet and withdrawn paths which are peace - sanctifying wealth into 'commonwealth', all your art, your literature, your daily labours, your domestic affection and citizen's duty will join and increase into one magnificent harmony.

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