John Ruskin in the Age of Science

White text on background gradient of grey to pink. Text reads: ‘… the sky is for all; … and yet we never attend to it, never make it a subject of thought…’. From Modern Painters 1 by John Ruskin
John Ruskin, Modern Painters I

John Ruskin in the Age of Science is a series of three exhibitions at Brantwood, Ruskin’s former home on Coniston Water, and at the Royal Society, London.

John Ruskin (1819-1900) lived in an era of rapid scientific progress that shaped modern Britain. Curated by Sandra Kemp (The Ruskin), with Keith Moore (the Royal Society) and Howard Hull (Brantwood), the exhibitions place Ruskin alongside his nineteenth century scientific contemporaries, exploring his influence on science and society, in his time and our own.

While The Ruskin is currently closed for major refurbishment, this series of exhibitions showcases the Collection in London and the Lake District. The Ruskin will reopen in 2024.

The Skies are for All: Ruskin and Climate Change

22 April – 26 June | Blue Gallery, Brantwood

A lifetime of observing the skies led John Ruskin to conclude that human activities were damaging the environment. This exhibition explores how Ruskin’s analysis paralleled the evolution of climate science, and shaped his contribution to defining the Anthropocene: the world we have made.

Ruskin’s Perspectives: The Art of Abstraction

30 June – 11 September 2022 | Blue Gallery, Brantwood

Ruskin was fascinated by form and pattern, proportion and symmetry, in the world around us. He used the processes of abstraction to communicate his thoughts through the composition of his works: spheres, cones, crystals, planes and spirals.

This exhibition draws on a cultural history of maths to explore nineteenth century scientific ideas about the relationship of things and their properties to each other.

Behind the Eyes: The Science of Sight

25 August – 31 December 2022 | the Royal Society, London

15 September – 31 December 2022| Blue Gallery, Brantwood

From the telescope to early forms of photography, Ruskin exploited developments in optical technologies to push the boundaries of recording the world with extreme visual clarity. Across two sites, this exhibition explores observation and evidence in Ruskin’s works, alongside his scientific contemporaries.

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