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the mother has hardly yet been able to bear the touch of the .world
since her husband's death. I have never seen her since, and am afraid
to do so. I will not ask you to write to me, but let my father know
often about yourself and Mrs. Richmond and he will tell me. If I

1 [HaniM, Act v. sc. 1.]
J [Osborne Gordon's sister.]


can be of any service to you at Venice, there is plenty time to let
me know. Is it not possible that your health may compel you to
come earlier abroad this year, and that you might meet me there
in September ?

I am grievously in want of a little guiding, and as I can date a
complete change in all my views of art from your accidentally point-
ing out the fitting of a shadow to a light in Paul Veronese, at Mr.
Rogers 1 , 1 I am always longing for a few more hints of the same kind.

I feel very like a child here not but that in certain of my crotchets
I am more confirmed than ever (tell Torn that 2 ), but that I have got
into such a glorious new world of religious art that I know not where
to turn, and none of them here understand or care in the least about
their finest things, so that one is entirely left to oneself masterless
and I never can form anything like, or approximating to, a fail-
opinion, until I have actually copied some portion and that, here, is
next to impossible from the amount of things to be examined partially.

What a beautiful copy you made of Masaccio in the Uffizi 3 I
could not tell the difference except from the ground and material.
It is the finest thing, taking it all in all, in the gallery for the
amount and intensity of the life in it, and the kind of life. I was
sorry to see Perugino's portrait ; 4 there is something so hard in the
countenance, it reminds one of Vasari's rascalities which, however, any
single head (of his works) except his own, is enough to neutralise. I
prefer him infinitely to Raffaelle, except in one point all his faces
stop short at a certain amount of expression ; there is a " thus far thou
shalt go no farther" look about him, which I feel always the more
fatally after coming from some of the ecstacies of Angelico. Raffaelle,
in one or two of his works, cast the ichole soul out of the body
through the eyes in Perugino some of it invariably remains locked up.
Generally I like this, but in one or two cases where intense passion
is required, it offends. I was just going to swear but I won't at
Kugler and Eastlake with their distribution of Masaccio's frescoes. 5 If
all the wrong-headed Germans between the Rhine and the Elbe were

1 [For this incident, see Prceterita, Vol. XXXV. p. 337.]

2 [George and Tom Richmond had, it will be remembered, taken Ruskin to
task for his artistic heresies at Rome in 1840-1841 : see Preeteritn, Vol. XXXV.
p. 276 ; ]

3 [Ihe portrait formerly supposed to be Masaccio by himself, now accepted as
a portrait by Filippino Lippi : see Vol. XII. p. 296.]

4 [The portrait by Perugino, formerly supposed to be of himself; now accepted
as a portrait of Francesco delle Opere. For Ruskiu's discussion of Vasari's character
of Perugino, see Vol. XXII. pp. 424-425.]

5 [See Eastlake's edition (1842) of Kugler's Handbook of Painting, pp. 106, 107,
where the Martyrdom of Peter is ascribed to Filippino Lippi. For Ruskin's account
of the frescoes, see Vol. III. p. 170 and n.]


to swear that the Tribute Money was his and the Martyrdom of
Peter was not, I shouldn't believe them. It is this kind of criticism
which has split Homer into a chorus of ballad-singers.

How comes it that Masaccio heads are half Chinese ? By-the-bye,
I have a great notion that just as I was going out of your door after
bidding you good-bye, you desired me to do something for you here
and I haven't done it and I don't know what it was. I didn't put it
down, for I shouldn't have believed the possibility of my forgetting any-
thing to be done for you but my head here isn't worth an egg-shell.
Everything is taken out of me. The other day I forgot the number of
my lodging wrote 232 went back altered it to 237, it being 732.

Tell Palmer 1 with my kind regards that he is wrong about the
quantity of colour in Giorgione's landscapes. Their sky whites and
blues the coldest are all painted over a rich cinnamon-coloured
ground, and the tree greens are laid in first with a fiery brown,
and then the green put over and all is done so thinly that the
ground shows through plain enough ; and tell him his stems of trees
in the prettiest are a mighty deal too purple. I noticed this colour
and admired it in his copy and it is very grand but it isn't in the
original. All is brown and grey.

Why didn't you tell me one or two things to notice particularly in
this wilderness, but leave me to find out all for myself? It takes me
half my time to determine where the other half shall be spent. I beg
ten thousand pardons for this scrawl. My hand is utterly disorganised
from the little organisation it had by writing notes on one's arm.

Sincere regards to Mrs. Richmond. I fervently hope this letter
may find your house relieved at last from further danger. Excuse me
for talking about myself. But I thought you might like to be put in
mind of Florence. Yours ever most affectionately, J. Rrsxix.

Love to Tom.


PARMA, Thursday, July 10/A [184.5].

Here I am, after running the gauntlet of more douaniers than I
can venture to guess at without counting. Let me see.

1. Gate of Bologna. Going out. Passport, and pay.

2. Bridge, half a mile on. Pay.

3. Dogana, two miles on. Leave Papal States. Passport and pay.

1 [Samuel Palmer (1805-1881), water-colour painter, frieml of William Blake
and of Richmond.]


4. Dogana, a quarter of a mile on. Enter duchy of Modena.

First dogana man, then passport man. Both to pay.

5. Gate of Modena. Entrance. Dogana, pay. Passport, pay.

6. Gate of Modena. Going out. Passport, pay.

7. Gate of Reggio. Dogana, pay. Passport, pay.

8. Gate of Reggio. Go out. Passport, pay.

9. Change horses, farther on. Passport.

10. Enter duchy of Parma. Bridge, pay. Dogana, pay. Passport,


11. Gate of Parma. Dogana, pay. Passport, pay.

Giving a total of sixteen different stoppages, losing on the average
three minutes and a franc at each more ; I find I am minus twenty-
one francs and a half the Modena Dogana man wouldn't be quiet
under five pauls, and the Pope's man at Bologna said it wasn't con-
sistent with his conscience to leave anybody unsearched under a piastre.
It is rather worse than the Hastings turnpikes, because there is some-
thing so sneaking and contemptible in the whole system. George
like all people of a certain class, was quite in a rage, and if a
thunder- shower hadn't luckily come and wetted him to the very
marrow, I don't know how he would have got over it. It is not as if
the thing were at all left to you. The Doganier comes and puts his
dirty hand on the carriage, and there it stays until you put the franc
in it, or he searches you. . . - 1


VOGOONA, VAL D'OSSOLA, Tuesday, 22nd July [1845].

I have your four delightful letters of the 5th, 8th, 9th, and 12th
with accounts of Scotland, etc. and you will by this time, I hope, have
received some letters of mine, in which nearly the same fealings are
expressed, though I can't quite come up to the Calton yet, as the
thing. I wished for you sadly yesterday as I was driving from the
lake of Varese down to Laveno opposite Baveno. You cannot conceive
anything so beautiful as the winding of the lakes, five or six seen at
once among the mulberry woods and tufted crags. But, as I said to
myself at the time, it was only the more beautiful because it was more
like Windermere, or rather like many Windermeres. After crossing

1 [The continuation of this letter has been printed in Vol. IV. p. xxxiv.]

2 [A few lines of this letter have been printed in Vol. III. p. 232 n. Plate V.
here given is of the drawing 1 which Ruskin made on the day of writing this letter.]


the lake, I came on here in the afternoon, and I was more struck than
ever with the heavenly richness and majesty of the landscape above
Baveno. People had much better do as we did last year see the Bor-
romean islands, and go back ; there is in the south nothing half so
Italian, nothing half so lovely. After the stunted olives of Florence,
the grand chestnut woods of Baveno came with the greater effect, and
I am going back there, after finishing the Val Anzasca, for ten days
to get studies. Everything is there that suits my purpose wood, water,
and the finest possible mountain forms so that there is not the slightest
need for my going to the Val d^Aosta, and I certainly shall not go
near it more, especially after your expressing so strong a wish on the

Certainly my mission has to do with rocks more than with walls. I
fancied I was enjoying myself at Florence and Pisa, but I wasn't at
all. It was quite new life this morning to wake in a little tiled room,
and see my window blocked with the green hillside, and watch the
clouds floating and changing upon it, as I dressed. Not that I got
thinner or weaker in Florence, as my mother imagines. On the con-
trary, I find myself in perfect training, and have put myself through
a little work this morning with the greatest ease, preparatory to my
walk to Macugnaga to-morrow if the weather be fine.


MACUGNAGA, VAL ANZASCA, Thursday, 2-ith July, 1845.

Here I am at last in my own country great luxury and rejoicing
out of the way of everybody out of Italian smells and vilenesses, every-
thing pure and bright. It is very like Zermatt, but less desolate and
more pastoral; we have arrived in the middle of the haymaking, and
the whole air is sweet. I guess by the look of the vegetation it is
about 1000 feet higher than Chamonix i.e., very nearly the elevation
of the village of Simplon. 1 On one side there is nothing but a semicircle
of perfectly bare rocks and waterfalls ; on the other, pines and a few
stunted acacias; the brooks, not glacier torrents (only one of these in
the middle of the valley), but clear^fountain-bred ones, come tumbling
down about my cottage over blocks of granite and sing to me all
night ; the air is crisp, clear, and delicious, and the peaks of the
Monte Rosa all round, rising over the piues. I call it my cottage, 2 for

1 [The actual heights are: Macugnaga (Staffa), 4343 feet; Chamonix, 341.0;
Simplon, 4852. Ruskin, however, gives the height in his next letter as .5200 feet.]
a [For further description of the inn, see Pra'terita, Vol. XXXV. p. 305.]

1845] MACUGNAGA 55

there is no one in it but us, the landlord being up at a chalet for con-
venience of haymaking ; and a thorough Swiss cottage it is, much
smaller than the Zermatt one, and by itself in a field, approached
over a pine bridge and rocky path. As for living, we shall have
everything soon ; and the cream is like Devonshire, and the wild straw-
berries perfection. It is not quite, however, so picturesque as Zermatt,
nor so available for my purposes, owing to its want of the horrors
there are no chasms nor precipices to speak of, nor powerful torrents,
nor ancient woods the energies of Monte Rosa are turned the other
way ; and I was seriously disappointed in the valley itself Anzasca ;
there is nothing in it but thorough commonplace. I must indulge
myself, however, with a fortnight of this, in order to see the Monte
Rosa well from the upper peaks, and these views I have no doubt will
answer well for my mountain illustrations ; 1 for my near foreground
studies I must go down to Baveno. My father says you imagined by
the way I spoke I was getting thinner. I am stouter if anything, and
indubitably stronger. I walked up here from Vogogna, which is the
same as Visp to Zermatt. Started at half-past five, got in at half-
past four, resting about two hours at more than three miles an hour,
and all up hill without the slightest trace of weariness. Stopped to
make hay in a fresh-cut field just an hour before getting in.

I don't understand the way you speak of your letters as if you
were ashamed of them, or thought I didn't like them. They are the
greatest possible pleasure to me, and I wouldn't part with a line of
them at any price. You say in your last that some letters of mine
gave you great pleasure ; please particularize what about next time, for
I can't tell by the dates and forget all about them. Poor little Louise 2
I am very glad she was pleased with my letter. I don't wonder
at your liking her. I think the Miss V.'s education of her as near a
model of education as well may be.


BAVENO, Sunday, 24th Aug. 1845.

I had a delicious day yesterday the third fine one I have had since
leaving Vogogna ? and it looks settled and sweet this morning. No
news of Harding yet, but I have left a letter for him with the land-
lord at Vogogna, in case of his asking for me there.

1 [Proposed illustrations in Modern Painters: the view of Monte Rosa ultimately
included in vol. v. (Vol. VII. p. 441) was, however, made from Milan Cathedral
(ibid-., p. 158).]

2 [For "little Louise Ellis/' see Prceterita, Vol. XXXV. p. 421.]


I have been looking over the extracts you sent me from Arnold, 1
which are very full of sound sense, that respecting public schools
especially. The more I see of boys, the more I dislike them ; their
very motion is an impudent affectation a shallow, unfeeling, uncharit-
able, unthoughtful swagger of ridiculous independence and I know
what a fool I was when I was one. That respecting the incompre-
hensibleness of English gentlemen to Messrs. Guizot and Sismondi is
very good also; and yet, as the servant says of Coriolanus, 2 there is
more in Sismondi than I could think he is a good deal in the right
in several points. His great theory is the necessity of giving men at
some period of their life a high and ungoverned position, in order that
the preparation for it and expectation of it may give the utmost
dignity and energy to the individual character ; and of this there
can indeed be no dispute, that men become new creatures altogether
according to the responsibilities entrusted to them, and forces and
faculties are developed in them of which they themselves were before
altogether unconscious. . . . 3

But then, there are such wide specific differences in republi-
canism ; that of Florence is more opposed to that of America than
our monarchy to the spirit of the French revolution. The govern-
ment of Florence was one of the most tyrannical in Italy, while it
lasted, sweeping everything away that opposed it banishing, execut-
ing, razing houses of rebellious families to the ground on the slightest
provocation and that with so strong a military arm that the people
could not have the slightest power over it ; its popularity consisting
solely in this, that every citizen had his two months 1 turn at it ; but
no popular movement, no sedition, no clamour, could affect it in any
way ; it '.vc.s iron bound and rock built, and nothing could overthrow
it internally : when it fell, it fell by the loss of a battle equivalent to
the annihilation of the State, though it is to be observed that this
battle was brought on by the rashness of two of the popular members
of the council. But surely there is something widely different between
this kingly and authoritative republicanism and the "liberty" of
America, where the nation is too vast to let its members have any
share in the government, and therefore they have none at all. I
cannot conceive anything finer, as a school, than the Florentine system.

1 [Dean Stanley's Life of Arnold (1844). On i>. 713 (ed. 1001) Arnold says:
" A thorough English gentleman, Christian, manly, enlightened is more, I be-
lieve, than (Jiiizot or Sismondi could comprehend ; it is a finer specimen of human
n.'iture than any other country, I believe, could furnish."]

2 [Coriolanus, Art iv. sc. />.]

3 [The passage here omitted (citing, and commenting upon, Sismondi's praise
of the Italian republics) has been given in Vol. XII. p. 171 n.]


Suppose you yourself knew that in a certain time you would be, during
two months, one of twelve persons who, without any appeal or restric-
tion, in a secret council, without the nation even knowing the object
of their deliberations, could make or unmake laws and execute every
measure they chose to adopt on the instant would not this give you
other views and thoughts than you have, and make you in every
respect a greater man, while on the members of the government there
was always the check of knowing that in two months they were to
sink again into entire obedience, to be subjected without appeal to
the laws they themselves had made and the authority they had exer-
cised, with the remembrance of the good or evil they have done
attached to their name ? This is very different, again, even from the
popular assembly of Athens a government of mob entirely, liable to
be led by every demagogue, incomparably weaker and wilder than that
of Florence, but developing intellect in the same way, owing to the
minds of the people being all brought practically to bear on political
matters. Both these governments, in their brilliant instability, one
may oppose to that of Venice where we have the tyrannical govern-
ment of Florence made hereditary ; the moment it is so, the formation
of an aristocracy makes it consistent, stable, and powerful ; but with
the stability and power ceases the development of intellect. Venice
leaves us no writers, and in art she leaves us a school entirely devoted
to the musical part of it, not to the intellectual : of art per se she is
mistress, but of art as a medium of mind she knows nothing. The
stable monarchy forms of Austria and Sardinia seem nearly parallel
cases; England leaves more appeal to the people, and draws more
brains, but even she produces nothing great except in war time :
nothing can come of nothing the French revolution brought out all
the little intellect they had, and it was all froth and fury. Egypt in
old times is a curious instance of a people of enormous powers of mind
kept entirely dormant in a fixed condition, by unchangeableness of
ranks, and an authoritative monarchy and priesthood. We shall soon
see in Bavaria the utmost result of mind that can be obtained by the
fostering power of monarchy without inherent energy in the people.
Here is a long rigmarole for you, but I wanted to explain what I
meant by saying, a letter or two back, that I was getting more re-
publican. . . .-

1 [The diaries and letters written at Venice, recording Ruskin's "discovery"
of Tintoret, which was yet to come, have been given in Vol. IV. pp. xxxv.-

- [The concluding passage/ of this letter has been given in Vol. XIII. p. 262 n.]

58 LETTERS OF RUSKIN Voi,. I [1845


DEAR ACLAXD, Many thanks for the two letters you sent me. I
return both as you desire me or rather because the marked para-
graphs are necessary as texts for the matter of the other. I do not
intend to give you another piece of such calligraphy on the subject,
because I hope to read it you thoroughly worked out, in good legible
print (and with illustrations to help it 1 ). One word or two only
respecting association. Your friend, I see, supposes me to deny the
power of association in rendering objects agreeable. This I neither
do, nor did, but I say that whatever power it may have is to be
cast out of the question in reasoning on beauty, because there is a
certain beauty with which it has nothing whatever to do, whose laws
are visible in the whole of creation, and whose principles nay, whose
existence are rendered uncertain in most men's minds, by their bad
habit of treating this essential beauty, and the accidental beauty of
association, as one and the same. If, for instance, we receive a letter
containing some most delightful news, we may metaphorically think
it, or say it, to be the most beautiful writing we ever saw ; but
this will not, and ought not to make us lose sight of the general
laws of legibility and grace which constitute good writing. If we
suffered something dreadful in some pleasant scene, that scene may be
to us for the remainder of our lives frightful and horrible, and any-
thing approaching in other scenes to its forms and colours will be
equally painful to us; but then we shall be conscious ourselves that
our mind is distorted, and we shall not suffer this distortion to inter-
fere, if we can help it, with our reasoning on questions of abstract

We must keep in mind, however, that there are two kinds of
association, one constant, the other accidental ; but I consider that
the constant association is wrongly called association, and should always
be spoken of as Expression, which is a totally different thing. The
minor keys of music, for instance, have melancholy in their expres-
sion constantly and certainly so has black as a colour. I have not
yet been able to arrive at any conclusions as to the cause of this, but
it is, I think, absurd to attribute it to, or call it, association which
means the arbitrary and accidental connection of ideas ; we cannot
say that black is melancholy because associated with death. How

1 [It would seem that Ruskin had sent for Acland's criticism some sheets of his
MS. for section i. chapter iv. (dealing with "the false opinion that Beauty depends
on the Association of Ideas") in the forthcoming volume ii. of Modern Painters.']


came it to be associated with death, unless it was melancholy? How
comes it that at Venice, when everything, dress and boats and all, is
black, its association with everyday life redeems not its expression,
but it is still used for the mournful vacancy of Marino Faliero's
portrait ? l

I do not say that the natural association or expression is entirely
unconquerable, but that it is a thing positive and to be conquered,
and that you will not find a nation on the whole earth in which the
kings are dressed in brown, the brides in black, the clergymen in red,
the criminals in white, the soldiers in sad-colour, or blue.

I do not wish to give you my present views on the subject of
beauty until I have got them into form, but I may tell you that I
purpose separating even this constant expression from the investiga-
tion of beauty itself. 2 For there is a cheerful beauty, and a melancholy
beauty. It is that which is common to both, and which makes both
beautiful, which is in reality to be investigated under the term beauty.
Neither melancholy nor mirth will make an ugly face beautiful ; the
constant laws of beauty must first be brought into play; those laws
being complied with, melancholy or mirth will add their expression
of tenderness or vivacity, and one or the other will be preferred accord-
ing to our character or our mood, while both will be allowed to be
beautiful. So in the minor and major keys, some people dislike the
minor, some prefer it to the major, but the constant laws of harmony
or discord common to both are unmistakable.

All this while, I am not denying the power the great power of
association. It is twenty times more powerful than beauty, but it is
not beauty. If a man is going to knock us on the head, we shall not
be likely to admire his whiskers, but that does not affect the abstract
question of the beauty, or propriety, of his whiskers. Green is a pretty
colour, and flesh is a pretty thing, but green flesh is a very ugly thing;
and yet that does not affect the general laws of form in flesh, nor the
general fact that green is a pleasant colour. (Newton gave me this
illustration.) I consider that much of beauty of form, legitimate, real
beauty, is traceable to typical qualities but not to association. By-the-
bye, I see in that rascally letter of mine I have spoken of "symmetry,
or proportion" Proportion and symmetry are, of course, direct con-
traries. Proportion is the connection of wwequal things with each other ;
symmetry, the opposition of equal things to each other. Symmetry I

1 [In the Sala del Maggior Consiglio in the Ducal Palace, where a black tablet
on the frieze, among the portraits of the Doges, bears the inscription Hie est locus
Marini Falethri decapitatl pro criminibus.~\

3 [As was done in the second volume of Modern Painters: see Vol. IV. pp.
70 seq.~\


believe to be agreeable as the type of Justice and Unity, as the type
of Love. Proportion is the necessary means of Unity. 1 Don't show

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