Through his many publications, including “The Elements of Drawing” (1857), and his patronage of the arts, Ruskin established the appreciation of drawing as an art form and as a teaching tool. In his study of Venetian architecture, drawing served two primary functions. On the one hand, as he noted in a letter to his parents in 1845, “since I have been studying architecture carefully, I see things about five times as beautiful as I used to do.” Drawing for Ruskin was a kind of discipline in the act of looking, one that repaid rich rewards. But he also valued these architectural drawings as a form of historic preservation. In his introduction to a set of prints after the Venetian drawings, he noted, “The chief value of the plates will be their almost servile veracity--a merit which will be appreciated when the buildings themselves are no more; and they perish daily.”
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