Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)


The Porta della Carta and Ducal Palace, Venice

Creation Date



19th century


10 7/16 in. x 8 1/8 in. (26.51 cm x 20.64 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, Italy

Medium and Support

graphite and black heightened with cream on blue-gray wove paper

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Susan Dwight Bliss


Public Domain

Accession Number

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.”

Object Description

ornate arches and doorways

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