John Ruskin: Art & Wonder now open at the Millennium Gallery
30 May 2019
For John Ruskin, nature was a source of infinite wonder. A new exhibition at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery showcases Ruskin’s unyielding fascination with the spectacle of the natural world. Now open, John Ruskin: Art & Wonder continues celebrations taking place across the UK and around the globe in 2019 marking 200 years since the birth of the influential Victorian artist, critic and scholar.
Art & Wonder is the second exhibition curated by Museums Sheffield marking Ruskin’s bicentenary and follows the success of John Ruskin: The Power of Seeing at Two Temple Place (“a timely reminder of the tortured genius of the most complex and gifted art critic who ever lived” ???? The Guardian).
This major new exhibition in Sheffield will include many of the works shown in London, alongside dozens of additional works from the Guild of St George’s Ruskin Collection, to demonstrate how artists have captured the wonder of nature in its many forms.
John Ruskin brought his collection to Sheffield to inspire the talented craftspeople in the city’s metal trades to greatness, and to encourage them to see beauty in the world around them. A century and a half later, Sheffield has changed radically yet that source of inspiration remains undiminished.
Created in partnership with the Guild of St George, Art & Wonder will present over 150 treasures from the Ruskin Collection, including a number of works which will go on public display for the very first time. The collection works will be seen alongside a series of significant national loans and contemporary commissions.
- A collection of botanical and wildlife studies, spanning beautiful flora and fauna through to fantastical creatures from the deep, by Edward Donavan, Charlotte Murray and John Ruskin himself.
- A wall flocked with an array of ornithological prints and watercolours by celebrated artists including John James Audubon, Edward Lear and John Gould. These historical bird studies will be complemented by a contemporary, avian-inspired commission by international-renowned design studio, Timorous Beasties, created to mark Ruskin’s bicentenary.
- Landscapes depicting breath-taking vistas from the Swiss Alps to Sicily’s Mount Etna, including John Ruskin’s own Mer de Glace, Chamonix (1860) and Venetian Festival (c.1845) by J.M.W. Turner. These will go display alongside Acceleration Structures (2018), a new digital landscape by contemporary artist, Dan Holdsworth, and a host of jewel-like mineral specimens from the Ruskin Collection.
Louise Pullen, Ruskin Curator at Museums Sheffield says: ‘Ruskin was captivated by nature and believed that in appreciating the beauty of the natural world we are enriched. Art & Wonder illustrates how this passion for nature was a fundamental cornerstone of his collection and is testament to Ruskin’s enduring legacy.’
Clive Wilmer, Master, The Guild of St George says: 'After the enormous critical and audience success of the Guild & Museum Sheffield’s Ruskin exhibition in London, so brilliantly conceived by the Ruskin Collection's curator Louise Pullen, it is fitting that the collection Ruskin gave to the people of Sheffield forms the centrepiece of another spectacular bicentenary exhibition back in its home city. Augmented by generous loans and contemporary work, this exhibition celebrates one of the central passions of Ruskin’s life, his love and care for nature. The Guild is very proud to partner with Museums Sheffield as part of our Ruskin in Sheffield programme across the city.'
Art & Wonder will be complemented by an extensive programme of events and activities taking place across the city curated by the Guild of St George’s Ruskin in Sheffield project. To find out more visit ruskininsheffield.com
This exhibition is also part of a wider nationwide series of events marking Ruskin’s bicentenary in 2019. To find out more about the celebrations taking place across the country visit ruskin200.com
John Ruskin: Art & Wonder is sponsored by Sheffield Property Association. The exhibition is a partnership with The Guild of St George, and has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Foyle Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the James Neill Trust Fund, the J.G. Graves Trust, the Sheffield Church Burgesses Trust and the Sheffield Town Trust.
John Ruskin: Art & Wonder opens at the Millennium Gallery on Wednesday 29 May and continues until 15 September 2019 – entry to the exhibition is free. For more information visit: www.museums-sheffield.org.uk