The Two Paths

Being Lectures on Art, and its Application to Decoration and Manufacture

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Author: John Ruskin
Published: 1859
Language: English
Wordcount: 55,655 / 162 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 53.8
LoC Categories: N, BH, TX
Downloads: 965
mnybks.net#: 6029
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genres: Essays, Art
Excerpt

inally, while art has thus shown itself always active in the service of luxury and idolatry, it has also been strongly directed to the exaltation of cruelty. A nation which lives a pastoral and innocent life never decorates the shepherd's staff or the plough-handle, but races who live by depredation and slaughter nearly always bestow exquisite ornaments on the quiver, the helmet, and the spear.

Does it not seem to you, then, on all these three counts, more than questionable whether we are assembled here in Kensington Museum to any good purpose? Might we not justly be looked upon with suspicion and fear, rather than with sympathy, by the innocent and unartistical public? Are we even sure of ourselves? Do we know what we are about? Are we met here as honest people? or are we not rather so many Catilines assembled to devise the hasty degradation of our country, or, like a conclave of midnight witches, to summon and send forth, on new and unexpected missions, the demons of luxury, cruelty, and superstition?

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