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Collection of the Guild of St George, Museums Sheffield
'Arch from the Facade of San Michele, Lucca': Plate from 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture'
Date Made/Found: 1848-1849
Artist: John Ruskin , British, 1819 - 1900
Printmaker: John Ruskin , British, 1819 - 1900
Publisher: Smith, Elder & Co.
Material and Medium: soft ground etching on steel
Dimensions: Mount: 590 x 417mm Support: 430 x 295mm
Department: Ruskin
Accession Number: CGSG00071
The Seven Lamps of Architecture was a book written and illustrated by Ruskin. First published in 1849 it was his first major work on architecture and concerns the emotional and moral power of buildings, and the principles and development of good design. The illustrations were mass-produced using soft-ground etching, a technique in which paper is stuck to the waxed etching plate. The image is drawn in pencil onto the wax through the paper. The pencil lines dissolve in acid, creating a softly drawn print. Ruskin made the etchings for the original edition, but had new etchings made for later editions as he was disappointed with his etching skills. This plate shows the inlaid decoration on San Michele’s façade. Ruskin spoke of his 'love for these monochrom[e] figures, owing to their wonderful life and spirit'. In particular he pointed out the 'grace of curvature' of the bird's neck (to the right) and the 'excessive simplicity' of the forms.
Display Location: In Store
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