UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Hunt, William Holman
Record 10 of 13

System Number: 06760
Date: [1887/1889?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London?]
Recipient: [unknown]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W754
Document Type: AD


"I have just said that every class of rock, earth, & cloud, must be known by the painter, with geologic and meteorologic accuracy." - M. P.[2] vol. 1.

Now it is evident that in Rembrant's[3] [sic] system, while the contrasts are not more right than with Veronese[4], the colours are all wrong, from beginning to end -

Vulgarity, dul[l]ness, or impiety, will indeed always express themselves through art in brown & grey, as in Rembrant, Caravagio[5] [sic] & Salvator[6]...

"The mannerism of Canaletto[7] is the most degraded that I know in the whole range of Art". John Ruskin[8]. Prof. of Painting of art -

"I repeat there is nothing but the work of Prout[9] which is true, living, or right, in its general impression, & nothing, therefore, so inexhaustively agreeable."
Mr. Ruskin - Slade Prof.

Canaletto, had he been a great Painter, might have cast his reflections wherever he chose, .... but he is a [latter?] & a bad painter."
Ruskin . Art Authority -

....."it is impossible, while walking on his favorite corner angle of the Piazza at Venice, toeither to think of any other than Prout" - ..
J. R. Art Critic - Professor -

"It is especially to be remembered that drawings of this simple character were made for middle classes, exclusively: and even for the second order of middle classes, more accurately expressed by the term bourgoisie" [sic] .... They gave an unquestionable tone of liberal mindedness to a suburban Villa, and were the cheerfullest possible decorations for a moderate sized breakfast parlour, opening on a nicely mown lawn".
Prof John Ruskin - Notes on Saml Prout & W Hunt[10].

..."the Butcher's Dog in the corner of Mr. Mulready's[11] "Butt" displays perhaps the most wonderful, because the most dignified, finish ... and assuredly the most perfect unity of drawing & colour, which the entire range of ancient & modern art can exhibit. Albert Durer[12] is indeed the only rival who might be suggested" -
Prof.

"Thirdly, that truths of colour are the least important of all truths."
Chap V. Modern Painters.
John Ruskin . Prof. of colour. Oxford -

"And that colour is indeed a most unimportant characteristic of objects, would be farther evident on the slightest consideration. The colour of plants is consistently changing, with the season .... but the nature and essence of the thing are independent of these changes. An oak is an oak, whether green with Spring or red with winter; a dahlia is a dahlia whether it be yellow or crimson; and if some monster hunting florist should ever frighten the flower blue, still it will be a dahlia; but not so if the same arbritrary [sic] changes could be effected in its form. Let the roughness of the bark and the angles of the boughs be smoothed or diminished, and the oak ceases to be an oak; but let it retain its universal structure & outward form, and though its leaves grow white, or pink, or blue or tri-colour, it would be a white oak, or a pink oak or a republican oak, but an oak still -"
Mr Ruskin Teacher


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Notes:

1.  [1887/1889?]
Dated by writing and possible use as preparation for Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890. Large 'X's and ticks have been inserted in pencil in the left margin (and sometimes also the right) next to virtually every paragraph.

2.  M. P.
Ruskin, John, Modern Painters, London, 1843-60.

3.  Rembrant's
Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn (1606-1669), painter and etcher [more].

4.  Veronese
Paolo Veronese (1528-1588), painter [more].

5.  Caravagio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573-1610), painter [more].

6.  Salvator
Salvator Rosa (1615-1673), painter and engraver [more].

7.  Canaletto
Giovanni Antonio Canal ('Canaletto') (1697-1768), painter, etcher and draughtsman [more].

8.  John Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more].

9.  Prout
Samuel Prout (1783-1852), watercolourist and painter of architectural subjects [more].

10.  W Hunt
William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), artist [more].

11.  Mr. Mulready's
William Mulready (1786-1863), painter [more].

12.  Albert Durer
Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), artist [more].