Unto This Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin

Thursday, September 5, 2019
Sunday, December 8, 2019

This year (2019) marks the bicentenary of the birth of the great nineteenth-century artist and critic John Ruskin. Drawing on the Center’s rich collection of Ruskin’s drawings and publications, with significant loans from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other institutions, this exhibition positions Ruskin as a pioneering ecological thinker, social reformer, educator and preservationist. Bringing together an array of diverse materials including paintings, drawings, literary manuscripts, mineral samples and memorabilia, the exhibition highlights Ruskin’s impact in his own time and his enduring significance today.

This exhibition opens with a contemporary response to Ruskin’s seminal work The Ethics of the Dust by artist Jorge Otero-Pailos.

Unto This Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin has been organized by the Yale Center for British Art and curated by three PhD Candidates in Yale University’s Department of the History of Art: Tara Contractor, Victoria Hepburn, and Judith Stapleton; with Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale; and Courtney Skipton Long, Acting Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Center. A version of this exhibition will travel to Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, UK, and will be on view from March 10 to May 31, 2020.

Richard Parminter Cuff after John Ruskin, "The Dryad’s Waywardness," Plate 59, from John Ruskin, "Modern Painters V," 1st ed. (London: Smith, Elder and Co.) (detail), 1860, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

A fully illustrated catalogue, with an introduction by Barringer, essays by Contractor, Hepburn, and Stapleton, and an epilogue by Long, accompanies the exhibition. The book Unto This Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin is published by the Center in association with Yale University Press.

Mobile App

This exhibition is also accompanied by an audio tour on the Yale Center for British Art’s mobile app. Download the app and listen to curators as well as Yale faculty and students discuss works by Ruskin.