Sándor Radnóticorresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, professor emeritus, Institute for Theory of Art and Media Studies, Department of Aesthetics, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

Search for other papers by Sándor Radnóti in
Current site
Google Scholar
View More View Less
Restricted access


This paper reconstructs Ruskin’s work from the perspective of the landscape, building upon the assumption that Modern Painters played a cardinal role in the emancipation of the genre. This reconstruction is complicated by the internal contradictions within the work: it cannot be regarded as a systematic work of philosophy, but belongs rather to the genre of sage writing. In volume I, Ruskin approached the landscape not from an aesthetic point of view, but from the direction of scientific truth. The aesthetic consequence of this was his anti-mimetic attitude, which differentiated between the imitation of nature and the uncovering of the truths of nature, and in this respect, he considered Turner the greatest master who had ever lived. Truth takes precedence over all aesthetic considerations, and for this reason Ruskin was resolutely against artistic tradition. Seen from his perspective, the history of landscape painting appeared as a series of scientific illustrations, which, with the forward march of science, came ever closer to truth-to-nature. The other two essential conditions of art, the other side of truth, were its moral and religious messages. Beauty is the work of God, and God must be praised in His work, in Nature. Only later did Ruskin introduce a historical dimension to the experience of the landscape. The modern era is characterised by the rise of the pre-eminent interest in the landscape, accompanied by a parallel decreasing interest in gods, saints, ancestors and humans. This later became the main motif of Ruskin’s activities as a social critic and reformer. In relation to the loss of faith and the prospect of regaining it, Ruskin saw landscape painting as the representative art of the modern era. In the later volumes of Modern Painters, Ruskin carefully distinguished between the task of science, which is to investigate the essence and uncover the truths of material nature, and the task of art, which is to explore the possible viewpoints or aspects of material nature. In volume V of Modern Painters he firmly asserted – in diametric contradiction to his earlier views – that the greatness and truth of Turner did not rest on scientific truth, for in this respect the artist was completely ignorant. This paper interprets and evaluates Ruskin’s extraordinarily harsh criticism of Claude Lorrain, which contrasts with the fact that Turner spent almost his entire life idolising and attempting to rival Claude.

  • Collapse
  • Expand


The author instruction is available in PDF.

Please, download the file from HERE


Senior editors

Editor-in-Chief: Lővei, Pál

Editorial Board

  • Lővei Pál (Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Művészettörténeti Intézet)
  • Beke László (Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Művészettörténeti Intézet)
  • Bodnár Szilvia (Szépművészeti Múzeum)
  • Galavics Géza (Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Művészettörténeti Intézet)
  • Marosi Ernő (Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Művészettörténeti Intézet)
  • Sisa József (Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Művészettörténeti Intézet)
  • Takács Imre (ELTE BTK Művészettörténeti Intézet)
  • Evelin Wetter (Abegg-Stiftung)

Acta Historiae Artium
P.O. Box 27
HU–1250 Budapest,Hungary
Phone: (06 1) 375 0493
Fax: (06 1) 356 1849

Indexing and Abstracting Services:

  • Historical Abstracts
  • International Bibliographies IBZ and IBR





Acta Historiae Artium
Publication Model Hybrid
Submission Fee none
Article Processing Charge 1100 EUR
Printed Color Illustrations 40 EUR (or 10 000 HUF) + VAT / piece
Subscription fee 2023 Online subsscription: 468 EUR / 566 USD
Print + online subscription: 529 EUR / 640 USD
Subscription Information Online subscribers are entitled access to all back issues published by Akadémiai Kiadó for each title for the duration of the subscription, as well as Online First content for the subscribed content.
Purchase per Title Individual articles are sold on the displayed price.

Acta Historiae Artium
Language English
Size A4
Year of
per Year
per Year
Founder Magyar Tudományos Akadémia   
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 0001-5830 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2608 (Online)