Mr. M H Speilmann presented the last series of lectures in the Ruskin Exhibition which was held at the Manchester Town Hall. The subject of the lectures was “Ruskin as artist”. Mr. T TShann the Lord Mayor was the chairperson of the day and the audience was great.
During the lecture, Mr. Spielmann said Ruskin understood his limitations which made him unable to complete some of his work. The lecturer declared that the inability of Ruskin to finish his work came from two sources – his impatience which was natural and the basis of his work which was scientific.
Further, into the lecture, Mr. Spielmann talked about the artist love for nature, which he demonstrated by his unwillingness to “correct nature”. Mr. Spielmann saw Ruskin as a philosopher, as he adhered to truth and fact; this was what stopped him from being classified as a complete painter. However, in his best drawings, he was truly himself and no one else.
Mr. Spielmann stated that the greatest limitation to Ruskin as an artist was his lack of interest in the study of the human figure. Ruskin inserted figures in few of his work, which did not really fit in. That was why Sir Edward Poynter declared that “of beauty of form Ruskin seems to have no conception whatever.” Mr. Spielmann in his own view believed that if Ruskin had studied human figure, his work would have been more appealing and powerful. But he didn’t, therefore, – “the towns he drew were cities of the dead, unpeopled, and his landscapes were untrodden by the foot of man.”
Using lantern slides, the lecturer displayed all of Ruskin’s drawings from his school days. These drawings were the foundation of Ruskin’s literary work.
Mr. J. E. Phythian thanked Mr. Speilmann for the wonderful lecture, which was seconded by Professor Boyd Dawkins. Professor Dawkins acknowledged the importance of the exhibition to life in Manchester and he hoped that similar exhibitions would be organized in future.