Budding Sycamore (1875)

Ruskin, John (1819-1900)

Budding Sycamore
Black and gray wash, gouache, and graphite, 34.8 x 44.8 cm
Cleveland Museum of ArtCleveland

This drawing was used as an illustration in John Ruskin‘s manual on drawing, Rudimentary Studies. The most influential art critic in Britain during the 19th century, John Ruskin was also an amateur artist for whom drawing was the cornerstone of artistic practice. Since his early youth, a keen perception of the world and obsessive desire to capture nature in all of its details found expression in his drawings. In this study of a leafing sycamore in early spring, Ruskin combined exquisite detail with atmospheric rendering of space, leaving the edges of the drawing unresolved. This sheet exemplifies his belief that drawn fragments, if sensitively observed, were capable of suggesting the profound mysteries of the natural world. (CMA)