John Ruskin (British, London 1819–1900 Brantwood, Cumbria)
Watercolor, gouache, and brown ink over graphite
sheet: 7 5/8 x 10 in. (19.4 x 25.4 cm)
Bequest of George D. Pratt, 1935
Not on view
When the celebrated Victorian critic and amateur painter John Ruskin first saw the Alps in 1833, he responded to them as images of sublime beauty, records of divine creation, and scientific geology. In this mountain landscape, the product of a later journey, Ruskin chose a melancholy spot where the low sunlit trees on the left contrast starkly with the steep, shaded rows of pines that line the right. The view was taken from Unspunnen Castle (also known as Manfred's Castle because it inspired a work by Byron) in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, near Interlaken. The drawing was articulated with fluid passages of wash, overlaid with touches of dry brushwork, and then reinforced with ink, to form the trees and tiny buildings. Ethereal blue washes formed the haze that envelopes the distant peaks.
The Fine Art Society, London, 1907 (no. 169); George D. Pratt, bought at the preceding; Donor: George D. Pratt
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 12, 2009–April 12, 2009.
John Ruskin The Works of Ruskin. Sir Edward Tyas Cook, Alexander D. O. Wedderburn, George Allen & Co., Ltd., Longmans, Green and Co. and New York, 39 vols., Library edition. London, 1903–12, vol. 5, photogravure plate H, is based on this drawing, titled "The Valley of Lauterbrunnen, from Manfred's Castle.".
Janet S. Byrne, Linda Boyer Gillies English Landscape Artists. Ex. brochure, Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 26-September 6. New York, 1971, cat. no. 30.