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John Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing

Following the release of the Jameel Online Centre for Eastern Art, Keepthinking have created a second resource for the collection online of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford: The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin's teaching collection at Oxford. John Ruskin created, collected and catalogued over 1,400 drawings, sketches and paintings, to teach his students how to draw. He also published multiple editions of four catalogues of the drawings, each unique in scope and magnitude, with notes and cross references. The entire set of drawings as well as the catalogues are now available online.

The John Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing website on a desktop computer.
  • The home page offers a selection of beautiful crops from the corpus of the drawings.

    Screen of the Elements of Drawing homepage.
  • The full collection may be discovered in many ways, starting from the highlights. The highlights extract the most meaningful drawings in the catalogue, inviting visitors in.

    Screen of the Elements of Drawing highlights page.
  • While on the Jameel website the most relevant contextual background was time, for Ruskin we organised the work according to the thematic approach taken by the teacher himself. Drawings are grouped in cabinets, each with a theme, as they were at the time of the School of Drawing.

    Screen of the Elements of Drawing website interactive in various states.
  • As the matter could be quite complex, contextual help is always available.

    The Elements of Drawing help screen for the interactive.
  • The catalogues are no easy matter. Ruskin kept re-organising his material and moving it around, publishing it on four catalogues and various editions of each one (a total of eleven between published and unpublished books). The catalogues online allow scholars to follow how Ruskin re-organised his collection and, consequently, his teaching method.

    Screen of the Elements of Drawing catalogues page.
  • Individual drawings (now in the care of the Ashmolean) are displayed with all available details, plus contextual information. Each drawing is cross-linked to the various editions of each catalogue, as well as to other publications and exhibitions.

    Screen of the Elements of Drawing work of art page.
  • A continuous zooming facility (in JavaScript, using standard browser technology without requiring any extra plug-ins) allows to explore images in great detail.

    Screen of the zoom facility of a work of art on the Elements of Drawing website.

Other works