Animality

From Ruskin’s diaries, quoted by Cook and Wedderburn (Works, VII, xl-xli)

Certainly it seems intended that strong and frank animality, rejecting all tendency to asceticism, monarchism, pietism, and so on, should be connected with the strongest intellects…. Homer, Shakespeare, Tintoret, Veronese, Titian, Michael Angelo, Sir Joshua, Rubens, Velasquez, Correggio, Turner, are all of them boldly Animal. Francia and Angelico, and all the purists, however beautiful, are poor weak creatures in comparison. I don’t understand it. One would have thought purity gave strength, but it doesn’t. A good, stout, self-commanding, magnificent Animality is the make for poets and artists, it seems to me….[And later:] It is a great mystery. I begin to suspect we are all wrong together — Paul Veronese in letting his power waste into wantonness, and the religious people in mistaking their weakness and dullness for seriousness and piety. It is all very well for people to fast, who can’t eat; and to preach, who cannot talk or sing; and to walk barefoot, who cannot ride, and then think themselves good. Let them learn to master the world before they abuse it.

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