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Thinking Fast & Slow, Special Issue for 2018/19

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Waithe, MJ 
Richards, Jeffrey 


'St George's Museum and John Ruskin's Reconstructive Intelligence': John Ruskin was outspoken in his opposition to the practice of antiquarian rebuilding known in the Victorian period as ‘restoration’, and he was particularly disturbed by its effects on the architectural fabric of Venice. These objections focused on the practice of building ‘models’ in the quarry of the original work. Without denying the force of such concerns, this paper makes the case that Ruskin possessed an unusually developed ‘reconstructive intelligence’, which operated more freely when the integrity of the original was not in jeopardy. I argue that this tendency – a kind of evidence-based dreaming – should be given more weight in assessing his approaches both to Venice, and to his wider programme of museum-based preservation.



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Ruskin Bulletin and Review

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