Doge's Palace, Venice: 36th Capital

John Ruskin1849/1852

The Ruskin

The Ruskin
Lancaster, United Kingdom

In contrast with the medieval sculpted capitals on the Ducal Palace, Ruskin thought the later Renaissance carvings “base.” He made an exception for the 36th and final capital, “the most beautiful of the whole series … very noble; its groups of figures most carefully studied, very graceful, and much more pleasing than those of the earlier work, though with less real power in them.” (Stones of Venice, Volume II, 1853)

The capital supports a sculpture of the Judgement of Solomon (rising from the corbel on the left of this drawing, above a figure of Justice), as well as other subjects including here “Aristotle, with two pupils, giving laws.” Ruskin saw the purpose of the sculpture to be an assertion by the Venetian government that “Justice only could be the foundation of its stability, as these stones of Justice and Judgment are the foundation of its halls of council.”


  • Title: Doge's Palace, Venice: 36th Capital
  • Creator: John Ruskin (1819-1900)
  • Date Created: 1849/1852
  • Location Created: Doges's Palace, Venice
  • Physical Dimensions: 22.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Rights: © The Ruskin, Lancaster University
  • Medium: Pencil, black ink and ink wash.

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