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How to Develop Art-Appreciation.
“As people may habituate themselves to bad food, to spirits, tobacco, and opium, just in the same way they may habituate themselves to bad art—and that is exactly what is being done.”—TOLSTOY.
The purpose of the art-teaching must be kept clearly in mind. Is it to give technical skill, or is it to develop an understanding and a love of art? Both of these are legitimate claimants, but demand different methods. As this lecture deals entirely with art-appreciation, how to teach a child to draw, paint, etc., will not be discussed except by way of comparison.
The nature of science and the purpose and methods of teaching it forms a good background for art-teaching. It brings out clearly the character of art and enables us to see clearly wherein it differs from science and how far the methods of the one may be used in teaching the other.
In teaching art-appreciation facts must be very carefully selected and judiciously used. The acquisition of facts, in itself, cannot raise a child's æsthetic standard, for this can come only from making æsthetic judgments-judgments rendered by the joint action of the intellect and the feelings.
Art-appreciation can be taught only by the aid of concrete objects. In choosing these we must begin where the pupil stands, with common and familiar things which he sees and handles every day. Hence in a lecture on this subject it is necessary to place before the audience concrete things to clearly illustrate the method advocated. By the use of actual things, the purpose and character of form, color, and ornament can be clearly shown.
Book recommended: "How to Judge of a Picture.”—John C. Van Dyke.
“Sensations are the elements of the world.”—Mach.
During recent years great progress has been made in etiology. We have learned that the crystal spring may contain deadly germs and apparently pure air be laden with infection. Upon such discoveries has been founded a science of hygiene for man's physical system.
This, however, is only half of the field of hygiene, for it does not show any direct causes for nervous disorders. The source of these must be sought for in the domain of sense-. impressions. Recognizing this, a few great scientists are investigating this field with surprising results. They find that not only food, drink, and air may contain disease germs, but that most sense-impressions carry into the nervous system strength or weakness, disease or health. We now know that color may produce nervous diseases, as well as increase or diminish in a pronounced degree man's strength.
Several organic diseases are now cured by the use of color alone, and color and music are used successfully in the treatment of patients affected with nervous derangement.
Sense-impressions are streams of indestructible energy which pour into the nervous system, furnishing it with the raw material for thought, feelings, and conduct.
Books recommended: "Analysis of the Sensations.”—Ernst Mach. "Experimental Morphology."--C. B. Davenport. Chapter VII.
The Decoration of Schools.
“There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became, And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of
the day Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.”
The decoration of schools should consist of much more than pictures, statues, and bric-a-brac. It should begin with the building, the proportion of the rooms, the mouldings, color of the walls and blackboards; the desks, seats, cupboards, etc. The school-house should be a work of art. If this is vulgar it is not easy to refine it by a lavish use of ornament. A beautiful building is the ideal to be realized wherever possible. But the school-houses already built must be accepted and the only practicable thing is to modify their surroundings and appearance by ornament.
The decoration of schools which has already been done in many cities teaches many lessons in failures and successes. In studying these we will get many suggestions, but we must keep clearly in mind that the decoration of each school, even each room, is a unique problem in decoration, and before it can be attempted all of the conditions must be studied: the size of the wall-spaces, the color, the mouldings, the age and character of the pupils, and many other factors.
Certain practical questions must be settled also. How shallthe expense of decoration be met? What will the artists do for the schools? How can an art-for-schools association be made effective ?
The Art in Literature.
“A rich person is not punished even for great offences, but a poor man is punished even for small offences."
“Plate sin with gold
Independently of the facts told in any piece of writing there is a charm in the manner of telling, in the choice and arrangement of the words. This way of seeing and telling is the art in literature. It is this that gives immortality to Homer and Shakespeare. It is this quality in literature which stimulates, fructifies, and delights. The study of a piece of literature scientifically means analysis, philology, facts; but art eludes all such analytical pursuit. As neither oxygen nor hydrogen can quench thirst, neither can the constituent elements of an artistic sentence produce the feeling which the whole sentence produces. This can infect the reader with the feelings of the writer only when taken exactly as he wrote it.
What then should be the purpose and methods of studying the art in literature? How can pupils be brought to love the best literature? What is the relation of penny-dreadfuls and day-dreaming? Answers to these and similar questions will give a clearer idea of the difference between the art and science of a masterpiece.
Book recommended: "The Sense of Beauty.”—George Santayana.
University Extension Lectures
History and the Historical Novel
History and the Novel as Literature
Francis Newton Thorpe, Ph.D.
Fellow, and Professor of American Constitutional History at the University of Pennsylvania, 1885-1898.
Author of The Constitutional History of the United States; A Constitutional History of the American People; A History of the American People ; The Spoils of Empire: A Romance of the Old World and the New, &c., &c., &c.
Price, 10 cents.
Copyright, 1903, by
III South Fifteenth Street, Philadelphia, Pa.