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Studies in Art Appreciation
C. Edward Newell
Supervisor of Art and Handwork, Springfield, Mass.
The Story of the Picture Do you think the children in this picture are beautiful? This beautiful picture shows us two little boys, attractive, Are they boys or girls? Which of the two children seems healthy and lovely. The one standing is supposed to repreto be the older? How are they dressed? What is the boy sent the Christ Child and the one kneeling represents his who kneels doing? From what is he drinking? Who is cousin John, sometimes called St. John. giving him a drink? What is the boy at the left doing to There must be a spring of water near by, for Jesus is steady the shell? Where is he looking? What is he doing giving St, John a drink out of a shell. What a good cup with his left hand? Why does one boy stoop or kneel? the shell makes! The little St. John eagerly holds the shell What is he carrying in one hand? What is floating from to his lips, enjoying the refreshing water, for he is evidently the cross? To what is the younger boy pointing? Where tired and thirsty. You see how he is kneeling to rest s the lightest part of the picture? Does this help you to himself while drinking. Over his shoulder he holds a
see the head of the Christ Child more readily? How many light cross from which floats a scroll. The scroll reads, little cherubs or angels can you count? Are the two boys “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Perhaps you will remember on the earth? Where are the cherubs? How are they having seen a picture called the “Madonna of the Chair." holding their little hands? Can you see them as clearly as St. John also appears with his symbol in this picture. you can see the boys? What is lying on the ground? The lamb looks up as if he loved the boys and wanted Does the lamb look comfortable? Where is the lamb to have a part in all they did. The lamb, as a symbol of looking?
innocence, is the natural playmate of these beautiful boys. Why do you think the picture is called “Children of the The Christ Child is often called the Divine Shepherd, so a Shell”? Do you like the picture? Why? Do you know lamb is often painted with him. whom these little children represent? Do you remember The angels, unseen by the children, have come down from a time when you were tired and very, very thirsty? How heaven and are watching them, some with hands clasped as in good a cool drink of water tasted! Were you not very prayer. These little cherubs remind us of how tenderly the grateful to the one who gave you such a drink?
Heavenly Father watches over and cares for little children.
Murillo wants us to think of the Christ Child and St. John paper for a letter to be written when we had laryngitisfand as real little boys who loved to be out of doors and who loved we felt unable to speak a word. to play together as other boys do. But he does not want Johnny began a letter to his uncle in Florida as follows: us to forget that this is the Christ Child, so he made him
Dear Uncle much more beautiful than any real boy. This is called
The greatest crop of the United States is corn. “idealizing" a character. A story with two meanings is sometimes called an “allegory," so this is an allegorical
and then went on with a fairly good essay on com propicture.
duction, taken mostly from the geography reader. When an artist wants us to think more of Christ's divine That letter, though perfect in English, is a pitiful failure nature than of His human nature, he paints a halo or ring
as a letter. of light around his head. There is no ring of light in this
We must teach Johnny that a letter is news, and we must picture. Murillo wants us to catch the meaning of the try to develop a sense of what is news in the mind of the spirit of helpfulness, the eternal beauty of service, together person to whom we are writing. It is not impossible to with the real beauty of the children. "These things no
show Johnny that in a letter to his grandmother an account creed forbids and no faith omits.”
of the football victory of his team would not be of interest,
while the fact that old Rover had died, or that the baby had The Story of the Artist
learned to take a step, would be of great interest to her.
We may teach the children that sometimes the weather The artist who painted “Children of the Shell” was
may be news. A cold wave that freezes the ponds and the named Murillo (moo rēl' yo) (1618-1682). He was born water pipes is of interest to Aunt May, who is spending the in Seville, Spain, the son of poor parents, who died when winter in Florida. We may lead the children to see how he was but a boy. An uncle then became his guardian and trivial a bit of household news is of interest to one of the because of the boy's love for drawing, the uncle apprenticed family who is far away. him to a painter, who taught Murillo the use of colors.
We have spent much time in teaching the rules of punctuA public weekly market was held in Seville, at which
ation of a quotation within a quotation, but how often do food stuffs and all kinds of supplies were sold. The young
any of us use that form? Would not a little of that time Murillo was so poor that he was forced to paint very bright spent in studying the “Letters of Susan Hale” be worth colored little pictures to sell at the public market, even more to a pupil from every point of view? painting some pictures on the spot at any customer's order.
One way that the writer has found helpful in teaching He did not enjoy this work, but was obliged to earn money pupils to select news of interest to their friends who are to support himself. In course of time and by walking most
ill, is this. Whenever a pupil in my room is ill, for more of the way over the mountains, he was able to go from
than ten consecutive sessions, the entire room is put to Seville to Madrid, the capital of Spain. Here he studied and copied pictures at the Royal Gallery and painted many things which we
feel are of interest to the absent pupil.
work writing to the sick child. We discuss in detail those of his own. He lived and studied under the care of a very We decide what things are not quite kind to mention. famous Spanish artist by the name of Velasquez (vă läs'keth).
The fact that Ralph Snow has left town is allowable news. Soon the young painter returned to Seville where he lived
The fact that the sick child is losing new work which he and painted for the rest of his life. “Children of the Shell”
will find it hard to make up, is not to be mentioned, on the is considered by many to be the most beautiful picture of ground that he might fret over it and thus be ill longer. children in the world. The original oil painting is in the Prado Gallery, Madrid, Spain,
This custom of sending notes from the class is always pleasing to mothers. The sick child is amused and happy while reading the letters, the mother has an opportunity to see the work of the class in spelling, punctuation and writing, and to compare her own child's ability with the others, and judge fairly of the ability of her own boy. Even the nurses in a city hospital have thanked me for sending letters to a little patient, saying that they themselves were greatly entertained by the children's notes.
In Flanders Field the poppies bloomed for all to see. A young man in France during the heaviest of the fight- The white crosses shone and the larks flew over where ing wrote home to his mother somewhat as follows: many men were lying. Yet only one saw the significance
of these familiar things and wrote a poem that will live. Dear Ma
If we can train the children first to see the meaning in the There isn't much to say, so I won't write often. If you don't hear you'll know I'm all right. It's awful muddy. Don't worry.
trivial things, if we can teach them to express that meaning
JACK in an individual forcible way, we shall do more to enrich This was an extreme case, perhaps, but there were
their own lives and the lives of their friends. than we can countless lads in France who were not able to send home
do in any amount of time spent on routine exercises in an interesting, graphic letter because they did not see the punctuation and rules of grammar. significant details of the life. Some boys did not write even
The war has taught us many things, good and not so as much as Jack because they had nothing at all to say.
good, but we must learn from it the necessity of making This inability to express their feelings on paper was not
the letters of the children vital, meaningful and individual, wholly due to the censor, though, of course, the fact that
so that they may not fail in the days when they are for any allsletters were to be read by a third person had some effect
reason separated from their homes to keep in close touch in checking spontaneity. The reason for the many in
with the ones who wait at home. articulate boys lies back in the schoolrooms of the last decade. We who were teaching these lads to write were teaching them to spell and to punctuate (perhaps), but we
America's Historic Bells were not teaching them to express themselves.
The peal of eight bronze bells which hang in the belfry of I wonder how many of us have been guilty of giving the the Old North Church in Boston, have rung for every children a letter to write when we were busy in getting out great event in the history of the United States. The bells a report that was due, hoping thereby to keep them still, were cast in 1744, in England, and are now the only ones and reasonably busy, until the report could be finished. of their kind in this country. To proclaim the recent I wonder if we have not rather carelessly handed out the signing of the Peace Treaty, they rang for forty minutes.
Do We Teach Letter
One day-one of the few balmy days of earliest springone of the lads of this school leaned idly against our hero (or is it heroine) because the stones were warm and he felt too spring-fevery to think of anything else to do, and in the same spirit of idleness he loosened some of the stones nearest him in the center of the pile; then, because there is a psychological law of repetition and least resistance, he loosened another and another and found by piling them above their fellows that he had made a cavity. This suggested getting into it, so he worked more industriously until he had made room for part of himself to hide; that awoke the primitive instinct of the cave man and he dug deeper with the idea of hiding away and startling his companions when they passed along the sidewalk; but shortly he was joined by others like himself and as they pulled and hauled, their circulation improved, ideas grew apace and the evolution of civilization was spread out for all who cared to read.
“Let's have a cave!” they said on Monday, digging, heaving, with grunts and ouches.
“Let's have it a hut,” they decided the next week as their evoluting ancestors had decided ages ago. More business of the same kind. “Let's have more than one room,” they said, compassing another age in a few years, perspiring and removing coats and sweaters.
"Let's have a regular town," they said, again keeping up with their ambitions while the foundations began to widen out toward the road and on and on toward the next corner.
“Let's make it into a FORT!”
And the evolution, with all its irony, was complete, and they have reached the twentieth century.
Well, a fort it was, and as the days went by a great flag waved from the branches of the trees that marked its
Teachers beginnings; from the highest point stuck up the antennæ
of the wireless with its opposite end carefully tied to two Alle McLoughlin
dead batteries hidden at the base of the parapet, where
no crafty spy might hope to locate them. “Let's Play
Wireless means code, you know (or have you forgotten),
and code means a key and a key means a secret chamber F you are a very sensible person, or a very orderly in the rocks where only the trusted few may delve; and one, don't waste your time reading this, because it codes and keys and forts mean pass words.
the tale of an erratic stone-pile that set out on What do you think they chose?
a career of adventure aided and abetted by two Why, "Pershing," of course. grown-ups and tempted by a hundred small ones.
Sorties, dashing charges, brave rescues, bold reconIt started out to be an ordinary stone-pile with no noiterings, over the top, the zero hour, sieges when ammuniparticular ambitions and no great future before it, tion ran so low that bold men crawled through dark passages and it expected to do no more than to grow up into and by devious ways through untold dangers to reach a sturdy foundation for some modest home and rear the base of supplies — all these became daily occurrences. a commonplace family like the other nine hundred During the darkest days of the war, when the enemies and ninety-nine of its kin; but fate has a way of giving were most aggressive, the ammunition disappeared entirely, a kick here and a shove there to even a stone-pile until and it was only the understanding principal who opporit finds itself doing things it never dreamed of being allowed tunely discarded a handful of waste chalk at that
particular to do and having things happen to it that it never imagined and crucial moment, that saved the fate of the flag. And would occur.
that recess the whole works became a munition factory There are a good many reasons why this tale might and powder was pounded out by men and women alike. never have been written and not many reasons why Sometimes there would be a lull at the front and one it should), for if this load of rocks had chanced to belong or more of the Fochs or Haigs would have a grand reto some one other than a woman who had liked boys or view or call his corps out for field maneuver, as one day had been dumped anywhere else than next to a school when there rang out under the high windows these comfull of boys, or if the principal of that school had been mands: anyone else than one who understood boys, this stone-pile “Shun! might never have been able to generate all the happiness Pr'sent arms! that it had been giving out for the months before vacation Reporter arms! time came. But it was bought by a woman who had Sojer arms! boys of her own and piled along the terrace between two March!” big friendly maple trees next door to the First Ward School, And a sea of nine broomstick guns started off across and in that school abides a principal who is endowed lots in all the pomp and circumstance of a volunteer army with that heaven-born gift of knowing how and when under the leadership of a field marshal. to let boys alone - and so our stone-pile came into Heroes of many campaigns as the decorations on their its own, fulfilling even more than its mission. That is inflated breasts showed to all who understood the insignia as much as the greatest do.
of the Land of “Let's play.” To others, perhaps, that But to get on with my story:
pasteboard disk was only a milk-bottle stopper, but to
the initiated and its wearer it was the Legion of Honor; so recently a fort and a inunition plant. This base hospital, and maybe the stupid only saw a Black Cat hosiery tag in turn, was the scene of marvelous operations and miracuflapping from the string about another's neck, but that lous recoveries. was because such a one does not know how the Order Arms were amputated and grew again in a most uncanny of the Garter looks; that flat top off a can of peanut way. Heads and legs were blown off in the morning butter was not a can cover, at all; it was an American and were functioning normally again by dinner time. Distinguished Service Cross.
Generals carried away on stretchers were charging the "Left! Right! Left! Right!” they advanced, skirting enemy at the first call of the bugle at the following recess. all the dry places, but everyone splashing through all the It was done in the most modern, sanitary and efficient puddles.
way, too, with offices, wards, heads and assistants, all “Look at Coxey's Army!” derided an urchin who had correctly placed. to go with the family laundry.
And then, suddenly – why, no can tell — the "Aw, g'wan you Chinaman!” retaliated one from pile was deserted by the opposing armies, by the surgeons the ranks, giving his coup d'etat with neatness and and nurses, by the munition makers; and the girls of dispatch, not only intimating his own emancipation from the school appeared looking over its possibilities and such slavery, but suggesting that the poor drudge would commencing its rehabilitation. later have to turn the wringer.
The metamorphosis was made by the simple expedient Bump - bump - bump, bump, bump - went the one of laying down a paper flour sack for a rug at the main lonesome little red drum up to the walk where the general- entrance, and immediately the gore disappeared, the issimo made a sharp turn and took the opportunity to secret chambers became kitchen cabinets, the dead batteries turn quickly to see if anyone had insurrected, for the com- found themselves to be rolling pins, the antennæ bent itself mander was a little Italian and his heredity reminded over obligingly into a line on which to hang the family him that one can never tell when a revolution may be washing, G. H. Q. altered to the laundry, and the arsenal brewing. Sure enough, there was one who had stepped was transformed into a nursery. But the flag remained out of line, and another about to follow. “Get int’ line,
“Get int' line, what it was. you fella!” he yelled. “Sojer don't stop to scratch he Teas, dancing, social calls, housecleaning, disciplining
of refractory dolls and amateur schools, shopping and neck - it's my 'lastic!” retorted the revo- epidemics of the “flu” replaced the war-like activities lutionist.
of the male population, and peace and quiet reigned. But "Shun!” yowled the lusty disciplinarian and order at noon time when all the rest had gone, one little fellow, cnce more prevailed as he glanced along his line, with like somebody of old on the ruins of Carthage, or maybe men from many lands: Irish, French, English, Italian, like a more recent temporary conqueror on less ancient Dutch, Russian, German even.
ruins, used to sit on the stone-pile and viewing the place “What army is this?." called out a passer-by.
where the peaceful arts prevailed, sighed for the days “It's the League of Nations International Police
of Nations International Police of militarism. For, like this recent temporary conqueror, Force," answered another man who had been watching suggested previously, it was he who had loosened the them.
first stone on that day when he had had nothing better “We ain't either,” came from the army.
to do. "It's the Bolsheviki," put in a high school senior who Day after day, and week after week since the searly happened along.
days in March until vacation days came, these children Freshie! Freshie!" was the stinging comeback from lived and fought and dreamed in a world quite their own, his small brother in the ranks, who knew where to touch changing, at will, in a way to make the wisest envy, the with most effect.
days of war or peace, of poverty or plenty as their fancy "Forward! March!” once more came the order, the dictated; and all with the easy, nonchalant, magic words, column wheeled into line with a few shoves and punches "Let's play.” from the teacher of tactics, the drum started up its single There went by, the other day after school, two women beat with the army still incognito.
who had never wanted to grow up, and they looked They reconnoitered the fort, which they seemed to over this wonderful stone-pile that had spread itself over recall, all at once, sent up a few spies, charged and with- the terrace and roadside, but never beyond the limits out a casualty (unless you counted the loss of the com- that the teachers had set. They saw the place where missary which was an all day sucker and the last end the flag hung; the wireless; the part after part that had of a banana in its skin), landed once more inside their been added on, a little here and some more there; the old redoubts. The man on the sidewalk must have room where one future interior decorator had plastered been that kind of a boy himself, for he followed the army the stones with gaudy wall paper which he had confisup to the very walls of their stone-pile and asked, start- cated from the house-cleaning supplies at home and brought ing down the line — “What's your name? And yours? to his Joan; the Persian (Gold Medal) rug; aye, even And yours?" Out came the names - Irish and French, one of the secret subterranean chambers; and over the English, Italian, Russian, Dutch, even German.
queer, crazy, rambling windings and walls, the spirit "Are you the League of Nations?” he asked again. of the little inhabitants of this play-world city seemed
“Naw!" they told him, wishing he would hurry and to hover. let them go on with their play.
The two women grinned when they caught each other "Are you the Bolsheviki?” laughing.
waxing sentimental over it, but if their fairy godmothers “Naw!”
had chanced along just then, it would not have been for "Well, what are you?” he asked again.
riches or beauty or fame or power or wealth that They gave him the look that is the portion passed out they would have sighed; rather they would have to all feeble-minded, as they said, with one voice:
asked that they might have back again and keep it “We're 'Mericans!” and then sounded the bugle for so long as they lived — the priceless blessing of being the resumption of the business of war.
able to - "Let's play —!" After the battles, to the rescue came the valiant amlance corps, with its stretcher bearers and first aid doctors and surgeons, although the surgeons were usually found
“The almond blossoms light up the black boughs,
But on the mountain tops still lies the snow, only at the base hospital, and the few casualties were
And snow it seems that flutters on these trees, re-assembled and retrieved to the impromptu hospital
Stained with the violet fragrance of the spring."
Albion U. Jenkins N writing on the subject of phonetics I am not un
lake aware of the arguments of those who have little
rake faith in the value of phonetics to give the child
cake power in reading. Those who are opposed to the
take teaching of phonetics generally cite instances where pupils
wake have learned to read fluently without their aid. It is true that pupils can learn to read without systematic drill in phonetics, that most of us learned to read without studying ake, and the various initial sounds, while the second ac
The first plan develops familiarity with the phonogram, phonetics and perhaps were able to read so young that we are scarcely able to remember when we began, and that quaints the pupils with the words as wholes. In like manner many of us have taught beginning classes in reading by
many other phonograms can be taught. This can be made some method, as the A, B, C, word, or sentence method,
a very interesting exercise and in the hands of a skilful not knowing anything about the teaching of reading with
teacher will be enjoyed by the pupils. Before leaving such
an exercise both concert and individual work should be the help of phonetics, and obtained excellent results. These facts do not necessarily prove that we should
required. teach reading without phonetics. It is quite as possible
As soon as pupils are familiar with a number of sounds,
as in the above exercise, the sounds should be printed on in reading, as in everything else, to swing from one extreme to the other, from no phonetics at all to an all-phonetic be used for rapid drill work in some such manner as this:
cards about six by eight inches in size. These cards should method, whether it requires the systematic teaching of The teacher takes her position where every pupil in the phonetics or not, and for this reason we must not become shown, it is pronounced softly by the class in concert.
class can easily see the cards. As soon as the phonetic is over enthusiastic about the particular advantages of any This concert drill serves as a review and freshens the particular method; we should be sufficiently open-minded to select the strong points from every method. Likewise
names of the phonetics in the minds of those who have in this case we should be ready to accept whatever help forgotten them. After all the sounds have been reviewed the study of phonetics can give us.
in concert, they should be reviewed individually. There
From my own experience and observation I am thoroughly convinced that
are various ways of conducting individual drills, but one
of the most efficient is to have pupils rise by rows, one reading can be better taught and greater progress made with the assistance of phonetics than without.
row at a time. The first row stands and each pupil, All the newer method readers recognize the value of beginning at the front, pronounces
the sound shown and
sits down immediately. When the whole row has thus phonetics in teaching reading, only some go to the extreme and begin with phonetics, the dry bones of reading. These been seated, the next row stands and proceeds in the same all-phonetic methods doubtless afford a fine crutch for
manner. It is a good plan to occasionally have a few learn to say words with the least expenditure of energy and are ready to use them in their reading work. But weak teachers and those who want to have their pupils pupils pronounce all the sounds without stopping.
Pupils in this way become familiar with many sounds on their part. This is the extreme of the no-phonetic assistance must be given the child or he will make his method. It seems that we ought to strike a balance and make use of the assistance that phonetics can give. The applications in but very few instances. To develop
in blending is often a difficult task, but can be facilitated newer methods that do this are the so-called story methods which include the all-phonetic methods just by writing the sound known by the children on the board mentioned.
as follows: Why should not children read something worth while
f d from the beginning? Why should they not have their
1 h desire for reading aroused so that they will want to read
ound old the new story for what they can get out of it? Most
ill pupils have a strong desire to read and will read if given
ought the opportunity and material which has a peculiar mean
ake ing for them. Rhymes, fairy tales, fables and folk tales are the literature of childhood. Why not begin with such
ate material? Children always love a story. They will listen to it as it is told by the teacher, dramatize it and read it with zest if it is presented in the right way.
The teacher points to various sounds forming a word After a few weeks of school, children ought to have while the pupils watch, as, f-ight. The children raise learned to read several good basic stories. Out of this hands and a pupil is called upon to pronounce the word, material should come the phonetics which the child is to fight. So s-ing, t-ill, f - ought, f - ight - ing, l-ight, study. If the word, make, appears in the lesson, why not- ide, etc. This exercise gives the pupils the power to separate it into its two principal phonetic elements, m and blend or put together the sounds they see. Exercises of ake, letting the pupils discover the sounds for themselves? this character should be given daily in the first two grades, Certainly no harm will be done. If the pupils have had frequently in the third grade, and often enough in the sufficient ear-training they will readily give other words fourth grade so that the pupils do not forget them. New that contain the phonogram, ake, or the so-called ake sounds may be added as taught and the exercise accordingly family, as fake, bake, sake, lake, rake, cake, take, wake. becomes more difficult for the grade and serves its purpose. These may be arranged on the board as follows, the teacher As outlined above the daily exercise in the first three writing the words down as fast as they are given by the grades would be: pupils: ake ake
I Review all familiar phonetics by aid of perception make
1 Concert drill
2 Individual Drill