Art Education – Picture Study

A suggestive list of pictures for study in the different Forms is given in the detailed Course of Study. The teacher may choose two, or possibly more, pictures for study during the year, from this list, or may substitute others of equal excellence that are as suitable for the purpose.

The attentive consideration of a few beautiful pictures painted by artists whose claim to greatness is acknowledged by the world, will give the pupil a taste for what is best in Art and will also aid him in giving expression to his own ideas. Apart from this, it will be found that the concentration of the attention on the thought expressed by the artist in his picture and on the form in which he has expressed it, will have an elevating effect on the mind similar to that experienced through the study of good literature.

A picture to be studied by a class should be large enough to be seen by every pupil. Where it is not possible to obtain one sufficiently large for this purpose, three or four medium-sized prints of the same picture may be placed around the room so that each pupil may have a good view of one ; or one may be fastened up, a day or two before the lesson, where every pupil will have an opportunity for studying it some time during the day, and each member of the class should be encouraged to discover all that can be found out about this picture by close observation. A print that is smaller than seven by ten inches is not of much use for this purpose.

A picture that has been studied should be left up afterwards for a few days, in order that the pupils may enjoy it through the light that the lesson has brought to bear upon it and also that their impressions concerning it may be deepened.

The method of teaching this subject, as demonstrated in the Manual, concentrates the attention on a single picture and the artist who painted it. A different method, by which several pictures that deal with the same subject are studied together without being in any way connected with the artists who painted them, may be taken occasionally. This method is particularly adapted for use with young pupils, who may be encouraged to bring pictures of children for study at one time and pictures of animals at another.

Pictures representing a season, such as Spring or Autumn, or some particular time of the day, as Evening, may be studied in Forms III and IV in connection with landscape composition. The study of pictures that are applicable to any of the drawing lessons that are being taken at the time will stimulate the observation of the pupils and strengthen their powers of expression.