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(By Prof. C. O. Thompson, Worcester, Massachusetts.]
Art-education embraces all those appliances and methods of training by which the sense of form and proportion is developed. It is successful when the student unerringly discriminates between what is ugly and what is beautiful, and expresses his ideas of form in drawing as readily as ideas of other sorts on the written page.
The interests of art-education in Massachusetts center at present in the work undertaken and vigorously prosecuted by Mr. Walter Smith. This gentleman holds a commission from the city of Boston as general supervisor of drawing in the public schools, and one from the State of Massachusetts as State-director of art-education. He was formerly a South Kensington art-master at Leeds, England.
The pian of instruction for the schools is very simple. The teachers assemble at stated intervals, and the lesson is given them by Mr. Smith, which they are to reproduce in their schools. For the teachers of the State at large, this work is done at teachers' institutes.
The scheme of instruction for graded public schools is set forth in the following table : Scheme of instruction in drawing suggested for graded public schools in Massachusetts, com
plying rith the act of 1870 concerning industrial drawing. (Arranged by Walter Smith, State-director of ari-education, Massachusetts.)
Subjects taught, and order of lessons for each week.—The figures 1, 2, 3, 4, signify the first, second, third, and fourth lesson in each week.
Where two alternative subjects are pamed, one is to be taken one week and another the following week.
Reference to a text-book means that whatever drawing-book is in use in the schools shall be drawn from, as a distinct exercise.
All the classes marked thus * are to draw upon the blackboard, when the lesson is suitable to such an exercise; one-third of the class to draw each lesson, so that the whole class will have drawn upon the board every three lessons.
1. Free-band-outline from cards, charts, and blackboard-lessons, the first copies. Memory-lessons, drawing previous exercises from memory. Definition of plane-geometry, to be learned by heart, and illustrations drawn, Dictation-lessons of right-line-figures and simple curves.
Order of lessons: 1. From cards or charts. 2. From blackboard. 3. Memory and dictation, alterpately. 4. Geometric definitions,
2. The more advanced copies in cards, charts, and blackboard-lessons. Memory. and dictation-lessons, (without illustrations.) Object-lessons, illustrated by drawings. Geometric definitions, drawn on a large scale.
Order of lessons : 1. From cards or charts. 2. From blackboard. 3. Memory and dictation, alternately. 4. Object-lessons and geometric definitions, alternately.
3. Free-band-outlines of ornament and objects, from blackboard. Lessons in text-book. Map-drawing. Memory. and dictation-lessons. Geometric exercises, plane-geometry, up to 50 problemso f constructional figures.
Order of lessons : 1. Objects from blackboard and drawing from text-book, alternately. 2. Memory-drawing and dictation-exercises, alternately. 3. Geornetric and map-drawing, alternately.
4. Free-hand-outline-drawing, from solid models, Geometric drawing, up to the end of the course. Design in geometric forms, from the blackboard Memory-drawing. Map-drawing. Dictation-lessons.
Order of lessons: I. Model-drawing, from object. 2. Geometric and memory drawing, alternately. 3. Map-drawing and design, alternately.
5. Model- and object-drawing, with exercises in perspective, drawn by the free band. Object-lessons, illustrating historic art and architecture. Shading from models and copies. Harmony and mixture of colors. Design from natural foliage.
Order of lessons : 1. Model-shading and object-lessons, alternately. 2. Lessons in color and exercises in design, alternately.
6. Perspective by instruments. Shading in chalk and color, from models and natural objects, and foliage. Design in color and shadow. Projection. Lectures on painting, sculpture, and architecture.
Order of lessons: 1. Perspective and projection, alternately. 2. Painting or shading and design, alternately,
7. Object-drawing and design. Ornamental design. Historic lessons. Advanced dictation- and momorylessons. Lessons in teaching drawing. Perspective, advauced. Designing blackboard examples.
Order of lessons: 1. Object-drawing and design, alternately. 2. Perspective and dictation- or memory. lessons, alternate.y. 3. Lessons in teaching drawing, occasionally.
The results so far obtained, though necessarily meager, are very encouraging. A large majority of teachers in the State will second the resolution recently adopted by a convention of London school-masters: “That half the time previously given to writing had been given to drawing, with the result that the writing had been better, and the power of drawing was a clear guin.” This was in 1852, when England was beginning the series of experiments in art-education which bas culminated in South Kensington.
EVENING-SCHOOLS FOR ADULTS. The law requires all towns of more than 10,000 inhabitants to provide free instruction in drawing for mechanics and artisans and all others who may desire it. The law has been in force two years, and nearly all the towns included in its provisions have established evening-drawing-schools. An exhibition was held in Boston in May, 1872, when drawings from the different classes were exhibited, and great interest was thus awakened in the subject.
The report of the committee, C. C. Perkins, W. R. Ware, and Walter Smith, appointed to examine the drawings, affirms the entire success of the scheme, as judged by practical benefits, and suggests the necessity of large provision of models and artexamples for future classes.
GENERAL IDEA. The general grounds of public polity upon which these classes are deemed necessary and expedient have been thoroughly traversed. They belong in the same category as public libraries and reading-rooms. The library is needed as a force to infinence the faculties which the school has wakened and partially trained and to guide them towards truth and justice. The drawing-school is needed to carry forward the arttraining, begun in schools, to large and beneficent results in quickened invention and improved taste. If this art-training has been neglected in school, the drawing-class offers the community a chance to rectify the mistake. Drawing is regarded in this movement, not as an accomplishment for a few gifted individuals, but as a necessity in the future for every first-rate artisan.
WHO ATTEND THESE CLASSES. Two sorts of pupils have appeared in them: First, those who are disposed to undertake a general ‘art-training, so as to learn to draw from models, free hand, without reference to any immediate practical benefit. In this class are teachers, engravers, architects, stone-cutters, and others. The main point in the training of such persons is discipline of the sense of form and proportion by carefully-studied exercises. The second class consists of artisans of all sorts, mainly machinists and carpenters, who bave no time, or think they have none, for sheer art-training, but want a knowledge of instrumental drawing which will be of immediate use in business. Statistics of the Worcester class of 1870 show some interesting results. The class numbered 145—136 men and 9 women. In respect of age, there were one over 60, two between 50 and 60, four between 40 and 50, twenty-eight between 30 and 40, sixty-one between 20 and 30, and forty-nine under 20. In respect of occupation, there were, of machinists, 42; carpenters, 26; pattern-makers, 7; architects, 4; while the others represented thirty different trades and occupations. .
More than half the class walked two miles to get the lessons, two-thirds of them were usually in their seats a half hour before the lesson began, and three-fourths of them were present at the last lesson as punctually as at the first.
In 1871 there were 250, representing as great å variety of age and occupation as the first class. Other towns in the State have a similar record.
TESTIMONY TO THE NEED OF ART-EDUCATION. The statistics just given furnish strong evidence of the widely-felt need of these drawing-classes. Other corroborative evidence is abundant. Mr. E. P. Morgan, mechanic engineer of the Saco Water-Power Machine-Shop, says: “ Through the inability of our workmen to understand a working-drawing, hundreds of dollars are
lost every year in this establishment." Commenting on this, Mr. Bartholomew, of Boston, says: “What is true in this case is true of our manufacturing-establishments all over the land. The time lost in doing that which must be done again because of error, the loss of material and of power, the wear and tear of tools to no good purpose, the time of engineers and foremen spent in explaining drawings which would have been understood at a glance had the workmen been instructed in drawing, and the time consumed in listening to these explanations cost the country, it is safe to say, millions of dollars annually.”
Mr. C. H. Morgan, superintendent of the Washburn & Moen Manufacturing Company, Worcester, Massachusetts, says: “When a boy, I was one of a class of thirteen who spent all their leisure time in studying drawing. At the present time every one of that class bas attained to an important position, either as manufacturer or manager; and each bas owed his power to seize the opportunity of his advancement to his knowledge of drawing.”
Prof. c. 0. Thompson, of the Worcester Free Institute, says: “It is estimated that the productive efficiency of every machine-shop would be increased 33 per cent. if every journeyman could read any common working-drawing and work by it."
Prof. Bail, of Yale College, says: “At the conclusion of a lesson in drawing, grayhaired mechanics have often almost overpowered me with thanks, saying, “This lesson is worth hundreds of dollars to me,' or 'I shall work better all my life for this."
Abundant evidence of the same sort is contained in a pamphlet entitled Papers on Drawing, issued by the Massachusetts board of education in 1870.
It is an important consideration that progress in ability to read a drawing is vastly more rapid than in skill to make one.
PLAN. The plan pursued varies but little in the different towns. The whole number of lessons averages thirty each winter. All beginners have ten lessons in free band. There are three lessons in horizontal and vertical lines, and plain and ornamental forms composed of those lines; three lessons in curves; two lessons in perspective; two lessons in review of all these.
An important point here is not to dwell on the mere practice of drawing straight lines. All drawing consists of lines, and these may as well be drawn in some relation one to another as isolated. After the preliminary ten lessons there will be some persons in this class who will prefer to devote themselves to free-hand-work. Let such form a class and go on. They can begin at the sixteenth lesson, drawing from objects. Others will insist on instruction in “ drawing to a scale," as it is called ; i. e., making plans, elevations, and projections. In the instruction of these persons, a good part of the time is spent in learning the elements of descriptive geometry; i. e., the method of representation of any object in horizontal and vertical projections in any position. Each lesson occupies an hour and a half. . An important fact here is that ordinary mechanics and artisans need not be reduced to the barren labor of copying either drawings or machines. It is possible to give them clear potions of the principles by which als solid objects are represented on a flat surface. This is, in fact, the only hopeful kind of instruction for then.
Copying, in any strict sense, should not be allowed in any of these classes. The pupils should see the teacher work at the blackboard. The process is the important thing for them, rather than the result. The difference between this method and working from copies is exactly analogous to that between translating a page of Latin with or without the aid of a translation,
After the first winter in any town there will arise a necessity for an advanced class in free-hand-drawing, the same in mechanio drawing, and in certain cases for instruction in special branches, as carpentering, ship-construction, &c.
AUXILIARIES. Teachers.--It is found that good draughtsmen do not necessarily make good teachers. Attendance at a technic school or a normal class, at least, is indispensable. A good teacher commands $10 an evening for his services.
Models.-Sets of models for the free-hand-classes and for schools are made, after designs by Walter Smith, at the work-shop of the Worcester school. A collection of mod
els for the mechanic classes can be obtained for the asking in any large manufactur· ing-town. It will consist mainly of patterns and castings of parts of machines. Good models are indispensable.
Utensils.-The town furnishes a room, warmed and lighted, and equips it with tables and models. The pupil provides drawing-board, paper, instruments, &c.
Books. For teachers, Mr. Walter Smith bas published his address at Lewistown, before the American Institute of Instruction ; The Teachers' Companion, designed to accompany the models; and Art-Education, or Lowell Lectures of 1871. He is preparing a series of text-books on free-hand, perspective, and model-drawing. Teachers of
mechanic drawing will get very valuable aid from a set of lessons given at the Ecole de Dessin in Paris, by MM. Petitcolui and Chaumont.
Art-museums.—The great need beyond all others, tho great result which all this work, at present so interesting, is to accomplish, is the establishment of an art-museum at every important manufacturing-center. Such a museum is in progress at Boston. When it is completed, art-education will begin in earnest.
STATE NORMAL ART-SCHOOL. This institution was established by legislative action in 1873, it having become erident that, if drawing was to be successfully taught in the public schools, provision must be made for the training of competent teachers.
Its specific aim is to prepare teachers for the industrial drawing-schools of the State, who may also superintend instruction in drawing in the public schools. In the future it may be necessary to provide for high skill in technic drawing and fine-art-culture, but the immediate pressing demand is for teachers who know thoroughly the elementary subjects and can teach them with fair intelligence. This demand the school will aim to supply by providing, at the outset, training in elementary studies only, making this, however, as complete and practical as circumstances will admit.
Conditions of admission.-For the first year connection with the public schools or with the industrial evening-classes in the State will be a condition of admission. But if this class of applicants should not fill the school, the complement will be made up of the most promising candidates resident in the State who declare their intention to be. come teachers of drawing. If there is still room, others, residents or non-residents, may be admitted. In every instance, however, an examination in free-hand-drawing will precede admission, and only those who show an aptitude for drawing, with some proficiency in its elements, can be received.
Course of instruction. The course for the first year only is determined. During this year there will be careful individual instruction in free-hand-drawing, painting, and designing. Instrumental industrial drawing will be taught by lectures, with blackboard-illustrations, which method will also be pursued in the instruction in architecture, machine-drawing, orthographic projection, isometric projection, projection of shades and shadows, geometric drawing, and perspective.
The school-year.-The school-year, which began November 6, 1873, will terminate May 9, 1874, the sessions for ordinary students being on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays of each week, from 9 a. m. to 2 p. m., and from 3 to 5 and 1 to 9 p. m. Students engaged in teaching drawing are required to attend four of these sessions per week, and those not so engaged eight sessions per week. For teachers of the State normal schools, a special session is held on Wednesday of each week, from 3 to 5 p. m. .
Examinations and diplomas.-To secure permission to be examined for a diploma, each student must submit twenty-four exercises, the subjects of which are indicated in a printed list of diploma-works. These exercises are to show whether the student possesses the manipulative skill necessary to teach drawing. If they should be approved, the student will be allowed to offer himself for the diploma-examination held at the close of the annual session. This being passed satisfactorily, a diploma will be given testifying to the scientific and artistic qualifications of the holder to give instruction in elementary drawing.
Should a student fail to pass on any subject, he may present himself again at a subsequent examination, the subjects already passed being recorded in his favor; but he cannot receive the diploma of the school until all the subjects given out for exami. nation have been passed successfully.
Demand for such a school.-Four months after the opening of the school two hundred applications for admission had been received. The superintendent, indeed, estimates that if all the needed conveniences were given, such a school must open next year with five hundred pupils. He says that he has in his desk applications from many colleges and universities in several States for accomplished teachers of art, to which he is unable to make any favorable response from lack of present trained matériel, and fears that such matériel cannot be prepared in less than four years with the instrumentality already in his hands.
He expresses the hope that America may yet have an institution kindred with the great industrial art-schools of European states, which may, through its graduates, affect the value and beauty of every branch of industry,