Character Building - Appreciation Of Art
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
THE term "art" is generally used in connection with painting, music, architecture, and sculpture; in the broader sense it means any embodiment of the sense or the love of the beautiful. To appreciate the splendor of the autumnal foliage, the glory of gorgeous sunsets, or the grandeur of mountain scenery attests the possession of artistic sense as much as does admiration of a cathedral or of a sculptured masterpiece. There is beauty everywhere, in such familiar things as field and forest and orchard, as well as in an art gallery whose walls are adorned with the masterpieces of great painters. It has been said that "beauty exists in the eye of the beholder." This is equivalent to saying that there is beauty everywhere if only our eyes are trained to see it. The study of art trains the eye to see and the mind to appreciate the beautiful.
The love of the beautiful in nature and in art can and should be cultivated. It "pays" because of the pure pleasure it gives and because it is an elevating force in character-building. Boys and girls, and we who have reached middle age, can study art in sunset skies and snow-crystals, in the plumage of birds and the petals of the rose, as well as in paintings, engravings, and books about art. Don't forget that the study of the beautiful in nature and in art will help to lift you above petty cares and little disappointments. It improves the manners and refines the mind.
Half of Volume XII of the Library is given up to a brief but clear History of Art with many fine photographic reproductions of paintings, sculpture, and buildings. This History of Art is so clearly and simply written that it can be read with pleasure and profit by the children and young folks as well as by those who are older. The chapters on art in ancient Greece and Rome, and those on art in modern Italy and France, may well be read in connection with the geography and history of these countries. In Volume VIII of the Library there is a long, fully illustrated chapter on the beautiful forms of water, dew, snowflakes, etc. An article on "The Potter's Art" is in the same volume. In Volume X will be found articles on the " Expression of Rooms" and "Nursery Decorations." Be sure and read the description of "The Taj Mahal" in Volume VI. You will find the nature poems in Volume XI interesting. Turn, also, to the biography of Palissy in Volume IX.