Friday, October 20, 2017

How to Interest Children in Pictures

"A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts." Reynolds.

"Children On The Beach" by Mary Cassatt.
       The lack of youthful training can never be fully made up in after years. In manners, speech, and taste we see this inexorable law illustrated in the lives of hundreds of people about us. The child who hears his native language murdered in his own home will never escape from that malign influence if he live to take a Ph. D. in philology. Girls and boys brought up on trashy reading can never by dint of the most devoted study of after life develop the same sensitive literary perceptions as the more favored children of cultured homes. Children surrounded by sentimental or meretricious pictures come to maturer years heavily handicapped in their susceptibility to noble art. If the young mind is fed only on the best in books and pictures it will by and by turn naturally to the good and reject the inferior. The taste cultivated in the impressionable years becomes as sensitive to esthetic impressions as a delicately-adjusted instrument to atmospheric conditions. Realizing the force of this argument, ambitious parents are eager to surround their children with the best art influences. But while the theory is obvious enough, its practical application in matters of art is much more difficult than in the matter of literature. Unfortunately the knowledge of good art is much less widespread than that of good literature, so that the desirable material is not so available. Many who are perfectly competent to select reading matter for a child are utterly at a loss in choosing pictures. In many a home where only the best books are found, the selection of pictures is execrable. I remember very well the family amusement when my small brother came home from grammar school in a state of incredulous amazement that a certain playmate had never heard of Raphael. The youngster soon learned that there were many others in the same deplorable ignorance - and this in families whose culture was not questioned. People willing to spend money freely on books are often very stingy in their purchase of pictures. Anything is good enough to cover a bare space on the wall! As well say anything is good enough to fill a vacant place on a book-shelf. Far worse, indeed, because the picture forces itself on the attention willy-nilly, while a book may be left unread.  by Estelle M. Hurll 

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