TEXT BOOKS OF ART EDUCATION
In presenting to the public the series of Text Books of Art Education, of which this volume is a part, it is desired to state briefly the aims and purposes of the plan upon which the series is based.
It is not necessary to review the history of art education in public schools, nor to present argument for the introduction or retention of drawing as an important study. These questions have been exhaustively treated, and need no fresh discussion. The school that does not offer to its community some kind of systematic art instruction is today an exception.
Education along specific lines should conform to the philosophy which is accepted as fundamental in general educational work. The educational principles adhered to in these books are, therefore, in accord with the psychological laws of child development which are endorsed by the leading educators of the present time, and the effort has been made to work out in these books a series of lessons that shall be not only educationally sound and artistically correct, but at the same time adapted in the different stages to the child's ability to comprehend and his power to express.
With this end in view, the lessons in the Text Books of Art Education have been divided into three groups which may be known as the Observational or Objective Group, in which the study of things is the aim; the Subjective Group, in which the study of principles or laws of beauty is the aim; and the Creative Group, in which the application of accumulated knowledge and ability is the aim. In furthering the work of the first group, the topics so familiar to the art teacher of our modern schools are treated—landscape, plants, life, and still life. In the second group are presented the principles of perspective, of industrial drawing, of color harmony, and most important of all, the principles of pure design. In the third group are placed creative exercises in composition, in decorative design, and in many forms of manual training. While the same division of work is kept throughout the course, the manner of presentation differs greatly in the different years. In the primary grades, the work is largely objective in its character. Children are taught to see and to do. In the intermediate grades, the children are introduced to the principles of arrangement, Balance, Rhythm, and Harmony, which have been adopted as the working basis of this series of books, and in the light of which the subjective and creative work of the upper grades is planned. As the work progresses through the different years, the subjective and creative sides are more and more emphasized, and the study of objects is felt to be merely a means necessary to an end.
All through the series, there is a definite, logical progression, so that in schools where these ideas are put into practice, there should be no ground for the complaint that the work of the intermediate and grammar grades falls below the work of the primary grades, in general excellence.
These books are the outgrowth of years of experience in practical fields of work. They have been prepared with a keen appreciation of the obstacles which have confronted the art teacher in public education, and with an intimate knowledge of the child mind, in its various stages of development. Never before has an attempt been made to put into the hands of children a text of lessons in art. The illustrations serve the double purpose of illuminating the text and of furnishing the children with standards of work in the various mediums.
For the Theory of Color Relations used in these books, special acknowledgment is due to Dr. Denman W. Ross, of Harvard University. The lessons in design are preparatory to the fuller exposition in the upper books of Dr. Ross's principles of arrangement—Balance, Rhythm, and Harmony.