THE DEPARTMENT OF FINE ARTS
As year by certain departments of the University modify or enlarge their curriculum of studies, the lack of system and proportion in other departments becomes more evident. For the past few years the courses offered by the Department of Fine Arts have been far too few in number and lacking in general systemization. For instance this year in English literature alone 27 subjects are offered in courses and half-courses, while 13 more are given in other years. Twenty-two courses and half-courses are given in Economics and the same number in Philosophy. The se figures do not, of course, include those courses of special study," intended primarily for graduates.
In marked contrast to this generous treatment and wide range of subjects, the Department of Fine Arts offers, and has for several years, but five regular courses. One of these is an elementary course in the rudiments of drawing and water-color. Two others cover the same ground and cannot therefore be counted towards a degree. It is then an actual fact that the entire history of painting, sculpture and architecture, ancient and modern, is covered by three courses! And, more-over, one of these, though it is disguised under the name of the "History of Landscape Painting," is really a history of the art of John Turner. No one would term Fine Arts 3, which covers one-half the field, a comprehensive treatment of ancient art. But the attempt in Fine Arts 4 to cover really efficiently the history of painting, sculpture, architecture and stained glass windows from the days of the Basilica of Maxentius through the seventeenth century, is ludicrous. One important division it treats well,--Romanesque church architecture of the Middle Ages and Gothic Architecture in France. But unfortunately the field of Renaissance painting in Italy is torn over in a month, while such apparently unimportant topics as the Dutch, German or Spanish Schools must be dismissed in one or two lectures.
Systematization and a fairer proportion in the subjects is evidently necessary. The CRIMSON would suggest, if it is not too late for the coming year, a division of the department into several half-courses, each of which shall treat a special topic in a well-rounded and well-balanced, though perforce superficial, manner. There may, of course, be better and more comprehensive ways of re-organizing this department; but re-organization of some sort seems necessary to give Fine Arts the place it deserves.