Walter Russell, president of the Society of Arts and Sciences, former editor of Colliers Weekly, and a well-known artist and sculptor, declares that the average student in Harvard has no opportunity to develop the aesthetic side of his nature but is forced to devote all his time to exact studies unless he deliberately selects art as his field of concentration. What Russell suggests as a remedy is either a required course in art or a course of such a nature that it can be taken in addition to regular subjects without too much added work in the form of assignments.
Russell believes that the mind swings back and forth from the aesthetic to the unaesthetic like a pendulum, and that once a student turns away from the aesthetic, college regulations prevent his ever returning to a study of art. He cited the story of a man who disapproved of his son's artistic leanings so sent him to Harvard Law School to prevent his ever returning to the brush and easel. The system was effective, Russell adds, as the youth could never recover his touch after his three years of "mental slavery" under Harvard law professors.
A bust of Thomas Edison which is now on exhibit at Jordan Marsh Company and a symbolic painting of the great figures of antiquity returning to review modern civilization, which toured Europe and won many highly prized awards for Mr. Russell, are among his better known works. The bust of Edison represents the work of a year that Mr. Russell spent at Edison's laboratory. It was rarely that a sitting as long as ten minutes could be obtained yet this work stands as the classic representation of the great inventor.
At present Mr. Russell is interested in the organization of an art society of national scope which will award degrees of art to young painters and sculptors much in a similar manner to the giving out of degrees for practicing law and medecine. The jury which awarded the degrees would take the applicant's age into consideration.
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