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FINE ARTS II

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

A general course in art, not too ambitions, should be devised for those who wish only a cultural background and a method of appreciation. In every field of Art, whether it be History, Philosophy, or Design, a specialist could get adequate training at Harvard. But there is no course which a man who only wants a general idea of the subject, can take. He can take four courses and be well filled. But any one of them leaves his head full of ideas which, owing to his inadequate experience in other fields, he cannot hold.

Fine Arts, 1a, a course in "the Principles of Drawing and Painting and the Theory of Design," could not be better. The purpose of it, in the words of Mr. Field, the instructor, is to help students "look at pictures intelligently and with pleasure."

The outlook of this course is completely unhistorical. Oriental, Sienese Renaissance, and Contemporary American Art are drawn on indiscriminately so long as they illustrate the general principles which the course tries to emphasize. These general principles, deduced from a large number of slides, illustrated from a small number of original paintings from the Fogg and Boston Museums, and above all, concretized by practical work in the "laboratory", combine to make the students intensely aware of aesthetic values, not only in painting, but in thousands of instances in everyday life.

But even this course is not enough for the general course in Art. The History and Philosophy of Art, given also excellently in themselves, fail to appeal because they need some of the concretizing of 1a, and yet 1a in itself needs some of the vaporizing of 1c and 1d and 1c. The course which combines all of these three would have to narrow its scope somewhat, but it would teach the method and general principles better to the amateur.

Perhaps such a course could be one in modern or near modern etchings, the philosophy behind them, the technique of executing, their design and their history. Or perhaps a course with a wider scope but which would be narrowed down by a theses. In other words, the idea would be to narrow down the philosophical and historical scope of the present courses in the fields of History and Philosophy of Art, and to include in the new combination as much of 1a concretizing advantages as possible.

(This is the second of a series of four editorials on the Fine Arts Department)

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