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    Art lessons for schools Essay (902 words)

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    The subject of Fig. 1 is the famous nature studies of Sir Edwin Landseer, who has already been spoken of in the May 1898 issue when we studied his “Alexander and Diogenes.”

    It is worthy of note that eight members of Edwin Landseer’s immediate family achieved distinction as artists. These included his father, John Landseer, a famous engraver who gave a lecture on engraving before the Royal Institute and worked tirelessly to elevate the status of his craft. Also among them was his uncle, Henry Landseer, a pointer, and his eldest brother, Thomas, an engraver whose finest work is his engraving of Rosa Bonheur’s “Horse Fair.” Thomas also contributed to the recognition of Sir Edwin’s paintings through his reproductions. Edwin’s eldest sister, Mrs. Christmas, and his sisters Jessie and Emma (Mrs. Mackenzie) as well as his brother Charles were also accomplished artists. Edwin showed an appreciation for animal character and humor through sketches he made at the age of five. By the time he was ten, his sketches were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1874. He was the only Englishman to receive a gold medal at the World’s Exposition in Paris in 1873. In addition to his art, both Thomas and Edwin wrote and illustrated books for young people. These included “Stories about Dogs,” published in 1884, and “Stories Illustrative of the Instinct of Animals,” published in 1864. Sir Edwin Landseer’s paintings powerfully portray the qualities that connect all forms of animal life, making them deeply appealing to human sympathies.

    The motherly instinct of Wrings is to protect and comfort their suffering offspring, which is the attractive element of this picture. It is enhanced by the cool indifference of the “paler familiar” who is very evidently enjoying his melon and has greedily provided himself with another piece of fruit, which is guarded between his hind paws. Despite the grotesque appearance of the three creatures from a human standpoint, the expression of love is the touch of nature that makes “the whole world kin.” (Flora, what is this quoted from?) In “The Delphic Sibyl,” one of the most captivating works of the giant among artists, Michael Angelo, there is so much one would like to say about this wonderful man, but so little space to say it in. The best advice is to read his life by Grimm. Michael Angelo was what is called a “universal genius” like his friend, the great Leonardo da Vinci. He was a leader in all branches of art, including painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, and music. He produced a work very early in his career called “Looping Cupid,” which was so classic in style that it could be mistaken for an antique. He attracted the attention of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who became his patron, as did Popes Julius II and Paul III. His greatest architectural work was St. Peter’s at Rome, which he undertook in order to prepare a fitting place for the magnificent mausoleum he had made for Pope Julius II.

    The mausoleum was not planned there, however, but in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli. On this tomb is the colossal figure of Moses. Michelangelo’s chief characteristics in art were grandeur and sublimity. “Never before nor since” (says Grimm) “has there been so powerful a genius.” Yet he was capable of portraying grace and delicate beauty, as his figure of Eve at the Creation on the ceiling of the Vatican proves. One lesson to be learned from Michelangelo is that faithful preparation for life’s work is a necessity and should not be disregarded by those with the greatest gifts. He studied anatomy for twelve years and may be said to be the first artist to thoroughly understand it. His great cartoon of the “Battle of Pisa” shows his profound knowledge of the human body. We must mention his great paintings in the Sistine Chapel: “The Fall of the Angels” over the gate and the “Last Judgment” at the opposite end.

    These were done in fresco, as he never painted in oils. He declared that oil painting was an employment only fit for women or idlers of mean capacity. Another lesson from Michael Angelo is: If you wish a thing well done, do it yourself.” He made every painter, file, and chisel used in his sculptural work and prepared his own colors, which was unusual in these days. Michael Angelo is declared to be one of the wittiest men of his time and a true poet. I hope you may read some of his sonnets, in translation at least, if never in the original. The symbols painted by him are all of great strength and no small measure of grace of pose.

    I will leave you to look up the story of the Roman ruler and the sibyl and the story of the Delphic Oracle of the Greeks. Then you will appreciate the expression on the face and the attitude of the figure represented in Fig. 2 to a greater degree. You can see that this figure needed a different treatment from one painted to be framed and hung on a wall because its position is architectural, sitting as she does at the springing of the arches. Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475, and died on February 18, 1564, at the age of almost ninety years.

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