Skill, Beauty and Use|
VERY good piece of art involves first
the evidence of human skill, and the formation of an actually beautiful
thing by it, and beyond these the formative arts have always one or
other of two objects-- truth or serviceableness. The entire vitality
of art depends upon its being either full of truth or full of use.
The moment we make anything useful thoroughly, it is a law of nature
that we shall be pleased with ourselves, and the thing we have made; and
become desirous, therefore, to adorn or complete it, in some dainty way,
with a finer art, expressive of our pleasure.
Now look at the working out of this broad
principle in detail; observe how, from highest to lowest, health of art
has first depended on reference to industrial use. There is first the
need of cup and platter. And, to hold your cup conveniently, you must
put a handle to it; and to fill it, you must have a pitcher of some sort;
and to carry the pitcher you may, most advisably, have handles. Modify
the forms of these needful possessions according to the various
requirements of drinking, of pouring easily out, or of keeping for years
the perfume in; of storing in cellars, or bearing from fountains, or
sacrificial libation; of treasures of oil, and sepulchral treasures of
ashes-- and you have a resultant series of beautiful form and decoration
from the rude urn up to Cellini's vessels of gems and crystal, in which
series are developed the most beautiful lines and most perfect types of
composition yet attained by art. The architectural arts begin with the
shaping of the cup and platter, and they end in a glorified roof.
Condensed extract from John Ruskin's "Lectures on Art."
ESTABLISHED FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A POPULAR INTEREST IN
ART, LITERATURE, MUSIC, SCIENCE, HISTORY, NATURE, and TRAVEL
THE MENTOR IS PUBLISHED TWICE A MONTH
BY THE MENTOR ASSOCIATION, INC., AT 114-116 EAST 16TH STREET,
NEW YORK, N.Y.
SUBSCRIPTION, FOUR DOLLARS A YEAR. FOREIGN POSTAGE 75 CENTS
EXTRA. CANADIAN POSTAGE 50 CENTS EXTRA. SINGLE COPIES TWENTY CENTS.
PRESIDENT, THOMAS H. BECK; VICE-PRESIDENT, WALTER P. TEN EYCH; SECRETARY,
W. D. MOFFAT; TREASURER, J. S. CAMPBELL; ASSISTANT TREASURER AND ASSISTANT
SECRETARY, H. A. CROWE.
|APRIL 15, 1919