Chapman, J.G. (John Gadsby), 1808-1889. / The American drawing-book: a manual for the amateur, and basis of study for the professional artist: especially adapted to the use of public and private schools, as well as home instruction.
(1870 [1873 printing])
[Introduction], pp. [unnumbered]-10
[N T ROD U C T ION. or words. To draw a horse, that shall not be mistaken for a man, is one step; but to draw a horse, with all his just proportions and developments, movement and expression, is an Art to be acquired. Any one can make something on paper to look like a tree, a cottage, a road, a brook, or a mountain; but Art goes farther, investing nature with charms often more im- l)ressive than the reality, even to the comprehension of the most simple-minded cow-boy, who may have gone that road, and waded that brook a thousand times, unconscious of the beauty that surrounded him, until thus developed to his intelligence and appreciation by the hand of art. Who has ever hesitated to teach a child to write, because it was not intended that he should be an author? How many regard the art of Drawing as being of no practical impor- tance, as a branch of education, to any but professional artists; a~id consider it~ in its most favorable light, as a mere accomplishment - a pursuit only for the man of leisure? The resources of our schools are often exhausted in "finishing" our youth with "every accomplishment ;" laid on so lightly, that, for all real and practical purposes of after-life, they are as valueless to the possessor as to society. Smatterings ~f languages, living and dead, are heaped upon thorn, while the great, universal language, the language of Design, is forgotten; or only thought of in the production of some huge "castle and ruins, with a man and a boy with a stick; and a dog" - painted by the teacher, under the scholar's direction, to hang in the parlor, as the veritable, first, and last, and only production, of the latter: who at once acquires, therefrom, an oracular authority in aU matters connected with the Fine Arts, and leaves admiring friends in wonder, at what "he might have done, had he not given it up." To' such, it may be said, "You have never begun." It is not only as a beautiful accomplishment, or a source of amusement for leisure moments, that 'the art of Drawing should be cultivated. It has its practical uses, in every occupation of life. It opens to all inexhaustible sources of utility, as well as pleasure; practises the eye to observe, and the hand to record, the ever-varying beauty with which nature abounds, and spreads a charm around every object of God's beautiful creation, unfelt and unknown to those who have failed or neglected its cultivation. It does more: it gives strength to the arm of the mechanic, and taste and skill to the producer, not only of the embellishments, but actual neces- sities of life. From the anvil of the smith and the workbench of the joiner, to the manufacturer of the most costly productions of ornamental art, it is ever at hand with its powerful aid, in strengthening invention and execution, and qualifying the mind and hand to design and produce whatever the wants or the tastes of society may require.
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