Lincoln Phelps.

Lectures to young ladies, comprising outlines and applications of the different branches of female education, for the use of female schools, and private libraries online

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Online LibraryLincoln PhelpsLectures to young ladies, comprising outlines and applications of the different branches of female education, for the use of female schools, and private libraries → online text (page 26 of 27)
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sanctuary to go forth into the world, thoughtless as the
giddy insect, which rushes into the consuming flame. It
is your duty and your right, to take upon the stage of
life a standing, dignified as your rank, fortune, talenti

MUSIC. 289

and accomplishments, entitle you to, but forbear to lend
your countenance to folly or vice, however elegant or
fascinating they may appear.

My remarks on the study of music have been some-
what desultory ; and suggestions connected with the
subject have drawn me aside from some remarks which
I would make before leaving this topic.

Before commencing this branch of education, re-
flect whether you have a natural taste for it, and
whether this accomplishment is correspondent to your
means and condition. If in your own judgment and
that of your friends all these things are considered favor-
ble, commence music with the resolution of becoming
a proficient in it. Consider it as a means of improving
your taste, and giving refinement and delicacy to your
emotions. As a science it has its intellectual depart-
ment ; it assists in the perfection of the physical organs,
particularly in educating the ear to a nice discrimination
of sounds, and may do much towards forming a correct
habit of reading.

It will be a resource in adversity, will enable you to
enliven domestic scenes ; and should you be mothers, it'
will render you capable of instructing your children, or
at least of knowing when they are well instructed.
The highest and noblest object of music is to employ it
in the service and to the praise of our Maker. The
blessed in heaven are represented as singing to golden
harps the glories of redeeming love. It is melancholy
to behold a person highly gifted with musical talents,
who has never learned to employ them in praise to Him
from whom man receives all his faculties.

I am sensible that as yet I have scarcely touched upon
the main spring, which, among many, causes a devoted
attention to music; I allude to the anticipated power of
dazzling by the display of an elegant accomplishment,
the hope of being the centre of a fashionable circle ;
but on this point I shall not now dwell. It is too pain-
ful to anticipate the evils which result from these hopes
and expectations, so often the ruin of females, or of all
that is truly estimable in the female character.


Permit me to hope that those of you whose intellectual
powers are strengthened by discipline, whose minds are
stored with a rich variety of knowledge and whose
morals are elevated by reflection and study, and espe-
cially those who are influenced by religious considera-
tion, may be able to repress an inordinate love of admi-
ration, and to enjoy the possession of elegant accom-
plishments, unaccompanied by that restless vanity which
finds happiness only in display.


Madame Campan, whose judicious opinions I have
pleasure in repeating, observes : ' Accomplishments
should not fgrm the basis of the education of girls, but
the first lessons in dancing and the piano should be
given at about the age of seven years. Youthful limbs
can place themselves more easily according to rules,
which add to the graceful embellishments, and render
them so natural that the fruit of lessons can be no
longer distinguished; it is also very certain that the
physical developement and health of children gain
much, where they contract in good time the habit of
holding themselves up, and walking gracefully/ I am
aware that dancing in many cases receives too great a
share of attention, and what is still worse that it some-
times creates and fosters vanity and a love of admiration
in the youthful heart ; but this is not the only thing
innocent in itself, which may be abused and perverted.
Language is often made an instrument of evil : religion
itself may be used as a cloak for hypocrisy, but we would
not that either language or religion should be condemn-
ed because they may be thus perverted.

As a healthful exercise, dancing is recommended by
most physicians. Dr. Warren, in his lecture delivered at
Boston, in 1830, before the American Institute of Instruc-
tion, remarks that * next to walking in the open air, the
best exercise for a young female is dancing. This
brings into action a large part of the muscles of the
body and lower limbs, and gives them grace and power/


To those who are engaged in study during a large part
of the day, some exercise of this nature seems absolutely
necessary, especially in winter, when the weather con-
fines females within doors.

It is for this reason, as well as for the sake of improv-
ing the external deportment and carriage of our pupils,
that dancing is here taught and practised. But you are
well aware that there is a great difference between young
ladies receiving lessons at the seminary and practising
wholly by themselves, or going to a public hall where
young persons of both sexes mingle promiscuously, and
attending at publics, or quarterly exhibitions. There are
certainly evils attendant on such a course, which more
than balance ail the advantages to be derived from
learning to dance girls and boys associating before they
consider themselves as ladies and gentlemen, either
acquire a familiarity of address which in after life will
be improper and disgusting, or begin to practise the arts
of coquetry, which, ridiculous as they are at any period,
appear still more so where we look for the honest sim-
plicity of childhood.

It is this improper manner of practising dancing, and
the subsequent dissipation of after years, which has pre-
judiced so many good people against an exercise which
nature prompts, and which the Author of nature has
never prohibited. Even the battle-horse is moved by the
sound of martial music, and treads proudly to its mea-
sures. And who that sees a child, or a young female
moving in harmony with sprightly music, can look
moodily upon the sight as though it were a sin against
Him who adapts the ear to the nice perception of sound,
makes the heart to answer in correspondent emotions,
and gives to the muscular frame the power to express by
motion, the character of these sounds? That in itself
dancing is not offensive in the sight of Heaven, we may
gather from the tenor of the scriptures. Among the
pious of old we read of dancing as an expression of
cheerfulness. David, in the overflowing joy of his heart,
danced before the ark of God. Jeptha's daughter, a
maiden of purity and innocence, went out with music
and dancing to meet her father returning from battle.


Our Saviour himself in the parable of the prodigal son,
in which the father is considered an allegorical repre-
sentative of Him to whom we have every day need to
say, * Father I have sinned against thee ; our Saviour
represents this father as having in his house music and
dancing on the occasion of the penitent's return.

While I would rescue this exercise from the reproach
which I think has been improperly attached to it, I
would condemn in the most decided manner those
evils which have been suffered to connect themselves
with it. Some of them I have already mentioned in re-
marking upon promiscuous dancing-schools and public
balls. I would observe that another evil connected with
these, is the fondness for dress and display which they
usually produce. Mothers, when their little darlings
are old enough to go to a dancing school, are too apt to
think they must appear very fine; their own boxes of
jewelry are searched for ornaments, their watches di-
vested of chains for the pretty necks of these miniature
belles ; or, if circumstances permit, new ornaments are
purchased ; dresses are made which vie with the gossa-
mer in lightness of texture, and this mimic representa-
tion of a French doll is sent forth thus bedizened to at-
tract the envy of her companions, and to imbibe the
moral poison which will hereafter appear in her devotion
to dress and her thirst for admiration. I could point
out instances of females, whom nature has highly favored
with beauty of person, talents, and most amiable dispo-
sitions ; but yet the whole beautiful fabric has been de-
formed by this one taint, which, taking deep hold in
childhood, no after exertions could remove; like the
blood of the murdered which superstition believes
leaves an indelible mark on the murderer's hand, vanity,
when it has once deeply stained a female bosom, can
never be washed away. But I am wrong there is 3
fount in which sins may be cleansed, and there are
borne penitent Marys who,

1 O'er the faults of former years
Have wept, and are forgiven/



Drawing is the art of representing by means of lines
upon a. flat surface, the forms of objects and their relative
situation. This accomplishment, so conducive to refine-
ment of mind, is at once useful and ornamental, Every
gradation in the art is pleasing, from the sketch of a sim-
ple flower to the grandest historical design.

All the arts which tend to the embellishment or com-
fort of civilized life depend essentially on drawing.

Painting has for its basis the art of drawing ; how much
then do they err who attempt to teach it to those who
have not attended to the principles on which drawing
depends, A few years since, it was not uncommon for
pupils in female academies and boarding schools to use
colors as soon as they began to draw ; or at the most a
few sketches of flowers or landscapes, made without rules
or principles were required.

In no ait or science perhaps is genius more necessary
than in drawing. But genius to be successful must be
assisted by rules of art, and especially by a close observa-
tion of nature, a resemblance to which is the foundation
of all our admiration for the fine arts.

Some knowledge of the principles of Geometry is very
important for the pupil in drawing. The custom of draw-
ing geometrical figures, and maps in the geography and
history classes, besides its importance in these studies, is
a, useful exercise in drawing, as much as if this were the
ultimate object in view.

Drawing is an art in the attainment of which great in*
dustry and perseverance are necessary. The pupil
should commence with perpendicular and horizontal lines
(which are by no means as easily made as some may im-
agine) and proceed to curves, circles, ovals, cones, cylin-
ders and squares.

After practising until these various figures may be easi*
ly made ; parts of buildings, as arches, columns, doors
and windows may be next attempted. Flowers and fruit
are drawn much more easily than figures which require
accuracy in horizontal and perpendicular lines. Trees


require much study ; the various forms of foliage, the di-
rection of the branches as pendant, erect or horizontal,
the nature of the bark and the characters of the trunk,
should all be studied from nature. Good copies are of
great use, but every pupil of taste and genius will be led
to the observation of natural objects.

It is indeed one of the great recommendations of the
study of drawing that it gives a new interest to the visible
creation, and awakens in the mind new sources of enjoy-
ment. The simple wild flower, the decayed tree, the ruin-
ed building and the wild cascade, all present to the artist
objects which please in contemplation, and which he de-
lights to copy. The various forms and tints which are
reflected to the eye from clouds, from the sky at sun-rise,
or the pensive evening twilight, all are poetry and beau-
ty to the soul of the painter. He regards with attention
and admiration the pure blue sky of the zenith, as it con-
trasts with the darker hue of the hoizon, variously affect-
ed by the situation of the sun and the reflection of its
rays upon the vapors which float near the surface of the
earth, appearing red, violet or rose colored.

The imitator of nature beholding the distant moun-
tains in their faint, blue outlines, might in the words of a
kindred spirit, exclaim,

' Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near ?
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.'

And, if a moralist, he might add,

* Thus with delight we linger to survey
The promis'd joys of life's unmeasured way;
Thus from afar, each dim discovered scene
More pleasing seems than all the past hath been.'

Objects which to others imy be disagreeable, give rise
to the finest productions of the artist. Wherever the
marks of time appear,4ie seems delighted to seize upon
and immortalize the ruins ; the decayed cottage with its
sides and roof covered with moss, the dilapidated church,
or castle, afford more picturesque objects for the pen-
cil than the neat farm house, or the modern edifice.


Thus a rustic in ragged garments, mounted upon an old
and lean horse, is more picturesque and affords opportuni-
ty for a more graphic delineation, than a well-dressed man
upon a sleek looking poney.

. In drawing from copies, a rule and compass should not
be used, except in measuring buildings.

To the beginner it is useful to draw lines across the
copy and the paper on which the delineation is to be made,
marking them both into an equal number of squares ; thus
the objects in the squares on the copy may be easily and
correctly transferred. Threads, instead of lines, stretched
across are equally useful to the learner and less injurious
to the pictures,

In drawing a landscape from nature it is well to select
a gentle elevation with a large circumference of horizon.
The scene to be copied may then, in imagination, be di-
vided by certain perpendicular lines, these by being
marked on the paper and intersected by what is termed
the horizontal line, have the same effect in measuring
distances as the squares in the method just described.

There can be but one point of sight in drawing a land-
scape, or but one spot at which the eye of the spectator
is supposed to be fixed, from which, as from a point, all
the objects must be comprehended.

Sixty degrees of the horizon is considered as being the
angle of vision ; that is, considering the eye as the centre
of a circle arid the horizon its circumference. Now you
will perceive that the objects nearest the eye or on the
foreground of the picture must occupy much greater
space upon the picture than distant objects ; of course,
we can represent a much greater number of objects in
the distance,

In copying a flower from nature, it is proper to begin
with the centre and proceed outwardly with the leaves,
placing trrem one above another in a manner correspond-
ing to their natural arrangement.

The drawing of the human figure is the most difficult
as well as the highest department of the art. It consti-
tutes, indeed, a distinct branch, and it is absurd for one
who has painted a few landscapes or flowers to suppose
herself capable of execution in this with accuracy.


Few young ladies attend to drawing sufficiently to be-
come proficients in the delineation of the human figure.
When many years of undivided and close attention are
required to from a tolerable artist, neither school girls or
their teachers should be censured, if, after a few months
practice, the former cannot rival Raphael or West.

A knowledge of Geology is of use to the landscape
painter, as it teaches the distinctive characters of rocks,
and their modes of stratification, the characters of moun-
tains, and of the different formations of the earth.

An acquaintance with Botany is also useful in flower-
painting; without this the pink might be represented
with six stamens, and the lily with ten. A knowledge of
flower painting is also very important to botanists, by en-
abling them to make sketches of the various vegetable

Among the different modes of painting is Oil painting,
the colors of which are the most durable, and in which
the shades may be made to blend in the most perfect

Mosaic painting consists of an imitation of objects by
means of a union of very small pieces of marble of vari-
ous colors fixed in stucco, or mortar. If this is well exe-
cuted, it will remain to remote ages without decay. Fine
specimens of these composed of copies of the great Ital-
ian masters, are to be seen in St. Peter's Church at Rome.

Fresco painting is performed with colors diluted in
water, and laid on a wall newly plastered, with which
they incorporate; they are almost as durable as the
mortar itself.

Painting in water colors is often called limning ; it
is performed with colors mixed with water. This is the
kind of painting most convenient for ladies ; it can be
performed with neatness and without the disagreeable
smell which attends on oil painting; the latter however
possesses many advantages over the former, and should be
studied by all who aspire after great eminence in the art.

Pencil and India ink shading appear neat and taste-
ful, and considerable perfection may be attained in them
with comparatively little study.

Velvet, Chinese painting, &c. are methods by which


handsome pictures are made, but they are almost wholly
mechanical operations, and neither afford evidence of
genius, or have a tendency to cultivate the mental facul-

Drawing is considered the elder sister of painting, as
it is the younger of geometry. The attempt to imitate
by lines upon a flat surface the forms which we see
in nature, is the commencement of the art of drawing.

The Greeks had a tradition that drawing and sculp-
ture took their rise by means of a young girl's drawing
a shadow of her lover upon the wall, which her father
cut out and modeled in clay. In the early attempts at
drawing, there may be distinguished several periods;
1. Objects were delineated by rude shapeless lines;
for instance, an oval represented a head ; 2. These
drawings were colored over with black, or some other
color, and the eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, and hair,
were marked with white upon the dark surface; 3.
An attempt was made to givetanimation to pictures by
representing the different color of the drapery. It was in
this way, according to Homer, that Helen and An-
dromache embroidered tapestry ; 4. Prominence and
relief to objects was commenced by drawing lines in
the back ground. These attempts soon showed what
the power of the art might accomplish, and we find the
Greeks, in the days of their glory, pre-eminent for their
perfection in drawing and sculpture. The teacher of
the great Apelles required his pupils to remain with
him ten years.

The Egyptians, as appears by the figures represented
on walls of ancient temples and catacombs, appear to
have made some progress in the art of drawing. These
pictures are supposed to be hierographical representa-
tions of historical events, or mythological fictions.

The first of the Greeks whj contended for the prize
of painting at the public games at Corinth and Delphi,
was Penaenus, the cousin and pupil of Phidias, a celebrat-
ed artist.

Zeuxis, and his rival Parrhasius, about 378 years
before Christ, carried the art to great perfection. The
latter is said to have excelled in throwing into his


paintings a striking expression of grace and dignity.
He became so arrogant on account of his successes that
he clothed himself in purple, wore a gold crown upon
his head, and pretended to be a descendant of Apollo.

Apelles connected with a correct delineation of na-
ture, a highly finished and flattering coloring, and was
considered as a master of portrait painting. But the
fine arts, poetry and eloquence, sunk with the liberty of

The Romans long remained indifferent to the art of
design, and in the height of their glory never attained to
Grecian perfection in any of the fine arts. After the
introduction of Christianity the art of painting seemed to
revive, and most of its finest productions for ages were
connected with the Christian faith. In the fourth centu-
ry the custom of placing the pictures of saints in church-
es extensively prevailed both in the Eastern and West-
ern Empires. Artists, stimulated both by genius and
religious zeal, strove to excel each other in the execution
of their works.

In the 13th century, the art received in Italy a new
impulse from the labors of Michael Angelo, Corregio,
Raphael, Titian, Leonardi de Vinci, and several others
almost equally distinguished.

The various artists of Europe are considered as con-
stituting schools, each of which has its peculiar manner
or style of painting.

The Florence School is distinguished for greatness,
severity and majesty ; at the head of this was Michael
Angelo, who delighted in being great and terrible, but
sought little aid from grace or beauty.

His knowledge of anatomy gave him great power in
representations of the joints and muscles ; for which rea-
son he often made choice of emaciated figures, the monk
or hermit, attenuated with the severity of his vigils and
abstinence, but with a countenance beaming high and
sublime thoughts, were fit subjects for his pencil.

The Roman School had at its head, Raphael Sanzio
he was distinguished for his accuracy in copying nature,
rather than brilliancy of imagination. It was observed
by a German artist, that * if the Greeks sailed with maj-


esty between heaven and earth, Raphael walked with
propriety on the earth.'

In the Venetian School, Titian (whose real name was
Taziano Vecelli) was conspicuous. This school was
distinguished for skill in the use of colors, for powerful
effects, by contrasts of lights and shades. It was confined
principally to oil paintings, while the Florence and Roman
schools painted in water colors, or fresco.

The Lombard School was distinguished for grace and
softness ; Antonio Allegri, usually called Corregio, was
the founder and chief of this school.

The second Lombard School was distinguished for the
brothers called the Caracci, each of whom excelled in
particular departments of the art.

The Prench School presents so many varieties of man-
ner, that it is difficult to ascribe to it any prevailing char-
acteristic. Poussin, who is called the Raphael of France,
had no pupils, and formed no school. His works are
distinguished by an antique appearance. Le Brun was
a painter of invention and great power of execution. He
studied the expression of the passions, and acquired much
skill in their delineation.

The German School, like the French, consisted rather
of isolated individual artists, than an assemblage whose
works were characterized by uniformity of manner. Al-
bert Durer was an engraver and painter. His works,
though numerous, were correct and finished, but not re-
markable for taste, beauty, or sublimity. Holbein excelled
in historical and portrait painting. One of his pictures,
the * Dance of Death/ is remarkable for a mixture of
the grotesque and horrible.

The Flemish School is said to have discovered, or, at
least, first extensively practised oil painting. Peter Paul
Rubens was at the head of this school. He excelled equal-
ly in fruits and flowers, historical, portrait, and landscape
painting. He seemed to possess the power of embodying,
with perfect ease, the sprightly and beautiful conceptions
of a mind rich in fancy and glowing with the inspiration
of genius.

The Dutch School is peculiar for the subjects which
occupied the attention of its artists. The ale-house, the


tavern, the mechanic's shop, seemed to afford the scenes
which most delighted them, and called forth the efforts
of their genius. This school is distinguished for correct-
ness of perspective, fine representations of clouds, sea
scenes, animals, fruits, flowers and insects, and excel-
lence in everything which requires faithful imitation, or
brilliant coloring and niceness of execution.

Rembrant Vanryn, the son of a miller of Leyden, id
celebrated for his grotesque figures and low scenes, upon
which he devoted much study and talents, perhaps equal
to any of the masters of antiquity.

The English School numbers many respectable artists,
among whom are Vandyke, a pupil of Rubens. Lily, a
portrait painter, is chiefly celebrated for his pictures of

It has been objected to him, that his faces had
too much sameness of expression, a certain languishing
air and softness, and sweetness, the partly closed eye,
which seemed to reveal tenderness and sensibility. But
this might have been more the fault of the females,
than of the painter, who probably wished to please his

Hogarth, the son-in-law of a painter, is exceeded by no

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Online LibraryLincoln PhelpsLectures to young ladies, comprising outlines and applications of the different branches of female education, for the use of female schools, and private libraries → online text (page 26 of 27)