One of the things that drew me most to the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education is her emphasis on exposing children to fine art. I loved the idea of simply showing them works of great art and allowing them to absorb them on their own. There were no explanations or in-depth analyses of the pieces to complicate them. The children were simply meant to enjoy and take in the art.
About this topic, Ms. Mason said:
His education should furnish him with whole galleries of mental pictures, pictures by great artists old and new;––…–– in fact, every child should leave school with at least a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of his imagination, to say nothing of great buildings, sculpture, beauty of form and colour in things he sees. Perhaps we might secure at least a hundred lovely landscapes too,––sunsets, cloudscapes, starlight nights. At any rate he should go forth well furnished because imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold. (Vol 6 pg 43)
I especially liked the last part… “imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold.”
As we’ve been going through the Ambleside Online picture study schedule, there have been a few times that my son has asked me something specific about a picture like, “what’s that thing?” or, “who is that?” In some cases, I’ve been able to come up with some random factoid that happened to wedge itself in my brain when I was in school, or I can pull one of my textbooks down from the shelf (I’ve kept about 90% of them because I have a hard time getting rid of books 😐 ) and look up the piece in question. In other cases, though, I haven’t had a ready answer.
Because of this, I decided to come up with something I could use in my own homeschool to help me with picture study. Linked below are all of the Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aids I’ve made. They’re all free, so please feel free to download and use them in your own art appreciation!