Two Pictures I Would Like Best To Own–Part 9

Hello, again History Lovers,

Today a farm woman from Wisconsin shares the two pictures she would love to own, both of which have implied lessons for the beholder. The first picture represents the three greatest things in life–love, work, and religion. The second painting depicts a high ideal in manhood and womanhood. Both are lovely.


Pictures That Educate

If I could afford to buy but two pictures for my home, they should be the best copies that I could afford of The Angelus by Millet and Sir Galahad by Watts. A really good picture must not merely record some incident or picture of some person or place; it must convey some truth whether it be of human nature or Mother Nature. And I know of no other pictures which so thoroughly meet that test as do the two I have chosen.

The Angelus by French Painter Jean-Francois Millet circa 1857

The Angelus. It is a beautiful picture with a beautiful lesson. A man I know, a poor farmer with little of what the world calls culture, spent several weeks in a city hospital, and on the wall at the foot of his bed was a copy of The Angelus. He said in speaking of it, “Did you ever stop to think that that picture has the three greatest things in life—love, work, and religion?” He had read the message. The Angelus dignifies the soil and the labor of the hands, it holds up the “old fashioned” ideal of love and helpfulness, and above all, it teaches the reverence due to work and their Creator.

Sir Galahad by British Artist George Fredrick Watts 1862

Sir Galahad is essentially a picture for youth. Sir Galahad of the Round Table, the perfect knight, is not so far removed from our own youth of today. They need a coat of mail, a snowy charger, they need a high ideal to lead them to clean manhood or womanhood as the knight “without flaw” who sought and achieved the Holy Grail.

There are lesser reasons for choosing these pictures. Both are out-of-door pictures that will be at home in any country home. Both are miracles of color and line. Both have educational stories connected with them. The Angelus may lead up to numerous history lessons on peasant life and so forth. There are thousands of pictures that suggest history and geography but few which educate, in the highest sense of the word, as do The Angelus and Sir Galahad. –J.V.N., Wisconsin


The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923; Webb Publishing Company, St Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

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