Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Back in the '80's when I was a new teacher I used to check out Instructor magazine for ideas. One month they had a picture of N. C. Wyeth's The Giant on the cover. I was enchanted with this painting. The news about Andrew Wyeth's death (N. C.'s son) sparked a memory about it and I went looking for it on the Internet. I learned that members of Westtown School's Class of 1910 commissioned Wyeth to paint The Giant as a gift for the school in memory of their classmate, William Engle, who died in 1916. Displayed in the school's dining room since 1923, the mural depicts six children on a beach gazing at the fantastical shape of a giant in the clouds. Five of the children were modeled after Wyeth's own offspring. The sixth child, on the far left of the canvas, represents Engle. Finding out that the painting was commissioned by a group of students in honor of a classmate who had died just makes me appreciate the innocence of the painting even more.