Skip to comments.Mural may not be welcomed back to school
Posted on 06/04/2006 2:35:28 PM PDT by Pharmboy
Mary Ellen LeBien, former president of the Greenwich Library Board of Trustees, speaks in front of The Life and Times of
Israel Putnam of Connecticut in the librarys reading room. (Bob Luckey Jr./Staff file photo)
School officials are balking at a plan to return a historic Revolutionary War mural to Hamilton Avenue Magnet School after a restoration, saying its battle scenes are too violent for young children.
The mural, "The Life and Times of General Israel Putnam of Connecticut," depicts Greenwich's Revolutionary War hero stripped half-naked, about to be burned at the stake. He sits astride a wild-looking horse and is aiming his musket at snarling wolves, while all around him Native Americans hurl tomahawks and men armed with prominent guns and knives tussle. It was painted by James Daugherty of Weston.
"It's a beautiful work of art, but I think it's a beautiful work of art for adults," Hamilton Avenue School Principal Damaris Rau said. "I don't think it's something that children should be looking at on a daily basis because it is very violent."
Commissioned by the Works Progress Administration under President Roosevelt in 1935, the painting belongs to the town and was first hung in the First Selectman's Office at the old Town Hall. Five years later, it was moved to the gymnasium of the Hamilton Avenue school, where it hung for nearly 60 years, through an arrangement in which the school acted as the custodian of the artwork for the town.
(Excerpt) Read more at stamfordadvocate.com ...
"School officials are balking at a plan to return a historic Revolutionary War mural to Hamilton Avenue Magnet School after a restoration, saying its battle scenes are too violent for young children."
Too violent for young children? Guess these school officials haven't noticed what's on television nowadays.
I would bet the problem is not that the mural is too violent but that the depiction of the Native Americans is not properly PC. (They are supposed to be helping plan Thanksgiving.)
My collateral ancestor - leave the mural up - Patriot pride!
Nah, he killed wolves.
If wasn't for Putnam , wolves and men would be living in perfect harmony today.
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Perhaps you can comment on the artworthiness of this. I like it...
That's some pretty good blood to have in the family. General Putnam was a true living legend at the time of the revolution.
Here's an idea: Wrap every child under the age of 18 in cotton batting and continually feed them Valium. That way except for addiction to Valium no harm can come to them. Sheesh! This world had gone completely INSANE !! I'm sick, sick, sick of hearing nonsense like this!
Yep--that's why I "home school" my kids in American History and do not trust the schools one whit.
Or, I'd wager, in many of the books in that library.
I would bet the same. They don't want this mural for the same reason that thye would never want a collage of photos of the only twelve people to ever walk on the moon.
Along with my lessons and trips to historic areas with my kids, I tell them NOT to correct their teachers in American History (other than the REALLY egregious errors).
No. They know what's on TeeVee...What they don't like is perhaps a bit of history being taught, through art, what the real world is and has been. TeeVee is much more malleable for the little mushbrains...
The commander of British forces inquired as to what kind of adversary he faced on Breed's Hill that day. He was told,
"Sir, Israel Putnam will fight you to the gates of Hell!"
Strange that it was fine for all those years prior. Hm.
I think they're already doing that.
Flame away, LOL!
It's a K-5 school, and I don't really remember people going in schools with guns 66 years ago, nor did we have the $#!+ on television 66 years ago.
On the other hand..
I know all of the homeschoolers let their kids watch MTV, right? So what's the problem?
Don't mind me, I'm just arguing for the sake of arguing.
"Here's an idea: Wrap every child under the age of 18 in cotton batting and continually feed them Valium. That way except for addiction to Valium no harm can come to them. Sheesh! This world had gone completely INSANE !! I'm sick, sick, sick of hearing nonsense like this!"
Funny you should mention that: John Brunner, himself a liberal, wrote a science fiction novel, The Shockwave Rider, about a world where that was done. It's one of the books that got me interested in computers, way back when. (It was published in 1975)
I am happy to say that I am related to Old Put...my great grandmother was a descendant (great, great, great whatever granddaughter). The same people saying this is too violent would be the ones insisting we should acquaint kids with sex education at four years old.
I am happy that this thread could get a few of Old Put's relatives together...
Hello back.. Israel Putnam's portrait is hanging in one of the historical buildings in Philadelphia (I believe it is one of the original bank buildings near Independance Hall). Also, if you get a chance to read 1776, there is quite a bit about him too...he was quite a guy!
Ha Ha! It's quite a reunion...glad to see that his descendants have found this site!
In that case, I guess we need to address cop-killer lyrics and advocacy of violence (including the violent overthrow of the gov't, and assassination of the President) in the garbage passed off as music for the young.
And video games.
Great post; sorry I'm a late comer to it.
I think this is a great mural of the WPA period. Not all of these murals have survived (to my knowledge) and I think each find is great. This is quite Bentonesque: with the crowded space filled with elongated figures in several scenes per section. Very exciting, colorful, and fun.
Violent? Anyone see Lord of the Rings?! This is so tame it is laughable that people would complain of the violence.
No, this is a treasure of the time period. Yes, it should generate discussions of how stereotypes are created, the history of the scenes and how they are portrayed, etc. But it also shows a triumph of our country and all that has been sacrificed. It's great; they should be proud of it.
I also have to admit that I'm another distant relative, from a cousin of Israel Putnam's. We need a reunion for sure....
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That's a remarkable painting. It looks pretty good right there at the library. It shouldn't be kept from the school based on PC considerations, though. Wonder if they allow the kiddies to read 1776 at skool? It would put the painting into the proper context. Thanks for the post.
thank god the 13 year old children with guns that fought in the revolutionary war didn't think it was to violent or we would probably not have a country today
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I'm always particularly interested in art in all forms produced during the WPA era.
Artistically, however, viewing the mural makes me almost sea sick. If it were in a library where I wanted to read or study, I would sit with my back to it.
That's the key, I guess, the above sickening statement, the thing is thought to be patriotic, which isn't politically correct, and, in the name of tolerance, cannot be tolerated.
"Violence is not something you see at Hamilton Avenue School," Rau said. "And then to have it in the forefront, especially in the lobby, a picture of men hurting each other and killing each other, it really goes against my sense of what children should be exposed to."
The truth is, the Left is only against violence when it is portrayed as part of the struggle for American ideals and freedom. That portrayal has to be avoided at all costs, else the kids might not grow up to be easily controlled sheep, they might grow up thinking for themselves.
Briliiant deconstruction, Sam.
George Orwell, call your office...
Artistically, I agree. It has the same emotional projection as "The Scream".
Look at there size and height of it compared to that of a child. Even as an adult, to be in any room smaller than a football stadium with that painting would make me want to throw things.
As Topsy said, "Somebody ain't tellin' all they knows." I don't think the real objection here is to the "violence" - the lady with the 3-4 year old kids is a wuss - but the lack of PC - savage Indians, white males all over the place on big patriarchal white horses, and not an African American, gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered-questioning person, or liberal in sight.
Besides - the frontier and the American Revolution WERE pretty violent, there's no getting around that unless you want to just sanitize history. If that silly lady would tell her kids that brave Americans had to fight wild beasts and wild men and the British to make sure that they could sleep soundly in their beds at night, the boys might learn something.
( . . . mean DOGS? mean DOGS? What else ya gonna hunt a MEAN BEAR with? Of course, at the rate bears are coming back to New Jersey and killing small children, they may see some in Greenwich soon, and this silly woman will have something to REALLY worry about . . )
Having something like this in the school would at least keep things livened up . . .
Your average historical mural is awfully static --
- N.C. Wyeth, "Apotheosis of Franklin". I like Wyeth, but this one is DULL.
It's already being done. The batting is "outcome based education" and the Valium is being subbed under the name "Ritalin".
I detect a strong Thomas Hart Benton influence in the artist's style.
First saw this mural in a Forbes American Heritage article about a decade ago. Sorry to see that the Greenwich Public School system is run (much like 99% of suburban school districts everywhere these days) by a bunch of Katie Couric-types.
"It was a battle scene, but if anything it was an inspirational battle scene," said Marisa Nigiro, a member of the third of four generations of her family to attend the school. "Unfortunately today, we psychoanalyze everything."BWHAHAHA! ::SPIT:: BWHAHAHA! ::SPIT:: BWHAHAHA! ::SPIT::
But PTA President Laura DiBella, who also attended the school, said former students do not remember the painting as disturbing because it was dirty and hung too high to be seen clearly.
"I thought it was phenomenal growing up, but it was a different time," she said. "There was no Columbine or anything like that, and the schools have really done a lot of work on anti-violence. We are now promoting tolerance, accepting differences and all of that, and it doesn't belong in an elementary school."
She said the painting frightened her sons, ages 3 and 4, when they saw it at the library. She also said a depiction of Native Americans with tomahawks may not be appropriate.
"Too violent for young children? Guess these school officials haven't noticed what's on television nowadays"
no to mention video games
these people are in a bubble and have no clue
I looked at the mural for a bit and just don't see what is so violent about it. I mean it might be a bit "dark" but even that is a stretch. Leave the gaudy looking painting alone and TEACH.