Childhood

Childhood Paintings

Childhood

1
Portrait of Henry Bernstein as a Child

Portrait of Henry Bernstein as a Child

The child wearing a sailor's uniform in the portrait is Henri Bernstein.  Henri grew up to be a popular playwright in France.  The sailor's suit for children became popular in Europe and America in the 19th century and has since been adopted as school uniforms in some Asian countries.

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Submitted by
james
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2

Three Children of Richard Arkwright with a Goat

There is probably nothing that gives children more joy than to play with animals.  Whether it's a farm animal or a pet, children enjoy spending time with them.  Charles is really enjoying his ride on the back of the goat while his brother John supports him and his sister Elizabeth holds on to the goat's horns.  They are the children of Richard Arkwright Junior, a businessman who ran a cotton spinning mill in the 18th century.  Their grandfather, Sir Richard Arkwright Sr., was an inventor and a wealthy entrepreneur.

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Three Children of Richard Arkwright with a Goat

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james
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3
The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

Four sisters who are at different stages of their childhood have different interests.  These four children are daughters of lawyer Edward Boit and Mary Louisa Cushing, daughter of a wealthy merchant.  Julia, aged four, is playing alone with her doll in the middle of the room while Mary Louisa, aged eight, stands to the left. Jane at age twelve and Florence at age fourteen are both standing on a dark part of the room.  

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james
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4

Sewing

Children are often encouraged to learn a craft at an early age.  During the late 19th century, the art of sewing was one of the duties young girls prepared for.  Girls from different social classes would use this skill for different reasons but most of them would use their sewing skills for their families and themselves.  While the girl in the painting is probably distracted by other children at play, she's learning a skill that would benefit her in adulthood.

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Sewing by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

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james
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5

In Summertime by Edward Henry Potthast

The innocence of play is captured in this piece by Potthast. Four young boys swimming with friends outdoors, a scene repeated all over the world in different cultures (warm weather + water = fun!).

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james
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6

Boy with a Toy Soldier (Portrait of Jean de La Pommeraye)

Kids just won't let go of their toys.  Whether they're eating, sleeping or posing for a portrait, they just like holding on to them.  It would probably better to let the boy hold on to his toy soldier as he poses for the portrait or he might throw a tantrum.

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Boy with a Toy Soldier

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james
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7
Sharing a Meal

Sharing a Meal by Henry Jules Jean Geoffroy

Children sympathize with their pets and can be generous to them.  That's why they share their food with them quite often even if told not to – it can be a sort of alliance against Authority!  They are even more giving to their pets when they don't like their food.  However, if the boy keeps sharing the cat might show up with friends one day...

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james
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8

The Volunteers by Frederick Daniel Hardy, 1860

Kids are usually interested in their parents’ occupations.  Whether soldier, policeman, musician etc. children can be drawn to what their parents do for a living.  They may look like they're just goofing off in their roleplaying but as long as they look up to their parents they will most likely follow in their footsteps.

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Submitted by
james
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9

Margot (Lefebvre) in Blue by Mary Cassatt, 1902

When children pose for a portrait, few will be as well-behaved as Margot.  Her pose and her smile make her seem more mature but it does not diminish her cuteness at all.  She would probably look just as adorable even without the fluffy white bonnet and the flowers on her head. A proper little lady. 

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Submitted by
james
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10

I'se biggest! by Arthur John Elsley, 1892

Children are most adorable when they are little so we don't want them to grow up too fast.  They can be quite silly and cute when they try to pretend to be bigger or older than they really are.  Pair them up with a cute pet and that would make their silliness even more delightful.  Elsley is a master of capturing this sort of scene and was famous for his paintings of children. 

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Ise biggest

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james
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