Sunday 14 April 2019

Painting Childhood

Painting Childhood - From Holbein to Freud

at Compton Verney, Warwickshire.

This exhibition of childhood brings together paintings, sketches and sculptures of children produced in the past 500 years.

Frederico Barocci, The Head and Shoulders of a Swaddled Baby Lying Down, 1595

Hans Holbein The Younger, Edward, Prince of Wales, 1540-43

Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Princess Elizabeth, Daughters of Charles I, 1637

Marcus Gheeraerts The Younger, A Boy Aged Two, 1608, (oil on panel)

This unknown child can be identified as a boy by his front-fastening doublet, short hairstyle and the dagger at his waist. At this time boys typically wore skirts until the age of six or seven, when they were 'breeched'. The red coral bracelets at the boy's wrists were believed to protect children from harm.

Judith Leyster, A Boy and a Girl with Cat and an Eel, 1635, (oil on oak)

John Constable, Maria Constable with Two of her Children, 1820, (oil on mahogany)

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Boy with a Lesson-Book, 1757, (oil on canvas)

Sir Joshua Reynolds, A Child Asleep, 1782, (oil on canvas)

Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Three Boys, 1670

Merchants brought Murillo's paintings of Spanish beggar children back to Britain where they inspired the development of fancy pictures. In this scene a black servant pauses on his errand to beg for a piece of pie, unaware that he is being pickpocketed.

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Penelope Boothby, 1788

Set against a dark background and wearing an oversized mob cap, this image of three-year-old Penelope Boothby came to epitomise the idea of vulnerable childhood. The fame of Reynold's portrait was due in part to Penelope's tragic death shortly after her sixth birthday. Penelope's outfit became iconic, inspiring a spate of children's fancy dress costumes, it was referenced a century later in John Everett Millai's painting Cherry Ripe.

Camille Pissarro, Jeanne Holding a Fan, 1873

Pissarro had eight children, and Jeanne-Rachel was her father's favourite. The girl's illness is suggested here by her flushed cheeks and limp posture. In a letter of 1873 Pissarro described the family as 'half-dead with worry and concern'.

Mary Beale, Head Study of a Boy, probably Charles Beale, the artist's younger son, 1664 (oil on paper laid down on canvas)

Mary Beale was the most prolific female artist working in England in the 17th century. She was the family breadwinner, with her husband Charles Beale acting as her studio assistant by obtaining materials, priming her canvasses and keeping her accounts.

Sir Stanley Spencer, A Family Portrait, 1937, (oil on canvas)

Winifred Nicholson, The Artist's Children, at the Isle of Wight, 1931-32

Louise Bourgeois, Children in Tub, 1994, (drypoint and aquatint on paper)

Louise Bourgeois, Birth, 1994, (drypoint on paper)

Lucian Freud, Annabel, 1967, (oil on canvas)

Sir Jacob Epstein, The Sisters, 1950-53)

Auguste Rodin, Mother and Child

John Ward, The Newspaper Boys, 1960, (oil on canvas)

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