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Title: Child-life in Art
Author: Hurll, Estelle M. (Estelle May), 1863-1924
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    Children are God's apostles, day by day
    Sent forth to preach of love and hope and peace.


  _Copyright, 1894,_

  University Press:


The subject of this little book is its best claim upon public favor.
Child-life in every form appeals with singular force to the sympathies
of all. In palace and in cottage, in the city and in the country,
childhood reigns supreme by the divine right of love. No monarch rules
more mightily than the infant sovereign in the Kingdom of Home, and none
more beneficently. His advent brings a bit of heaven into our midst, and
we become more gentle and tender for the sacred influence. Every phase
of the growing young life is beautiful and interesting to us. Every new
mood awakens in us a sense of awe before unfolding possibilities for
good or evil.

The poetry of childhood is full of attractiveness to the artist,
and many and varied are the forms in which he interprets it. The
Christ-child has been his highest ideal. All that human imagination
could conceive of innocence and purity and divine loveliness has been
shown forth in the delineation of the Babe of Bethlehem. The influence
of such art has made itself felt upon all child pictures. It matters not
whether the subject be a prince or a street-waif; the true artist sees
in him something which is lovable and winning, and transfers it to his
canvas for our lasting pleasure.

Art has produced so many representations of children that it would be a
hopeless task to attempt a complete enumeration of them, and the book
makes no pretensions to exhaustiveness. The aim has been merely to
suggest a convenient outline of classification, and to describe a few
characteristic examples in each group. The nature of the undertaking
has, of course, necessitated consulting the works of many standard
authorities, to whom I gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness. The names
of the most prominent are included in the bibliographical list. While
faithfully studying their opinions, I have always reserved the right of
forming an independent estimate of any painting considered, especially
when, as in many cases, I have myself seen the original. I am under
great obligations to my friend Professor Anne Eugenia Morgan of
Wellesley for first showing me, through her philosophical
art-interpretations, the true meaning and value of the works of
the masters. From these interpretations I have drawn many of the
suggestions which are embodied in the descriptions of the following

While addressing lovers of children primarily, I have also hoped to
interest students in the history of art. I have therefore added a few
notes containing further details in regard to some of the subjects.

                                                        E. M. H.

NEW BEDFORD, MASS., June 1, 1894.


  CHAPTER                                                  PAGE
    I. CHILDHOOD IN IDEAL TYPES                               3
   II. CHILDREN BORN TO THE PURPLE                           29
  III. THE CHILDREN OF FIELD AND VILLAGE                     57
   IV. THE CHILD-LIFE OF THE STREETS                         87
    V. CHILD-ANGELS                                         115
   VI. THE CHRIST-CHILD                                     141



  SISTINE MADONNA                           Raphael       _Frontispiece_

  THE STRAWBERRY GIRL                       Reynolds                  7

  PENELOPE BOOTHBY                          Reynolds                 15

  ANGEL HEADS                               Reynolds                 19
      _From the original painting in the National Gallery, London._

  NATURE                                    Lawrence                 23

  PORTRAIT OF PRINCE JAMES, DUKE OF YORK    Van Dyck                 33
      _From a painting in San Luca, Rome, after the Turin portrait
      by Van Dyck._

    PRINCE WILLIAM II. OF ORANGE            Van Dyck                 39
      _From the original painting in Amsterdam._

  PORTRAIT OF THE INFANTA MARIA THERESA     Velasquez                45
      _From the original painting in the Prado, Madrid._

  PORTRAIT OF THE INFANTA MARGUERITE        Velasquez                49
      _From the original painting in the Louvre, Paris._

  RUSTIC CHILDREN                           Gainsborough             59

  LA CRUCHE CASSÉE (The Broken Pitcher)     Greuze                   71
      _From the original painting in the Louvre, Paris._

  CHILD'S HEAD                              Bouguereau               77

  THE LITTLE RABBIT SELLER                  Meyer von Bremen         81

  BEGGAR BOYS                               Murillo                  89
      _From the original painting in the Pinacothek, Munich._

  STREET ARABS                              Dorothy Tennant Stanley  98

  THE MEETING                               Marie Bashkirtseff      103
      _From the original painting in the Luxembourg, Paris._

  CASTLES IN SPAIN                          J. G. Brown             107

  GROUP OF ANGELS. From the Assumption      Titian                  119
      _From the original painting in the Academy, Venice._

  PIPING ANGEL. Detail of Frari Madonna     Bellini                 127
      _From the original painting in Venice._

  ANGEL. From Madonna and Child             Luigi Vivarini          131
      _From the original painting in the Church of Redentore, Venice._

  ANGEL. From the Vision of Saint Bernard   Filippino Lippi         135
      _From the original painting in the Badia, Florence._

  MADONNA OF THE CASA TEMPI                 Raphael                 147

  INFANT JESUS AND SAINT JOHN               Boucher                 155
      _From the original painting in the Uffizi, Florence._

  THE CHRIST-CHILD                          Deger                   159

  HEAD OF BOY CHRIST                        Hofmann                 163
      _Detail of Christ Disputing with the Doctors._

       *       *       *       *       *



    O child! O new-born denizen
    Of life's great city! on thy head
    The glory of the morn is shed,
    Like a celestial benison!
    Here at the portal thou dost stand,
    And with thy little hand
    Thou openest the mysterious gate
    Into the future's undiscovered land.




If we could gather into one great gallery all the paintings of
child-life which the world has ever produced, there would be scattered
here and there some few works of a distinctly unique character, before
which we should rest so completely satisfied that we should quite forget
to look at any others. These choice gems are the work of those rare men
of genius who, looking beyond all trivial circumstances and individual
peculiarities, discovered the essential secrets of child-life, and
embodied them in ideal types. They are pictures of _childhood_, rather
than of _children_, representing those phases of thought and emotion
which are peculiar to the child as such, and which all children possess
in common. In their presence every mother spontaneously exclaims, "How
like my own little one!" because the artist has interpreted the real
child nature. Such pictures may justly take rank among the highest
productions of creative art, having proven their claim to greatness by
their unquestioned appeal to universal admiration.

In work of this kind one name alone is prominent, a name which England
is proud to claim as hers, but to which all the world pays honor,--the
name of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Prince of Child-painters. A simple-hearted
man, of sweet, kindly disposition, the great portrait-painter, bachelor
though he was, possessed in rare measure the mysterious gift of winning
the confidence of children. The great octagonal studio in Leicester
Square must have often resounded to the laughter of childish voices, as
he entertained his little patrons with the pet dogs and birds he used in
their portraits, and coaxed them into good nature with a thousand merry
tricks. Although the greater number of these little people belonged to
the most wealthy and aristocratic families in England, their pictures
do not in any way indicate their rank. Still less do they show any
distinguishing marks of the artificial age in which they lived. Dressed
in the simplest of costumes, of the sort which is never out of fashion
and always in the best taste, and posed in the natural attitudes of
unconscious grace, they are representatives of childhood, pure and
simple, rather than of any particular social class or historical period.

A list of Sir Joshua's child pictures may suitably begin with one
which, in his own opinion, is among the best and most original of all
his works. This is the Strawberry Girl, exhibited in 1773, and repeated
many times by the painter,--"not so much for the sake of profit," as
Northcote explains, "as for improvement." The model was the artist's
pretty niece, Miss Theophila ("Offy") Palmer, who was named for his
mother, and whom he loved as an own daughter.

The little girl stands with head slightly drooping, in the sweet, shy
way so natural to a timid child. The big eyes are lifted to ours half
confidingly, half timidly, while a smile hovers bewitchingly over the
mouth. A long, pointed basket hangs on one arm, and the plump hands are
folded together in front like a little woman's. The child wears a
curious round cap on her head, under which, presumably, her hair is
gathered up in womanly fashion, for there are no stray locks to be
seen except the two soft curves on the forehead. Altogether, the figure
presents just that odd commingling of dignity with childish timidity
which we so often notice in our own little maids, and which makes them
at once so lovable and so womanly.


Some fifteen years after Sir Joshua's niece posed as the Strawberry
Girl, her own little daughter, another "Offy," served the artist uncle
as the model for Simplicity. The great-niece was as lovely a child as
her mother had been, and critics agree in placing Simplicity among the
best works of the painter. The setting is a landscape, in the foreground
of which the child is seated, with her lap full of flowers. The sweet
face is turned aside in a somewhat pensive poise, and the exquisite
purity of its expression is exactly represented by the title. Of a
similar character is the Age of Innocence, which portrays a little girl
looking out into the world with wide eyes and parted lips, a complete
embodiment of the innocence of childhood on the threshold of life. The
face, which is presented in profile, is finely cut, and charmingly
framed in short, clustering curls.

In looking for ideal types among the child-pictures of Sir Joshua
Reynolds, we need by no means be confined to those which bear fancy
titles. His portraits are as truly interpretative as his imaginative
subjects, and each typifies a distinct element of child-life. The little
Miss Bowles sitting on the ground hugging her dog, and Master Bunbury
looking out of the canvas with breathless eagerness, arouse a universal
interest, which is entirely independent of their individuality. Miss
Frances Harris, the serene, and Miss Penelope Boothby, the demure, will
be loved as child ideals long after their names are forgotten.

A _protégé_ of Reynolds from the first, Lawrence became his successor
as Painter-in-Ordinary to the King, and in process of time rose to the
proud honor of the presidency of the Royal Academy. Holding thus the two
positions which Reynolds had graced so many years, it may be said that
the master's mantle fell upon him more truly than upon any other

In technique his painting is criticised by connoisseurs as deficient in
that harmonious blending of the flesh tints with the background which so
delights us in other artists. Then, too, his insight into character was
far less penetrating than that of his predecessor. Nevertheless, his
best work has much of the beauty and animation which we so admire in the
paintings of Reynolds.

One of his notable pictures is the portrait of Master Lambton, son
of Lord Durham, sometimes called, in imitation of the Blue Boy of
Gainsborough, the Red Boy. The painting was exhibited at the Paris Salon
of 1824, where it is said to have completely turned the heads of French
critics, so fascinating was the aristocratic melancholy of the beautiful
boy it represented.

For a companion piece to this picture, one might choose the portrait of
Mr. Peel's daughter, which is considered an exceptionally fine work.

Lawrence's groups of mothers with their children are especially worthy
of study. The most famous of these are Lady Dover, with her son, Lord
Clifden, in her arms, and the Countess Gower, with her little daughter
Elizabeth on her lap.

The latter has been carried by the engraver's art into nearly every
country of the world, and often appears under the title, "Maternal
Love." Both mother and child are looking with intense interest in the
direction toward which the little girl points an eager finger. The
child's face is full of vivacious beauty, the sparkling eyes and parted
lips perfectly representing the alert, imaginative type of child nature.

The finest of Sir Thomas Lawrence's child pictures is undoubtedly the
portrait of the Calmady children, better known by the title of "Nature."
This is indeed a picture disclosing the essential truth of the child
nature; the two little ones are frolicking together in a perfect abandon
of innocent merriment.

The pretty story of the sittings in which this portrait was obtained, is
a key to its success. The children romped with the artist as with a boon
companion, and the younger relieved the monotony of the hour by relating
to him the nursery tales of Dame Wiggins, and the Field Mice and
Raspberry Cream. Thus the painter won the confidence of his little
friends, and delineated them in all the fresh charm of their youthful
vivacity. Nature deserves a place beside Simplicity as a true picture of
the heart of childhood.

But after all has been said concerning the child pictures in any way
similar to those of Sir Joshua Reynolds, it must still be admitted that
his work is entirely unique in what may be termed the _universality_ of
its idealism. Other pictures of child-life there are,--many of them of
equal and even of superior merit as works of art,--which are marked by a
fine quality of idealism; but this idealism is limited in its range to
the delineation of individuals, or of particular classes. These pictures
naturally fall into groups based upon the social classes which they
represent, and by this method of classification, they will be considered
in the subsequent chapters.


Miss Penelope's face is one of the most familiar of Sir Joshua's art
children, and the first favorite with many for the arch loveliness of
her expression. Although her mouth is set in a prim little pucker, we
cannot repress the suspicion that behind it lurks a good deal of
childish fun. The big mob cap and the voluminous mitts add not a little
to the quaint charm of the picture, and make it easily recognized by
many who are otherwise unfamiliar with Reynolds's works.

As it was a fashion of eighteenth century art to draw subjects largely
from classic mythology, we find among Sir Joshua's child pictures an
Infant Bacchus, an Infant Jupiter, and an Infant Hercules. This last was
painted to fill a commission from the Empress Catherine of Russia, and
is a powerful representation of the young hero, seated on wolf-skins,
strangling serpents.

Mercury as a Postman and Cupid as a Link-Boy are companion pieces,
painted from the same model,--a mischievous young street boy, whose
simulated gravity is irresistibly droll. The artist's keen sense of
humor is seen again in that most captivating little rogue, Puck. The
saucy elf is perched on a mushroom, resting after a frolic, and
apparently plotting new escapades.

A complete enumeration and description of Reynolds's child pictures
would fill a bulky volume, so eagerly, through a period of over thirty
years, were the great portrait painter's services demanded by all the
distinguished families of the day. Of special interest and beauty are
some of the portraits of mothers with their children. The lovely Lady
Waldegrave, clasping her babe to her breast, is one of these, while
another is the celebrated beauty, the Duchess of Devonshire, playing
with her infant daughter. A charming group is Lady Cockburn and her
Boys, which has been engraved under the title of the Roman matron
Cornelia and her Children. It is said of this splendid production, that
when it was brought into the Royal Academy exhibition to be hung, it was
greeted by the assembly of painters with a great demonstration of
applause. It is no wonder, then, that this should be one of the few
paintings to which the master attached his signature.

[Illustration: ANGEL HEADS.--REYNOLDS.]

Our list of Reynolds's pictures would be defective without some mention
of the famous Angel Heads, which is peculiarly a representative work. It
consists of a cluster of little cherubs, representing, in five different
expressions, the delicate features of a single face, whose original was
Miss Frances Isabella Gordon. Painted in 1786, near the close of his
great career, it seems to gather up into a harmonious whole those
several aspects of childhood which Sir Joshua's long and wide experience
had revealed to him as the typical movements of the child mind.

The five totally dissimilar expressions embody those varying attitudes
of mind which the child may successively assume in any critical
experience of its young life. The clear-cut profile of the lower face at
the left suggests the face of the child in the Age of Innocence who
first confronts the problem of life. The one just above has the
thoughtful poise of the little girl Simplicity, pondering over an
important question, while the remaining heads stand for those
imaginative and emotional moods which complete the cycle of human

The original of this beautiful picture[1] is in the National Gallery at
London, and fortunate indeed are they who have the privilege of standing
before it to delight their eyes with the blonde loveliness of the
sweet faces, framed in aureoles of golden ringlets.

[Illustration: NATURE.--LAWRENCE.]

It would be difficult to estimate the incalculable influence which the
life and work of Sir Joshua Reynolds have exerted on the progress of art
in the past century. The influence of his paintings was supplemented by
the series of discourses which it was his duty as President of the
Royal Academy to deliver annually on subjects of art criticism. His
unparalleled success brought forth many followers and imitators; but
among their works few can be selected as worthy presentations of
childhood in ideal types.

Gainsborough and Romney were considered to some extent the rivals of
Reynolds, but Gainsborough's child pictures were drawn from rustic life,
and Romney's are not worthy of comparison with the master's. We must
turn, then, for the best results of Reynolds's influence to the work of
Sir Thomas Lawrence, who entered upon his career just as the great
portrait-painter was obliged to lay aside his brush from failing sight.



    For thrones and peoples are as waifs that swing
      And float or fall, in endless ebb and flow;
      But who love best have best the grace to know
    That Love, by right divine, is deathless King.



The children of a royal family lead a strange and somewhat lonely life.
Impressed, almost from infancy, with a sense of their superiority, and
recognizing no equals among their companions and playmates, they live
apart in princely isolation, preparing for the future honors which
await them. But even the grave responsibilities of their rank cannot
altogether extinguish the inherent joyousness of youth, and children
will be children to the end of time. The stately ceremonies of the court
have to yield in turn to innocent amusements, and childhood reasserts
its natural right to simple and spontaneous happiness.

The combination of royal dignity with pure childishness is a unique
subject for art, and one which few have had the genius to portray. Two
great painters are famous in history for their remarkable success in
this line of work,--Van Dyck, of Belgium, and Velasquez, of Spain.

In many respects the lives of these two painters ran in parallel lines.
They were born in the same year, 1599; and beginning their art studies
when still very young, with great opportunities for the development of
their talent, both had won an enviable reputation by the time they had
reached early manhood. Both held appointments as the court painters
of kings who were unusually liberal and appreciative in their
patronage,--Van Dyck under Charles I. of England, and Velasquez under
Philip IV. of Spain. Both artists drew great inspiration from the
Italian masters, whose works they studied in Venice and Rome,
particularly the great Titian. Here, however, the comparison may end;
for the nature of the subjects which each chose, the influence of their
nationality upon their style, and, above all, their own personal
individuality as artists, have rendered their work strikingly

Van Dyck was in every sense a man of the world and a courtier; widely
travelled, broadly cultured, fond of music, brilliant in conversation,
handsome of face, and graceful in bearing, by turns an elegant host and
a distinguished guest. Thus all his thoughts, interests, and pleasures
were thoroughly identified with the court life, and he was peculiarly
fitted for the artistic interpretation of royalty.

The family of Charles I. of England afforded a most attractive field for
the exercise of the court painter's talent, and many and varied are the
groups in which they were represented.[2] Some of the most interesting
of these are in the collection at Windsor. In one, the king and queen
are seen, with their two sons, Prince Charles and Prince James; while
another portrays the same boys, with their mother, Henrietta Maria. The
latter painting is an exceedingly beautiful work, repaying long study.
The boys have that indefinable air of nobility which Van Dyck knew so
well how to impart to his subjects, and which none can imitate or
explain. Even Prince James, who is an infant in arms, holds his little
head erect, like the prince that he is. The artist has shown us,
however, that royal dignity is by no means incompatible with the true
child nature, and the two young princes are always depicted as genuine
children, with frank, winning faces.


The most popular of Van Dyck's portraits of the Stuart children is the
famous group at Turin, in which the two young princes, Charles and
James, stand one on each side of their sister Mary. All three bear
themselves with an air of conscious superiority, a gentle and serene
dignity born of their faith in the divine right of kings. Prince Charles
is dressed in scarlet satin, richly embroidered with silver lace, with a
broad lace collar falling over his shoulders. His large round eyes look
out towards the spectator with the dreamy expression of one who builds
splendid air-castles. The Princess Mary is in white satin, and is a
dainty little figure, a second edition of her queen mamma, with ringlets
carefully ranged on each side of her pretty forehead, and her exquisite
hands holding lightly the lustrous folds of her dress.

The little Prince James is so short that he stands on a platform at the
side, to bring his figure into harmonious relation to the group. His
dress is blue satin, of stiff, full skirt, which, with the close white
cap on his head, makes him a quaint little figure. A chubby, innocent
looking baby, he is nevertheless a personage who fully realizes the
important place he occupies in the family group, and is determined to
fill it with becoming gravity.

Next in popularity to the Turin picture is a group of five children, the
original of which is at Windsor, and a replica at Berlin. The painting
is dated 1637, fixing the age of Prince Charles as seven. Having now
outgrown the frocks of the earlier pictures, he stands in a graceful
boyish attitude, wearing satin knickerbockers and waistcoat, and still
retaining the beautiful lace collar on his aristocratic shoulders. His
eyes have the same dreamy look as in other portraits. On his right are
his sisters Mary and Elizabeth, the former demurely complacent as
before, the latter timid and dainty. On the left the little Princess
Anne frolics with Prince James in simple childish fashion. As a
composition, the picture is somewhat stiff and artificial, but the
single figures are all rendered with characteristic beauty.

It is sad to place beside Van Dyck's glowing canvases, the dark pictures
in which historians have painted the after-life of these charming
children. The dreamy-eyed Prince Charles grows at length into the
corrupt and unprincipled King Charles II., whose tyrannies are limited
only by his indolence. The sweet, round-faced baby, Prince James,
becomes King James II., whose reign is even more inglorious than that of
the brother whom he succeeds. The Princess Mary has in the mean time
married Prince William II. of Orange, and now, in England's hour of
need, it is her son, William III. of Orange, who is summoned to the aid
of his mother's native land. With his cousin wife Mary, the daughter of
the unworthy king, he assumes the head of affairs, and wisely conducts
the interests of the people throughout a prosperous reign.

The fact that the Princess Mary's marriage with William II. of Orange
was productive of so great a benefit to England gives special interest
to Van Dyck's painting of the betrothed lovers, which may now be seen at
Amsterdam. The princess stands on the left side of the picture, bearing
herself with characteristic dignity. Prince William, beside her, holds
her left hand lightly in his right, and turns his face to meet our gaze
with steadfast, serious eyes. He is a fine, manly figure, in every way
the true Prince Charming for his pretty lady-love. Both children have a
thoughtful, intelligent look, far beyond their years, as if conscious
that England's destiny turns upon their union.


From Van Dyck's exquisitely idealized portraits of royal children we
turn to the work of Velasquez, to find a faithful reproduction of the
totally different type of child-life represented at the court of Spain.
Appointed court painter at the age of twenty-four, and retaining this
connection until his death, in 1660, the Spanish artist has left to
posterity a vivid panorama of the royal life at Madrid during a period
of nearly forty years. His delineations are so realistic, his technique
is so masterly, his posing of figures so entirely natural, that his
pictures seem to place the living reality before us. Often representing
the characters he painted as occupied in their customary daily pursuits,
his works are a truthful reflection of the life of his times, and are as
full of historical interest as of artistic merit.

The court to which the young painter was introduced in 1623 might almost
be called A Court of Boys, the king, Philip IV., being but eighteen
years of age, and his two brothers, the Cardinal Infant Don Fernando,
and the Prince Carlos, seventeen and thirteen respectively. The youthful
king was, of course, his first royal patron, and was painted in a
magnificent equestrian portrait, which at once established the artist's

With the birth of the king's first child, the Prince Balthasar Carlos,
in 1629, the court painter's duties began in earnest; and from that time
on he was most assiduous in portraying the royal family.

Prince Balthasar was represented in almost every imaginable position,
first as a tiny child in frocks, and later as a young boy in court
dress,[3] military costume, or hunting-garb.

In his most attractive portraits he is a gallant young horseman, seated
with an easy grace, as if born to the saddle. Two of these are scenes
in the riding-school, and are admirable compositions. The most
remarkable, however, is that in the Madrid Museum, in which the little
prince rides alone on a bright bay. The beautiful pony bounds out of the
picture with great spirit and grace, guided by his happy, round-faced
rider, whose right hand lifts a bâton, and whose left holds the bridle.
The brilliant colors of his riding-costume make the picture exceedingly
effective in rich, warm tints,--the green velvet jacket and the
red-and-gold scarf,--while the young cavalier's fluttering streamers and
the horse's sweeping mane and tail give a swift breezy motion to the
whole scene.

Next in age to Prince Balthasar came the Princess Maria Theresa, who
afterwards became the queen of Louis XIV. of France. Velasquez painted
various portraits of this little princess to be sent to the European
courts where negotiations for her marriage were under consideration;
but, unhappily, the fate of most of these is shrouded in mystery. One
interesting painting, however, may be seen in the Royal Gallery at
Madrid.[4] The child has a sweet, demure face, which seems very narrow
and delicate-looking in its broad frame of elaborately arranged hair.
Her bearing is dignified, in spite of her uncomfortable dress. In one
hand she carries an immense handkerchief, and in the other a rose, both
resting lightly on the outer edge of the huge hemisphere, of which her
slender figure forms, as it were, the central axis. Her sad and lonely
after-life as a neglected queen, in the gay and dissolute French court,
makes the picture singularly pathetic. There is a look of sweet patience
in the face, which seems to anticipate the coming years.


By King Philip's second marriage he brought to the Spanish court as
his wife the Princess Mariana of Austria, who was then only fourteen
years of age. The young queen was of course frequently portrayed by the
court painter, but she did not make a very attractive subject for his
skill, with her rather dull eyes and her full lips, and cheeks
plentifully bedaubed with rouge.

As there was a difference of but three years in the ages of the
child-wife and the Princess Maria Theresa, the two were constant
companions; and when the Princess Margaret was christened, the elder
sister stood as godmother with great dignity. A pretty story is related
that on the way to the chapel for the christening, Maria Theresa let
slip from her finger a costly ring, which a poor woman picked up to
return to her. "Keep it," said the little princess, with true royal
tact; "God has sent it to you."

The Princess Margaret became the darling of the court, and her blonde
beauty is immortalized in many portraits by Velasquez. The most famous
of these is the picture called "Las Meninas," or The Maids of Honor, in
which the young princess is the central figure of a group of devoted
attendants. The composition is a veritable masterpiece, representing
with perfect naturalness a daily scene in the palace. The princess rules
with a sweet, complacent smile, and one can well imagine what an object
of admiration her fair hair and blue eyes must have been among the
swarthy, dark-eyed Spaniards.


Another celebrated painting of the same child is in the Louvre at Paris,
where it is a centre of attraction for art lovers and copyists, on
account of the exquisite delicacy of its technique. It is a half-length
portrait, showing a winning face, with wide, earnest eyes, and a
demure little mouth. The fair hair is parted at one side, where it is
caught back with a ribbon bow,--a style which the princess is said to
have retained even after her marriage with the Emperor Leopold.

From an artist's point of view, the beauty of the Velasquez child
portraits is greatly injured by the grotesque fashions of the times. A
long stiff corset and an immense oval hoop entirely precluded any
possibility of grace in the attitude of the little princesses, while a
ridiculously artificial style of dressing the hair completed the
absurdity of a costume which was the laughing-stock of Europe.

Van Dyck was in this respect far more fortunate in his surroundings, and
the full, lustrous folds of satin in which the English royal children
were arrayed, gave him ample scope for an exquisite disposition of light
and shade.

Independently of purely artistic principles, we should be sorry to
lose from the pictures of either artist that element of interest and
fascination which the costumes of an earlier epoch always arouse. The
Princess Maria Theresa would be less interesting without her big hoop,
and the Princess Mary less dignified without her voluminous satin;
Charles would scarcely be the prince that he is, if lacking his broad
lace collar, and Prince Balthasar would lose much of his charm, deprived
of his red and green bravery. There is, in fact, no detail in any of
these pictures which does not throw light upon the phase of life which
they portray.

Other great masters besides Van Dyck and Velasquez have been called to
the portraiture of royalty,--Titian,[5] Holbein,[6] Rubens,--but for
various reasons they painted but few pictures of royal children, and
these are by no means notable when compared with their other works.

Van Dyck and Velasquez, therefore, stand out the more prominently for
this unique class of court portraits, and so long as their works endure,
they will take first rank as a revelation of the peculiar grace and
charm of the life of children born to the purple.



    O for boyhood's painless play,
    Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
    Health that mocks the doctor's rules,
    Knowledge never learned of schools,
    Of the wild bee's morning chase,
    Of the wild-flower's time and place,
    Flight of fowl, and habitude
    Of the tenants of the wood;--

    For, eschewing books and tasks,
    Nature answers all he asks;
    Hand in hand with her he walks,
    Face to face with her he talks,
    Part and parcel of her joy,--
    Blessings on the barefoot boy!



The most fortunate children in the world are those whose first lessons
in life have been learned on the lap of Mother Nature. Taught by her to
know and love all the beautiful things of the glad green earth; versed
in the mystic language of woodland birds and beasts; trained to the
skilful use of eye and muscle,--they possess the secret of a happiness
which knows no equal. Theirs is a life of perfect liberty, untrammelled
by the false conventions of society, uninjured by over-indulgence,
untainted by contact with vice. Growing up under these conditions into a
healthy and vigorous beauty, the children of field and village have
long been a source of delight and inspiration to both poet and painter.

In _genre_ painting, Holland gave the initiative to the art world in the
works of Jan Steen, the Teniers, and others. The influence of the Dutch
school at length made itself felt in England; and after the renaissance
of British art, in the middle of the eighteenth century, many painters
arose to interpret the conditions of rustic life peculiar to England.

First on this list stands the name of Thomas Gainsborough.[7] From early
boyhood he loved nature with all the intensity of a true artist's soul,
and many picturesque scenes in the vicinity of his native Sudbury were
indelibly impressed upon his youthful mind. Later in life, when at the
height of his success as a great London painter, his favorite summer
resort was Richmond, where, wandering about the country from day to day,
he met many an interesting village child whose face was transferred
to his canvas. Fortunate little models, these; for the artist always
rewarded them for their sittings with lavish generosity.


One particular boy, Jack Hill by name, so charmed Gainsborough that he
actually adopted the lad, and immortalized his handsome features in two
paintings.[8] Jack Hill did not live up to his privileges, and,
preferring his old free life to the restrictions of a more elegant
household, he ran away. He was, however, never forgotten; and after
Gainsborough died, his good widow provided amply for the youth's

Perhaps the most extensively known of all Gainsborough's delineations of
country child-life is the Rustic Children of the National Gallery. The
central figure is a young girl, standing, with a child in her arms; a
boy sits on the bank beside her with a bundle of fagots. The group is
artistically conceived, with one of Gainsborough's characteristic
landscapes as a background, showing a cottage home. The children are
graceful and natural, with that indefinable poetic charm peculiar to the
painter's work.

A picture attracting a great deal of admiration in the lifetime of
Gainsborough, was the Boy at the Stile. While this treasure was still in
the hands of the artist, he was visited one day by Colonel Hamilton,
then considered the finest violinist of his times. Gainsborough, a
devoted lover of music, begged him to play, and when the first air was
finished, rapturously exclaimed, "Now, my dear Colonel, if you will but
go on, I will give you that picture of the Boy at the Stile, which you
so wished to purchase of me."

In half an hour the prize was won, and both parties were well satisfied
with the agreement.

In studying Gainsborough's rustic children as a class, it is noticeable
that he emphasizes the pathetic side of their life; instead of a
thrifty, tidy appearance, in which England's village children are by no
means lacking, he gives his subjects a careless, neglected air. The
Rustic Children of the National Gallery are unnecessarily ragged; their
hair is wild and dishevelled, and their general appearance untidy. Many
of the children of the most celebrated pictures are attractive from a
delicate, refined beauty, rather than from the robust and healthy
vitality we naturally associate with country life. This makes their
surroundings incongruous, and we feel sorry that they are not in their
true sphere. The child who stands, half-clad, before the hearth-fire, in
the painting called the "Little Cottager," has the delicate features of
a true aristocrat. No cottage boy this, with shapely hands and large,
melancholy eyes. His wistfulness is so touching that we would fain
snatch him from his surroundings, and set him down amidst the soft
luxuries which belong to him by right.

The Shepherd Boy in a Storm has the face and expression of a poet, as he
lifts his beautiful eyes to the overhanging clouds, with nothing of fear
or shrinking, but with apparent admiration for the grandeur of Nature.

Gainsborough painted many scenes of child-life in which animals are
introduced, as in the picture of a girl holding a child on a donkey, and
in one representing two shepherd boys looking on at fighting dogs. He
did not hesitate before a subject which would have appalled most
artists, and which, in other hands, would have been vulgar and
common,--A Girl Feeding Pigs. This he painted with such skill that
Reynolds instantly recognized its greatness, and eagerly purchased it
for a sum far in advance of the price modestly named by the painter. The
amusing anecdote is related concerning this work that a countryman, who
studied it attentively some time, gave it as his opinion that "they be
deadly like pigs; but nobody ever saw pigs feeding together but what one
on 'em had a foot in the trough."

Gainsborough[9] is pronounced by Ruskin the purest colorist of the
English school, taking rank beside Rubens, and adding a lustre to the
fame of British art which time can do nothing to dim. His style is so
peculiarly individual in its characteristics that it cannot properly
be compared with that of any other artist; but his predilection for
subjects drawn from rural child-life finds a parallel in the work of his
French contemporary, Jean Baptiste Greuze.[10]

The pictures by which Greuze made his early reputation, and which
perhaps he never excelled in later times, were the Father Explaining the
Bible to his Children,[11] and the Village Bride.[12] Both represent
family scenes among village people, and contain, as their most charming
features, some delightfully natural children. One could scarcely find
anything more deliciously childlike than the mischievous little ones who
gather about the table to listen to the Father Explaining the Bible, and
whose love of fun even this solemn occasion cannot repress. Equally
attractive are the young people gathering affectionately and tearfully
about their pretty elder sister, the Village Bride, who comes with her
lover to receive the parental blessing.

The appearance of these two compositions made their artist famous,
and won for him the ardent admiration and powerful friendship of the
encyclopædist Diderot. Continuing his work along this new[13] line of
subjects, Greuze went on to paint many other scenes in the child-life
of the country. Two notable companion pictures of this kind are the
Departure of the Cradle, and the Return from the Nurse, founded upon
a phase of French village life quite unknown in many other countries,
namely, the custom among busy working-people of sending their infants
out to board with nurses. Unnatural as was the custom, it by no means
indicated a lack of family affection, as is seen in these charming
compositions. In both cases, the child, at first an infant, and later
a little boy a year or two old, is the centre of the group, fondled and
admired by all.

The pre-eminence of Greuze was due not only to the entire novelty of his
chosen range of subjects, but to the exquisite beauty of his technique.
He excelled in painting those fresh carnations, "mixed with lilies and
roses," as the French used to say, and diversified with blue-gray
shadows and warm reflected light. Such characteristics are easily
carried to extremes, and were often exaggerated by Greuze himself; but
when held in true control they are a delight to the eye of the true

An example of his coloring, in its most lovely aspects, is the Trumpet.
The scene is a cottage interior, in which a young mother, with a babe in
her arms, sits beside a cradle containing another little one, and turns
to quiet her roguish boy, who stands somewhat sulkily by her chair,
reluctant to forego the pleasure of blowing on his trumpet. "Silence! do
not awaken him!" is what the mother seems to say; and these words form
the title under which the picture first appeared.

Greuze could not altogether escape the blight of that artificiality
which was everywhere characteristic of his times, and nowhere more
conspicuous than in France. "Soyez piquant, si vous ne pouvez pas être
vrai," was his advice to a fellow artist, Ducreux; and his own work too
often shows evidence of the sacrifice of truth to piquancy. His single
figures and heads are not, as a class, so true to nature as his
compositions, although they are much better known to the public.
Scattered far and wide through all the great art galleries of the world,
they have been greatly admired for their delicate coloring, and for
those qualities of prettiness which are always attractive.

Nearly all these purport to be representations of children, but they are
certainly not like the children of our own households, nor, indeed, like
those of the same artist's domestic pictures. They reverse the proverb,
by being young heads on old shoulders, the face and features of
childhood on the mature and well-developed figure of womanhood. The
expression, too, is a curious combination of childlike simplicity with
the sentimental melancholy of young maidenhood; and one cannot escape
the impression that the models are not genuine peasant children, but
pretty and somewhat worldly young women, masquerading in pastoral
costumes for a fancy ball.

From the long list of examples of this class, both figures and heads, a
few well-known subjects will suggest the type: The Milkmaid, the Little
Pouter, Simplicity, the Girl with an Orange, and the Broken Pitcher.


The last is probably more familiar than any other work of Greuze. It
attained an immense popularity in the lifetime of the artist, attracting
many people to his studio. Among the visitors was Mademoiselle
Philipon, afterwards known to fame as Madame Roland, and her delightful
description[14] gives a complete idea of the picture:--

"It is a little girl, naïve, fresh, charming, who has just broken her
pitcher; she holds it on her arm, near the fountain where the accident
occurred. Her eyes are downcast, her lips half parted; she tries to
account for her mishap, and does not know if she is in fault. Nothing
could be more piquant and charming. The only criticism one could suggest
is that Monseiur Greuze has not made the little maid sorry enough, so
that in the future she will not be tempted to return to the fountain!"

The heroine of the broken pitcher is dressed in white, has blue eyes and
auburn hair, cherry lips, and pink-and-white complexion.

For twenty-five years Greuze was the fashion in Paris. With all his
faults, he was immeasurably superior to his French contemporaries, and
his work was a decided step towards a new era. With the great political
and social changes inaugurated in France early in the nineteenth
century, an entirely new style of art, literary and graphic, was made
possible, and a new school of painters arose to portray French peasant

No modern artist has chosen a field which exactly corresponds to that of
Greuze, the tendency being rather to neglect the child element to which
he devoted so much energy. One painter may be mentioned, however, who
has contributed a few valuable additions to this department of
art,--William Adolphe Bouguereau.

The remarkable number of works which Bouguereau has produced since his
first great success in 1854 have made him distinguished for a large
variety of subjects; but the pictures by which he has touched the hearts
of the people are those in which he portrays the peasants of his own
sunny land,--sweet, shy, dark-eyed girls, with masses of black hair
pushed back loosely from their foreheads.

One is a Little Shepherdess, who stands with careless grace poising a
crook across her shoulders, while her eyes meet ours with a frank yet
modest gaze. Again the same girl rests from her labors, sitting on a
stone, lost in revery. Another sweet child is the girl seated by a well,
with a broken pitcher lying on the ground beside her. Her hands are
clasped on her knee, as she bends slightly forward in a pensive
attitude, her large eyes full of childish pathos. Cajolery also belongs
to this set, and is so named from the caresses with which a little girl
begs some favor of an older sister, whose merry eyes show that she
fully understands the secrets of child diplomacy.

Younger than any of these children is the bewitching little gypsy, whose
tangled curls frame a round, dimpled face, with rosebud mouth, and big
black eyes looking bashfully askance. There is a peculiar charm in the
child's shyness, as if, like some wild creature of the woods, she would
turn and flee before a nearer approach.

Bouguereau's work, academic in style, and always refined and elegant in
manner, has qualities of artistic excellence which place him in the
foremost rank; and we are glad to believe that for many generations to
come his lovely little peasant girls will be widely known and loved.

[Illustration: CHILD HEAD.--BOUGUEREAU.]

From the dark-eyed children of sunny France to the fair-haired sons
and daughters of the Saxon race is a long step, which introduces us
to child-life of a totally different type. Childhood in the rural
districts of Germany and Switzerland has been very completely portrayed
by Johann Georg Meyer, better known as Meyer von Bremen,--the name he
has taken in honor of his native city.

With an intense sympathy for all the pleasures of childhood, Meyer
unites a wonderfully delicate sense of the artistic and picturesque. His
fertility of invention seems well-nigh inexhaustible. He has given us
cottage scenes and out-of-door life with impartial liberality, and has
shown equal skill of treatment, whether he handles groups or single

His subjects are drawn largely from life in the Hessian, Bavarian, and
Swiss Alps, where he has carefully studied the manners and customs of
the people. The cottage interiors have all the characteristic quaintness
and charm of these peasant homes. High wooden chairs, of the
"fiddle-back" pattern, are the conspicuous pieces of furniture; rich
old cabinets stand against the walls, and oddly shaped earthern jars are
ranged on shelves. The light comes through little diamond-paned windows,
and gleams on floors of hard wood, unadorned with carpet or rug. In
these surroundings, groups of flaxen-haired children sport in all the
sweet innocence of healthy, happy childhood. Sometimes they gather
eagerly about the table to play with their Pet Canary; at another time
they cluster about their mother's knee to peep admiringly at the
wonderful new baby in her arms, and to hear the mysterious announcement
that The Storks Brought It. Again, the centre of their attention is the
tiny brother gleefully taking his first uncertain steps towards the
outstretched arms of his young mother.


The out-of-door scenes have the picturesque mountain scenery of the Alps
for their background, and sometimes a pretty cottage is included in
the scene. A characteristic example is the Little Rabbit-Seller. A group
of children gather round a little girl, who carries, suspended from her
shoulders, a large basket of rabbits. Two of the number peep with
intense interest into the basket, delighted with the opportunity to feed
the pretty creatures. The others are talking with the young merchant,--a
school-boy with book satchel held behind him, and an older girl holding
a curly-haired child on her back. The pure, gentle face of the young
girl is one not to be easily forgotten, and which reappears on other
canvases of the artist. The affectionate care of this older sister for
the child she carries is one of many instances in which the same trait
is shown in Meyer's pictures, and is eminently characteristic of the

The earnest piety in which the children of these simple-hearted people
are reared is beautifully expressed in the companion pictures, Morning
Prayer and Evening Prayer, as well as in one called Simple Devotion,
where a little girl offers a bouquet to the Virgin of a wayside shrine.

In whatever mood the children are portrayed, they are always entirely
unconscious of observers, never posing for the artist, but caught
unawares on his canvas, in the midst of their pursuits. In this way they
always make pictures with "stories" in them, of just the kind to delight
the heart of a child.

Such art carries a beautiful and enduring lesson, whether the scenes it
represents are German or French, English or American. In these visions
of the simple and joyous life of the country, we are brought, as it
were, face to face with Nature, to enjoy her sweetest and most
beneficent influence.



    When I was a beggarly boy,
      And lived in a cellar damp,
    I had not a friend nor a toy,
      But I had Aladdin's lamp;
    When I could not sleep for cold,
      I had fire enough in my brain,
    And builded, with roofs of gold,
      My beautiful castles in Spain!



Ragged, dirty, and unkempt; untrained in all the pretty graces of
refinement; deprived of all the fostering care of the home, how can the
children of the street afford the artist any subjects for his canvas?
Because, in spite of deprivation and poverty, they possess the
imperishable treasure of a happy heart; and happiness is the true secret
of the beauty of childhood. The child's buoyant vitality is proof
against any disadvantages in his external surroundings; for his horizon
is limited to the present. Yesterday's hunger is quickly forgotten in
to-day's plenty; the fatigue of the morning's toil vanishes in the
evening's frolic; even the wounds of a cruel blow are readily healed by
a friendly word. Unconscious of any disparity between himself and
others, he is equally contented with his lot, whether his clothing be
velvet or rags, whether his play-ground be a royal park or the streets
of a great city.

The artistic possibilities of street material lay long undiscovered
through the first centuries of the Art Renaissance, when the subjects
were chiefly religious and mythological. It is then to Murillo and his
matchless pictures of the beggar boys of Seville that we may attribute
the real origin of this department of _genre_ painting. Murillo had
himself known something of poverty and homelessness. Left an orphan at
the age of eleven, he was thrown entirely upon his own resources at
nineteen, his equipment for life being a few years' apprenticeship in
the studio of his uncle, Juan del Castillo. In the years of hard work
that followed, he laid the foundations of a career destined to be one of
the most notable in the history of art.

[Illustration: BEGGAR BOYS.--MURILLO.]

There was held one day every week, in a large public square of Seville,
an open-air market called the _Feria_, at which meat and fish, fruit and
vegetables, old clothes and old iron, were heaped upon stalls or piled
upon the pavement for the examination of customers. Last but not least
of all the commodities here displayed were paintings, offered for sale
by the artists themselves, who were supplied with brushes and colors to
adapt the details to the purchasers' taste. It may be imagined that
these pictures of the _Feria_ were not works of high art, nor was there
much stimulus to artistic talent in their production. Nevertheless, it
was in this business that the young Murillo began his career; and it
was in this way, doubtless, that he came to observe closely, and to
store up in his artist's memory the picturesque effects among the
children who swarmed in the sunny square. Perfect types of glowing
health were these nut-brown sons and daughters of Andalusia, enjoying
life with the indolence and simple merriment characteristic of a
southern race. It was Murillo's delight to portray them in their
happiest moods. Sometimes they are playing games on the pavement, as in
the Dice Players; again, they are feasting upon the luscious native
fruits, as in the celebrated pictures of the Munich Gallery. With what
delicious enjoyment do the little vagabonds poise above their open
mouths a cluster of purple grapes or a slice of rich melon! Their ragged
garments scarcely suffice to cover them; their arms and legs are bare;
their abundant dark curls have known no combing, and they are
undeniably dirty. And yet they are perfectly charming. The rich tints of
their sunburned skin; the dark liquid eyes of the Spanish race; the
beautiful curves of their plump necks and shoulders; the free grace of
their attitudes,--all combine to make them picturesque and attractive.

The dirt is rendered with an unsparing realism which, in a few
instances, is carried beyond the limits of good taste. Such is the case
with El Piojoso of the Louvre, which represents a little beggar removing
vermin from his body, and which Mr. Ruskin has severely denounced.
Another picture in Munich, and one at St. Petersburg, belong to the same
class; but these may be considered exceptions to the rule. The general
statement holds true, that the real _motif_ of Murillo's beggar-boy
pictures is the simple, natural enjoyment which may render attractive,
and even beautiful, the most unlovely surroundings.

The artist shows a fine insight into human nature in his appreciation of
the companionship between the street boy and the small dog. The famous
Beggar-boy of the Hermitage Gallery at St. Petersburg is a capital
example. The boy, standing by a wall, with a basket of fruit in his
hand, turns to smile at his dog, with a perfect expression of good
comradeship. In several other paintings, where the boys are eating, a
little dog stands by, watching the tempting morsels enviously, with the
hope of getting a share in due time.

England is especially rich in examples of Murillo's street scenes.
Besides the well-known picture in the National Gallery, there are three
fine works at Dulwich College,[15] and many others scattered through the
galleries of private collectors. This fact may be the reason that
Murillo was first popularly known in England for this class of
subjects, rather than for his religious art.

One of Murillo's most ardent admirers among modern English artists is
Mrs. Henry M. Stanley, first known in the art world as Dorothy Tennant.
She gayly avers that the most interesting object to her, when as a small
girl she was taken for her daily walk, was "some dear little child in
tatters." The small young lady's interest in street children was
something more than philanthropic; it was intensely artistic. As soon as
she could wield a pencil, she began to make ragamuffin pictures, and to
dream of a career as the "champion painter of the poor." Gifted with a
keen sense of humor, she was quick to see the happy side of a life whose
exterior is apparently one of misery; and it was this side which she
determined to portray. Murillo's happy beggar boys were her ideal;
Hogarth's work also commanded her admiration. Following in the
footsteps of these great predecessors, she sought for her models "the
merry, reckless, happy-go-lucky urchin; the tomboy girl; and the plump,
untidy mother, dancing and tossing her ragged baby."

Such subjects would naturally be more difficult to find in London than
in Seville; and one could not walk about the streets of the bleak
northern metropolis without seeing many little waifs whose pitiable
condition contrasts sadly with the jocund poverty of Murillo's
Andalusian beggars. Thus it is that, in spite of the most cheerful
intentions, Mrs. Stanley has often produced pictures full of pathos. The
wan little violinist, sitting on the edge of his poor bed, and clasping
his sister in his arms, is a sad little figure. Another picture, that
brings tears of sympathy to our eyes, is the hungry-looking boy, also
a violinist, gazing wistfully into the window of a pastry-cook's, where
a placard proclaims that hot dinners are five-pence. Equally pathetic is
a scene inside the same shop, where a little waif is held, fainting, in
the arms of the proprietor, while other children gather round to see.


It is a relief to turn from these to the subjects which are the artist's
most characteristic field, and to enjoy with her the romps and pranks of
the street Arabs. A clever picture of this class is the big boy using a
smaller one as a wheelbarrow, the small boy's arms supporting the
machine, and his legs furnishing the handles. Of kindred nature is a
sort of double pick-a-back, or pyramid, in which three ragged urchins
are enjoying themselves hugely in the attempt to carry out so remarkable
a feat. In the line of gymnastics, also, is the really admirable
painting exhibited at the New Gallery in 1890, which portrays three
delicious youngsters turning somersaults over a rail, while a little
girl at each end looks on admiringly. The original of the little chap
hanging head downward may have been the "Boy Taylor," of dragon fame, of
whom the artist writes in her "Street Arabs." Having once figured in a
circus as a green demon, or dragon, his experience made him very quick
at catching attitudes; and, proud of his powers of endurance, he begged
Mrs. Stanley to paint him standing on his head, assuring her that he
preferred that position to any other!

Larger pictures of merry street life are a company of young people
dancing to the music of a hand-organ, a group of children playing
blind-man's buff, and so many others that the description would become
tiresome. Many of these were made to illustrate children's stories in
"Little Folks" and the "Quiver," while others adorn the collections of
fortunate possessors. All of them illustrate admirably the artist's firm
conviction that "no ragamuffin is ever common or vulgar."

The sympathetic interest and enthusiasm which Mrs. Stanley has shown for
the London street Arab finds an interesting parallel in the work of
Marie Bashkirtseff. Though Russian by birth, Mademoiselle Bashkirtseff
passed the greater part of her short life in France, and, belonging to a
wealthy and distinguished family, was educated amidst all the luxuries
and gayeties of fashionable Parisian life. But the girl's indomitable
spirit was not to be hindered by the bonds of social restraint, and she
devoted herself to art with an almost passionate intensity. Struggling
constantly against the inroads of a fatal disease, and cut down on the
very threshold of life, she produced but few works to show to the world
what heights she was capable of attaining. Of these, the two which rank
first, and which are best known to her admirers, are studies of the
Paris _gamin_.

Jean and Jacques was exhibited at the Salon of 1883, and not only won
the high praise of many eminent artists, but also received "honorable
mention" from the committee. The picture is described in the artist's
journal as "two little boys, who are walking along the pavement, holding
each other by the hand; the elder, a boy of seven, holds a leaf between
his teeth, and looks straight before him into space; the other, a couple
of years younger, has one hand thrust into the pocket of his little
trousers, and is regarding the passers-by."

Scarcely had this picture been completed, when another street scene
suddenly flashed upon the imagination of the ambitious young painter,
and she straightway set to work upon it. The result was The Meeting,
exhibited at the Salon of 1884. It represents a group of six boys,
standing at a street corner, engaged in plotting some mischief. From
the oldest, a school-boy of twelve, to the little fellow in a pinafore,
they are intent, eager, alert; absorbed in the scheme which they are
discussing. They have sometimes been criticised for being ugly; but as
the artist wittily says, "One does not see such miracles of beauty among
the little boys who run about the streets," and the models were chosen
for the _expressiveness_ of their faces.

The painting met with instantaneous approval, not only from eminent
artists, but from the public, whose judgment on such subjects is even
more conclusive. All the leading periodicals obtained permission to
engrave it, and it became the talk of the hour. The signature, "M.
Bashkirtseff," left the sex of the artist an open question, and there
were those who could not believe that it was the work of a woman, and
a young one at that.


Mademoiselle Bashkirtseff found great amusement in visiting the
exhibition, watching the people look at her picture, and laughing in
her sleeve to imagine their amazement should they know that the
elegantly dressed young lady sitting near it was the artist.

The sequel is full of pathos. In spite of all the praises heaped upon
it, The Meeting did not receive a medal. To the ambitious young girl the
disappointment was most humiliating, and with characteristic sincerity
she did not try to conceal her indignation and chagrin. Justice came at
last, but all too late. When the bright young hopes were stilled in the
quiet of death, the picture was honored with a place in the Luxembourg,
where it hangs to-day, an admirable representation of that most
interesting genus, the Paris _gamin_.

The American street boy is a distinct type: his ambition is to rise in
the world. Wealth, fame, and power may be his, if he will but labor to
attain them, and to this end he throws himself ardently into the
building of a career. For a certain portion of the day he is a man of
affairs. Dashing through the net-work of wheels, in the thickest traffic
of crowded thoroughfares, jumping on and off moving cars and carriages,
pushing his way with untiring zeal, he shows a reckless daring and a
dauntless energy which are unmatched among any other people. His duties
done, he is a gentleman of leisure. He may amuse himself now as he
pleases, and his recreations show the same versatility displayed in his
business enterprises. Possessed of a lively imagination and a keen sense
of humor, he is never at a loss for a source of fun. He is as generous
as he is mischievous, always willing to share his good things with his
companions. Altogether, he is an interesting and attractive figure, and
it is no wonder that he has long since made his appearance on the


Probably the most conspicuous painter of American street subjects is
John George Brown, of New York. A resident of this city for more than
forty years, Mr. Brown has made it his life-work to study the character
and customs of the poorer classes of children. Newsboys and boot-blacks
are his special friends, and among them he finds many fine examples of
the best characteristics of human nature.

The Wounded Playfellow shows how easily the street boy's sympathies are
touched by the suffering of an animal. A little urchin carefully holds a
dog in his arms, while another deftly binds a bandage about the poor
creature's broken leg. A third boy and a small girl are the interested
spectators. The intense and eager interest with which the entire group
regard the operation is admirably portrayed.

The natural bent of Young America towards politics and oratory is seen
in the Stump Speech, an oil painting which was exhibited at the
Columbian Exposition.

Mr. Brown uses water colors, as well as oils, for a medium of
expression, being the president of the Water Color Society, which he
helped to found. An example of this kind of work is his picture called
"Free from Care." A bright-faced boot-black stands leaning against a
wall, with one thumb thrust in his trousers pocket, and a general air of
having thrown aside business responsibility for a good time.

Equally "free from care," and happy in this privilege, is the boy,
seated on a box, blowing soap-bubbles. His simple delight in this
innocent pastime, and the almost dreamy look with which he watches the
fairy bubble, show a hitherto unsuspected vein of poetry in the
street-boy nature.

The boot-black appears ordinarily in the most prosaic light, as a
practical individual, whose chief concern is the struggle for daily
bread. But this is only half the truth. Under his rough exterior he
hides a heart keenly responsive to beauty. His youthful imagination is,
in Lowell's happy phrase, a veritable Aladdin's lamp, with which he
transforms the meagreness of his surroundings into the splendid luxuries
of a castle in Spain.



    He shall give his angels charge over thee,
    To keep thee in all thy ways.
    They shall bear thee up in their hands,
    Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
                                 PSALM XCI.



To represent the perfect innocence and purity of an angel, a being whose
native atmosphere is the very presence of God, a creature not subject to
the limitations of physical laws, ever speeding on divine errands from
heaven to earth and back again to heaven, nothing could be more natural
than that art should use the face and form of innocent human childhood.

Child-angels were first seen in art during the Italian Renaissance, and
formed a conspicuous feature in the religious paintings of the period.
One of the most interesting and beautiful forms in which they appear is
as a great host, or "glory," filling the background of a composition.

From the announcement of the Saviour's birth to the Galilean shepherds,
to the vision of Saint John on the Isle of Patmos, we find various
allusions in the New Testament to the presence of angel companies in the
affairs of human life. It was therefore entirely legitimate and
appropriate to introduce a visible embodiment of the heavenly hosts into
the many sacred scenes portrayed in art, whether these were
representations of the actual incidents of Bible history, or the
imaginative embodiments of religious ideals.

The Sistine Madonna suggests itself at once as a most beautiful
illustration. The entire canvas is studded with tiny child faces,
delicately outlined,--a veritable cloud of witnesses, dissolving into
the golden glory with which they are surrounded. What a contrast is the
exquisite spirituality of this conception to Perugino's angel glories,
where baby faces, each with six many-hued wings are ranged at regular
intervals throughout the composition!

A less notable example of Raphael's unique treatment of the angel host
is in his Vision of Ezekiel, a small painting of earlier date than the
Sistine Madonna. Here the idea is manifestly drawn from the prophet's
description of his vision of the four living creatures in a great amber
wheel, which was "full of eyes."

Turning from Raphael's clouds of dimly suggested cherub faces to those
representations of the angel throngs in which the child forms are more
distinctly delineated, we find that the great masters have made use of
the myriad figures to express a corresponding variety in mood and
character. Thus, when the emotions of the principal personage in a
composition are too complex to be adequately expressed on a single
countenance, the angel faces surrounding may each, in turn, convey some
one of the many aspects of thought or feeling which go to make up the
entire conception.

The Crucifixion[16] is a striking instance of the mingling, of
contrasted emotions,--bodily suffering and spiritual victory, worldly
defeat and heavenly triumph,--all of which cannot be depicted on the
face of the Christ, but which a throng of attendant cherubs may fully
interpret. The same principle is illustrated in the many scenes of which
the Madonna is the central figure, as the Immaculate Conception, the
Assumption, and the Coronation.


Of such paintings, Titian's Assumption is the most splendid example.
The ascending, Virgin is surrounded by a wreath of child-angels, of
surpassing grace and beauty. It is of these that Mrs. Jameson has
written, in her incomparable way, that they are "mind and music and
love, kneaded, as it were, into form and color." From a compositional
point of view they serve an important purpose in directing the attention
of the spectator to the principal figure of the picture. All the
gracefully intertwined limbs of the angelic host--outstretched arms and
floating figures,--form the radii of a great semicircle centering in the
beautiful Madonna.

If Titian's child-angels stand for the highest attainment in the
idealization of child beauty, those of Rubens, on the other hand, are
the most human and lovable ever conceived in art. Their lovely baby
forms cluster in countless numbers about the glorified Virgin, joyously
bearing palm and wreath in token of her triumph.

The name of Murillo also occupies the first rank in the delineation of
companies of child-angels. Called in turn the Titian and the Rubens of
Spain, he is like his Venetian and Flemish prototypes in his intense
sympathy for childhood. His angels have not that transcendent
superiority to mortals which distinguishes Titian's, nor are they the
dimpled bits of pink-and-white babyhood characteristic of Rubens. They
belong somewhere between the two extremes, and are remarkable for their
innocence and purity of expression. As the Immaculate Conception was
Murillo's favorite subject, it is here that we see his child-angels at
their best. He has also introduced them into the Holy Family of Seville,
as well as into that most wonderful painting of the Christ-child
Appearing to Saint Anthony of Padua.

A beautiful method of introducing child-angels into religious pictures,
differing widely from the treatment of angel hosts, is to represent
one[17] or two, sometimes three, in attendance upon the Madonna and
Babe, or the Christ. This is especially appropriate where the subject is
treated devotionally, and the central figure is elevated on a throne or
pedestal, with the angels at the foot.

Among the Florentine artists, the two friends Raphael and Bartolommeo,
as well as their contemporary, Andrea del Sarto, furnish many examples
of these angel attendants. With Andrea del Sarto, as was characteristic,
they are bewitching winged boys; while with Bartolommeo and Raphael they
partake of a more delicate spirituality, which marks them as truly

The Madonna of the Harpies, which is considered the masterpiece of
Andrea del Sarto, contains two charming cherubs, which may be taken as
excellent types of the artist's rendering of these subjects. The Two
Angels, from his great painting of the Four Saints, are somewhat above
his average plane. These lovely and graceful figures originally stood in
the centre of a large composition, but were at a later date removed from
the canvas to make a separate picture. Their real significance is to
show forth the beauty of a saintly life. Each carries a scroll, and one
points upward.

In the work of Bartolommeo the finest cherubs are those of his Throne
Madonna, the Madonna Enthroned, and the Risen Christ. All three show the
same masterly hand, and express a similar conception of the office
filled by the angels. In every case one is looking up with a rapt
expression of joy, while the other is more contemplative, drooping the
head as if in reflection. The contrast suggests the distinction of
early theology between the seraphim and cherubim, the former being,
according to etymological significance, the spirits who love and adore,
and the latter, those who know and worship. This distinction was
scrupulously adhered to in early art by representing the seraphim as
red, and the cherubim as blue. Although later artists no longer observed
any discrimination between two classes of celestial beings, it may be
that the difference between Bartolommeo's two angels is due to the
influence of this idea. Be this as it may, the fact remains that the
opposition between them in face and attitude is exactly appropriate to
symbolize one as love and the other as reflection.

This is very marked in Raphael's work, as may be seen in his Madonna del
Baldacchino, a painting whose style of composition is strikingly like
that of Bartolommeo. Of the two singing angels at the foot of the
Madonna's throne, one studies eagerly the meaning of his music, while
the other sings with the happy unconsciousness of a bird. Comparing with
this Raphael's grandest achievement, the Sistine Madonna, we find the
same _motif_ carried to its highest realization. The two beautiful
cherubs who lean upon the parapet at the bottom of the picture are
perfect impersonations of the serene content and the thoughtful
deliberation with which varying types of Christian believers have
received the great fact of the Incarnation.

The Venetian painters delighted to put musical instruments into the
hands of their child-angels, representing them as choristers, hymning
the praises of the infant Saviour. Of these, many notable examples were
produced in the _botteghe_ of the two rival artist families, the Bellini
and the Vivarini. Jacopo Bellini and his two sons, Gentile and
Giovanni, were the real founders of the Venetian school, and the work of
Giovanni became an ideal standard, which his contemporaries essayed to
follow. Luigi Vivarini was so successful as his imitator that his
paintings are often incorrectly assigned to the greater artist.

[Illustration: PIPING ANGEL.--BELLINI.]

The Frari Madonna, however, is an undoubted Bellini, and here the
Venetian conception of the child-angel is seen in its loveliest aspects.
Two eager little choristers stand on the lower steps of the Madonna's
throne, "exquisite courtiers of the Infant King," as Mrs. Oliphant
gracefully calls them. One, myrtle-crowned, is blowing on a pipe, while
the other bends gravely over a large lute.

The Madonna of the Church of the Redentore[18] shows another pair of
angel musicians, sitting on a low wall in the foreground, one at the
head and the other at the feet of the sleeping Babe. Both are playing
on lutes, and the serious, absorbed air with which they fulfil their
task is delightful to see. With lifted face and faraway eyes, they seem
to be listening to a heavenly chorus, of which their own melody is an

Any mention of the Venetian type of angels would be incomplete without
adding the names of Palma Vecchio and Carpaccio to the list of those who
most delicately interpreted the subject. Examples of their work are
scattered over Northern Italy, but none perhaps are more representative
than Carpaccio's Presentation, in the Academy at Venice, and Palma's
altar-piece at Zerman.


The child-angel as a playmate and companion of the Christ-child is a
conception which has not infrequently been represented in art with great
appropriateness. Both Van Dyck and Lucas Cranach have given us the
Repose in Egypt, enlivened by the presence of a company of frolicsome
cherubs sporting about the Divine Babe. Rubens painted a lovely group of
the Infant Jesus and Saint John, seated on the ground, playing with
their celestial little visitors. A Holy Family, by Ippolito Andreasi,
represents angel children gathering and bringing grapes to the Saviour.

With a small circle of Florentine artists, led by Botticelli, and
including Filippo Lippi and Filippino Lippi, a unique class of
child-angels is in great favor. These are children of a larger growth
and maturer appearance than the infantine cherubs of contemporary
artists, and might properly be called angel-youths. In the best examples
their expression is an admirable mingling of strength and purity. As
attendants to the Christ-child, they serve in various capacities with
loving and reverent grace.

In Botticelli's famous "round Madonna" of the Uffizi, one holds the ink
vessel into which the Virgin dips her pen as she writes the Magnificat,
two others hold a starry crown over her head, and two more complete the
group, as companions of the Saviour. In the Holy Family, by the same
artist, only two angels are introduced, one of whom leans over a
balustrade, with a beautiful lily-stalk in his hand, in token of the
Virgin's purity.

Filippo Lippi's charming rendering of angel-youths is best seen in the
picture which represents the Christ-child borne by two attendant cherubs
in exemplification of the psalmist's words, "They shall bear thee up in
their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." The Madonna
stands before the Divine Babe, with hands clasped in adoration, a lovely
impersonation of the Madre Pia.


The Madre Pia is also the subject of one of Filippino Lippi's most
exquisite angel pictures. The Infant Saviour lies on the ground, in a
garden, while his mother kneels to adore him. Angel-youths surround him,
kneeling, and one stands showering rose-petals down upon him.

The masterpiece of Filippino Lippi is the Vision of Saint Bernard, in
the Badia at Florence, and here again angel-youths are introduced with
charming effect. Two are in the rear, with hands clasped in adoration;
two are beside the Virgin, bearing the weight of her mantle, and raising
their earnest young faces with sweet reverence. One of these faces is
presented in profile, and has a delicately cut, pure outline, of rare
gentleness and beauty.

The artist's ideal is wonderfully helpful to the imagination, and the
thought is full of comfort, that it is loving and tender presences like
these which are "in charge over us, to keep us in all our ways."



     And the Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom:
     and the grace of God was upon him.

                                      LUKE ii. 40.



Among the innumerable pictures in which the world's great religious
painters have represented the scenes of the earthly life of our Lord, it
is amazing to note the large proportion of subjects relating to his
infancy and childhood. What else can this mean than that the hearts of
worshippers ever yearn towards that which they can understand and love,
and that thus, of all the varied aspects of Christ's character, it
appeals to us most forcibly that He was once a babe in the Bethlehem

To find the earliest delineations of the Christ-child we must go to
the Catacombs of Rome, and on the walls of their strange subterranean
chapels retrace the fading features of the Divine Babe as painted there
centuries ago to cheer the hearts of Christians. Two of these primitive
frescos are in the Greek chapel of the Catacomb of S. Praxedes,[19]
where they are a constant object of interest to the art pilgrim.
Considered æsthetically, they have of course no intrinsic beauty; but
to the thoughtful mind they stand for the beginnings of a great art
movement which culminated in the canvases of Raphael and Titian.

From the frescos of the Catacombs the next step in the progress of
Christian art was to the mosaics ornamenting the basilicas; and here the
Christ-child again appears as a conspicuous figure. Some of the most
interesting of these mosaics[20] represent the Babe receiving the
gifts of the Magi,--as at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome and at Saint
Apollinare in Ravenna. In others, as at Capua, the Child shares with the
enthroned Virgin the adoration of a surrounding group of saints. Still
another of peculiar interest is at Santa Maria in Trastevere (Rome),
where the Infant is suckled at his mother's breast.

When we enter that strange period of history known as the Dark Ages,
we find the art products few and uninteresting; but even then the
Christ-child is not forgotten, and again and again he appears sculptured
in marble over the portals of cathedrals, or painted in stiff Byzantine
style over their altars.

Thus it was that in the new birth of art in Italy, when Niccolò Pisano
in sculpture, and Cimabue in painting, awakened the sleeping world to a
love of beauty, the Madonna, with her heaven-born Babe, was the first
subject to arouse enthusiasm; and it was for a picture of this sort
that all Florence went mad with joy, as it was borne along The Street
of Rejoicing.

In early representations, both in mosaics and paintings, the Child is
dressed in a tunic, white, red, or blue, often very richly ornamented
with gold embroidery. This method obtained as late as the fourteenth
century, when Fra Angelico still painted the Babe in the elaborate royal
garments of a king. But art at last returned to nature, and from the
fifteenth century the Holy Child was painted partially and sometimes
wholly undraped, with beautiful rounded limbs and soft pink baby flesh.

It was then that Italy was transformed into a paradise of art, and all
the important cities were full of great painters whose hearts were aglow
with the sacred fire of genius. In the host of beautiful works which
were produced in the next three centuries, every type of treatment was
exemplified, varying from the most simple naturalism to the loftiest
idealism. The naïve realism of Filippino Lippi's chubby baby, placidly
sucking his thumb as he looks out of the picture, is matched in the
frolicsome boys of Andrea del Sarto's many paintings, smiling
mischievously from the Madonna's arms. At the other extreme is the
strangely precocious looking child of Botticelli, raising his eyes
heavenward, with a mystic smile on his serious face.

And when it would seem that every conceivable type of infancy, and
every imaginable situation had already been realized on the canvas,
Raphael[21] arose to create an entirely new ideal. His life was so
short, his work so surpassingly brilliant, that it was as if a splendid
meteor suddenly flashed across the starry firmament of the Cinque-Cento.
Perugino, his master; Pinturicchio, his employer; Fra Bartolommeo, his
friend; Andrea del Sarto, "the faultless painter," all paled before his
rapidly increasing glory. When he laid down his brush at the age of
thirty-seven, he had finished a career which is one of the miracles of
history. His work is a complete epitome of religious art, including all
the great themes, and enveloping each with an atmosphere of pure
spirituality, indescribably elevating to mind and soul.

His conception of the Christ-child ranges from the sleeping Babe from
whose innocent face the Madonna of the Diadem softly lifts a veil, to
the grave boy whom the Chair Madonna clasps in her arms. Every shade of
playfulness, of affection, of dignity, and of contemplation, is mirrored
in the long series of pictures in which he embodied his ever-changing
ideal of the Divine Infant.


The magnificent versatility of his genius is admirably illustrated by
the contrast between two of his finest works,--the Madonna of the
Casa Tempi and the Madonna di San Sisto, standing the one for the human
aspect and the other for the divine, in the incarnation of the Son of
God. The first shows an ideal mother fondly pressing her darling's cheek
against her own; the second is a vision of ideal womanhood hastening
down the centuries to present the Word to the waiting world.

The Christ-child of the Tempi painting is a dimpled baby shyly nestling
against his mother's breast; the Sistine Child is a royal messenger
lightly enthroned upon the Madonna's arm. In one conception, Mother and
Son are absorbed entirely in each other; in the other, they think only
of their mission to humanity, their wide eyes searching the future with
far-seeing gaze, and their thoughts intent upon the coming of the
heavenly kingdom.

We can appreciate the Tempi Madonna at the first glance; the meaning of
the Sistine Madonna we can never fully reach, though to contemplate it
day by day is to feel our thoughts become purer and our aspirations

A feature of the child-life of Jesus upon which Raphael loved to dwell
is his companionship with his cousin John, a boy of nearly the same age,
whose destiny was indissolubly linked with the Christ. Following the
Gospel description of the Baptist when he came forth from the desert
"clothed with camel's hair and with a girdle of skin about his loins,"
the artist has represented the child John as a dark, faun-like boy, with
a little skin garment girt about him,--a picturesque figure to contrast
with the fair beauty of the Christ-child.

The two boys are most charming, when, as in the Madonna of the Pearl,
the little John seeks with childish eagerness to please his cousin.
Here he is running gleefully to Jesus, with his skin garment full of
newly gathered fruit. The Christ-child, seated on his grandmother's
knee, beside his mother, stretches out his hands for the gift, his face
shining with simple, child-like pleasure. At another time Saint John
brings a goldfinch to the Virgin's knee, and the two children lean
lovingly against her, Jesus turning his earnest eyes towards the bird,
which he thoughtfully strokes. A very pretty incident is embodied in the
Aldobrandini Madonna, where the Christ-child reaches from his mother's
arms to smilingly bestow a flower upon Saint John.

Other pictures introduce, more or less definitely, an element of
devotion on the part of the infant Baptist, as in the Madonna of the
Meadow, where he kneels to receive the cross from the hands of the
Christ-child. The devotional relation is still more marked in the Belle
Jardinière of the Louvre. In the Holy Family of Casa Canigiani, Jesus is
giving Saint John a banner with the words _Ecce Agnus Dei_.

The two boys, as the central figures of the Holy Family, have engaged
the brush of nearly every great religious painter, some producing
familiar and domestic scenes, others emphasizing the symbolic and
religious significance of the theme. Andrea del Sarto treated the
subject many times, and usually portrayed the children in a natural and
playful intimacy. Pinturicchio painted them running across a flowery
meadow to get water from a fountain. Guilio Romano has given us the
decidedly domestic scene of Jesus in the bath, with Saint John merrily
pouring water upon him. Sometimes, as in a lovely work by Angiolo
Bronzino, Saint John is affectionately kissing the sleeping Babe.

It was a beautiful thought on the part of some few artists,--notably
Palma Vecchio, Luini, and Murillo,--to introduce a lamb as a playmate
for the children, the suggestion having its origin in the Baptist's
description of Jesus as the "Lamb of God."

In Botticelli's Holy Family, Saint John stands by with clasped hands,
adoring the Infant. Perugino places him kneeling at a little distance in
the rear,--a perfect embodiment of childish devotion. In a painting by
Titian, also, he kneels apart, leaning on his cross, and in one by
Guido, he humbly kisses the Christ-child's foot.

In a lovely picture by Murillo, called the "Children of the Shell," he
kneels to drink from a cup which the little Jesus holds to his lips.
Here the contrast between the two is exquisitely rendered, both from
the artistic and the religious point of view, the Christ-child bearing
the unmistakable stamp of superiority, in spite of his childish figure,
while the infant John is a charming impersonation of reverent and loving

The religious spirit of the old masters has not been successfully
imitated by any modern artist who has attempted to delineate the Infant
Jesus and Saint John, nor is this to be expected. There are many
pleasing works of art, however, which, though differing widely from
early Italian standards, have an attractiveness of their own.

Such, for instance, is Boucher's painting, thoroughly characteristic of
the artist, and, when considered in itself, a very pretty thing. The two
plump babies are bewitching little figures, irresistibly lovable in
their dimpled beauty. Sweet cherub faces peep from the surrounding
clouds, regarding the holy children with wondering awe.


The figure of the Christ-child alone does not belong to the early
Renaissance, but by the seventeenth century, the subject had found favor
with Guido and Franceschini in Italy, and with Murillo and Zurbaran in
Spain. With all these artists it was a favorite custom to depict the
child Jesus asleep on the cross. Murillo's Infant Saviour, plaiting a
crown of thorns, also belongs to this class. These forms of symbolic
illustration have their modern counterpart in the work of several German
artists. As the Gospel narrative furnishes no actual incidents of the
early childhood of Jesus, he is shown in some attitude which will
suggest his divine calling. Painted by Ittenbach, he raises his right
hand to point the heavenward way, while with his left he indicates his
name inscribed in the letters I. H. S. on the breast of his tunic. In
Sinkel's picture he holds a tablet of the Commandments, with his finger
on the fourth, a sweet expression of Sabbath peace on his face.

Professor Deger's picture expresses a unique and lovely conception of
the Christ-child in the fields, communing with his Father, and preparing
for his ministry. He is a dreamy-looking boy, of delicate features, and
broad, high brow, with fair curls blowing away from his face. Though
alone, he lifts his hand in blessing, as if, in his prophetic
imagination, the meadows were already peopled with the throngs to whom
he is to teach the sweet lessons of the lilies and the sparrow.

[Illustration: THE CHRIST-CHILD.--DEGER.]

The childhood of Jesus came to an end at the age of twelve, when he
awoke to the realization that he must be "about his Father's business."
It was a great moment in the quiet life of the Nazarene lad. Mary and
Joseph having to make their annual journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the
Passover, had brought him with them, and allowed him to wander from
them. Supposing him to be among the company with which they were
travelling, they were well on their homeward way, when they discovered
that he was missing. Returning to the city, and seeking him hither and
thither, they at length found him in the temple, "sitting in the midst
of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all
that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers."

It was the latter part of this account which the early masters seized as
the _motif_ of the Dispute in the Temple, and interpreted as meaning
that the boy Christ assumed the position of teacher and preacher to the
doctors. In the paintings of Duccio and Giotto, he is sitting on a
platform, with the mien and gesture of a learned doctor; while other
artists place him on a sort of throne or pulpit. It was left to modern
art to conceive the true significance of the event, and to put before us
the eager boy, listening and asking questions.

Professor Heinrich Hofmann's beautiful picture shows a profound insight
into the wonderful childhood of Jesus, as well as a fine sense of
artistic composition. The boy stands in the midst of the group, lifting
his eager, inquiring face to the learned doctors surrounding him. His
expression conveys all the earnestness of his questionings, and at the
same time shows the depth of that power of understanding which so amazed
the listeners. Looking from his bright young face to the staid
countenances of the professed expounders of the law, a new light flashes
upon that mysterious utterance which fell in after times from the
same inspired lips: "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast
revealed them unto babes."


       *       *       *       *       *




[1] Of this picture, Claude Phillips justly observes that it
has been "not a little cheapened and obscured by frequent copies, in
which the delicate essence of the original has been allowed to
evaporate; but a glance at the picture itself renews the magic spell
of the master."

The plate for our illustration, being made from a photograph taken
directly from the original painting, reproduces the spirit of the
picture with remarkable fidelity.


[2] The children of the English court were not alone in the
good fortune of being immortalized by the brush of Van Dyck. The great
artist also painted a little Prince of Savoy, with his sister,--a
picture which is now in the Royal Gallery at Turin.

[3] A portrait of Prince Balthasar in court dress, by
Velasquez, is in the Belvedere at Vienna.

[4] Dr. Carl Justi has various strong arguments to prove that
the Prado portrait of Maria Theresa is incorrectly so called, and, in
reality, represents the Infanta Marguerite. The picture is, however,
widely accepted as a genuine Maria Theresa, and is catalogued as such by
Curtis. I have, therefore, thought best to follow the opinion of the
majority on this point.

[5] Titian painted a charming portrait of the Princess Strozzi,
which is now in Berlin.

[6] Holbein painted the little Prince Edward, afterwards Edward
VI., in two extant portraits,--one, a miniature, in the possession of
the Duke of Devonshire, another at Windsor.


[7] The dates of Gainsborough's life are 1727-1788.

[8] The two pictures for which Jack Hill served as model are
Jack Hill in a Cottage, and Jack Hill, with his Cat, in a Wood.

[9] Gainsborough was followed by several English artists
celebrated for their pictures of the child-life of the country. Of
these, the most notable were Sir David Wilkie and William Collins.
Wilkie's Blind-Man's Buff, and Collins's Happy as a King are
representative examples of their work.

[10] Jean Baptiste Greuze was born in 1725, and died in 1805.

[11] The Father Explaining the Bible to his Children is now in
the Dresden Gallery. Mrs. Stranahan, in her History of French Painting,
calls attention to the fact that the poet Robert Burns celebrates the
same scene in his Cotter's Saturday Night.

[12] The Village Bride, called in French, "L'Accordée du
Village," is in the Louvre, Paris.

[13] Although Greuze is usually spoken of as introducing a new
line of subjects into French art, it is fair to say that Chardin
(1699-1799) had already given the initiative. The Little Girl at
Breakfast, exhibited at the Salon of 1737, and Le Bénédicité, from the
Salon of 1740, are highly praised by Mrs. Stranahan for their
sympathetic treatment of domestic scenes in humble life.

[14] This description, which I have rendered somewhat freely
into English, is an extract from a letter addressed by Mademoiselle
Philipon to the Demoiselles Cannet.


[15] The three paintings by Murillo in the Dulwich Gallery, to
which reference is made, are:--

The Flower Girl, Two Boys and a Dog, and Three Boys,--one eating a tart.
The gallery also contains a religious painting by Murillo.


[16] The representation of the Crucifixion, with attendant
angels, is very frequent in Renaissance art. For examples among the
earlier painters, Duccio and Giotto may be mentioned, while in a later
period Luini and Gaudenzio adopted the same _motif_, with characteristic

[17] For examples of single child-angels, see Raphael's Madonna
di Foligno, in the Vatican at Rome, and Bartolommeo's Madonna and
Saints, in San Martino, Lucca.

[18] The Madonna of the Church of the Redentore is popularly
attributed to Bellini, but is more probably the work of Luigi Vivarini.
For arguments, see Crowe and Cavalcaselle, History of Painting in North
Italy, vol. i., pages 64 and 186.


[19] My authority on these frescos is Charles I. Hemans, who
states (page 70 of Ancient Christianity and Sacred Art) that "conjecture
has assumed antiquity as high as the first century" for some paintings
in the catacombs of S. Praxedes, but does not mention whether these are
of the number.

Van Dyke, in his Christ-child in Art (page 120), describes an
interesting third century fresco in the catacomb of SS. Marcellinus and
Peter, representing the Adoration of the Magi.

[20] The mosaics at Santa Maria Maggiore are assigned to the
fifth century; those at S. Apollinare Nuova, Ravenna, to the sixth
century. See Hemans, Ancient Christianity and Sacred Art.

For further descriptions of the mosaics at Capua and at Santa Maria in
Trastevere, Rome, see Mrs. Jameson's Legends of the Madonna. For an
engraving of the Virgin and Child in the Ravenna mosaic, see Van Dyke's
Christ-child in Art.

[21] The present location of all the works of Raphael mentioned
in this chapter may be seen in the following list:--

    Madonna of the Diadem, Louvre, Paris.
    Chair Madonna (Madonna della Sedia), Pitti, Florence.
    Madonna of the Casa Tempi, Munich.
    Sistine Madonna, Dresden.
    The Pearl, Madrid.
    Madonna of the Goldfinch (del Cardellino), Pitti, Florence.
    Aldobrandini Madonna, National Gallery, London.
    Madonna of the Meadow, Vienna.
    La Belle Jardinière, Louvre, Paris.
    Madonna of the Casa Canigiani, Munich.


 ALLAN CUNNINGHAM: Great English Painters.

 RICHARD REDGRAVE: A Century of Painters of the English School.

 NORTHCOTE: Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds.

 CLAUDE PHILLIPS: Sir Joshua Reynolds.

 HENRY PERCY HORNE: Catalogue of the Engraved Pictures of Gainsborough.

 WILLIAM HOOKHAM CARPENTER: Memoirs of Sir Anthony Van Dyck.

 STIRLING-MAXWELL: Annals of the Artists of Spain.

 CARL JUSTI: Velasquez and his Times (translated by Keane).

 STRANAHAN: History of French Painting.

 CH. NORMAND: Greuze. (In Series: Artistes Célèbres.)

 CROWE and CAVALCASELLE: History of Painting in
     Italy: History of Painting in North Italy.

 T. COLE (Engraver) and W. J. STILLMAN: Old Italian Masters.

 EUGENE MÜNTZ: Raphael: His Life, Works, and Times.

 MRS. ANNA JAMESON: Sacred and Legendary Art;
     Legends of the Madonna; History of Our Lord.

 CHARLES I. HEMANS: Ancient Christianity and Sacred Art;
     Mediæval Christianity and Sacred Art.

 HENRY VAN DYKE: The Christ-Child in Art.



 KARL KÁROLY: The Paintings of Florence.

 CHARLES L. EASTLAKE: Notes on the Pictures in the Louvre.

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