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Hans Holbein the Younger, Edward VI as a Child, probably 1538, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Andrew W. Mellon Collection, 1937.1.64

Gallery Talks

Words and Images: Readings on Art 2020

Picturing Childhood, From Clouet to Cassatt

  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • West Building Lecture Hall

This talk will explore what representations of childhood in the Gallery’s collection can teach us about how children were raised, educated, and viewed throughout modern history. Using artworks ranging from François Clouet’s A Lady in Her Bath (c. 1571) to Mary Cassatt’s The Boating Party (1893/4), we will trace representations of children and examine changing ideas about the nature and meaning of childhood in contemporary texts and recent scholarship.

Elisabeth Narkin, lecturer

Suggested Readings

Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life by Philippe Ariès, Chapter 2, “The Discovery of Childhood.”

Emile Or, On Education by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Translated by Barbara Foxley, Book 1, p. 21-28 and 34-36.

Impressionist Children: Childhood, Family, and Modern Identity in French Art by Greg M. Thomas, excerpts from Chapter 1, p. 13-31.