Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mrs. Chase & Her Child

"I Am Going To See Grandma" by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Looking at paintings of children by 19th century Americans (and reproducing them here) seems like a sudden veering-off onto an artistic path I never venture near, as a rule. For one thing, I know next to nothing about pre-20th century American art (nor have I ever cared to know more). But now, twice in as many days, I found myself chancing across surviving visual evidence of the Cult of the Child as conducted in old New York. Suddenly there is this discovery (unanticipated and unsought) of genuine common contact with people whose culture always formerly seemed far more alien to me than the Baroque contortions of Papal Rome hundreds of years earlier.