Art History: Grade 1 Lesson 4

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CHILDREN IN ART - Children & Pets


A pet can be a lot of fun, for children. It can be a source of endless entertainment. A bicycle or a doll house or almost any other toy is fun but a live animal is a treasure. There are difficulties with pets for children arid you must realize them if you want to own a pet. If a child tires of a toy, it can be set aside for a day or two or even a week, but if a pet is ignored, it can be quite harmful to both its health and to its feelings.

When parents agree to have a pet in their home, it is usually a family decision. Many things have to be discussed and resolved concerning the responsibilities of having a pet. Here is a list of things to consider:

1. What equipment will be needed for the pet? (leash, combs, brushes, cage, fish tank.)
2. If you want a cat or a dog, should it have a pedigree?
5. What will we feed it?
4. Where will it live?
5. How will we clean it?
6. How are responsibilities shared?
7. What to do if we go on vacation?

A pet is one of the first ways that children begin to learn about responsibilities, sharing and kindness to others.

There are lots of ideas to discuss with each print about the children and pets. One thing to mention is that many artists were paid to do portraits and often when the portraits were of children, their pet was included. Pets were and are often a part of the family arid holding a pet or sitting with a pet would be helpful for the artist because the child would not get so fidgety.

We might also mention that many of these portraits were done with the children in their best clothing. Sometimes children today might wear something special for school pictures or pictures with Santa Claus.

Besides talking about the pets and their owners, as you look at the prints, you can point out how some artists paint people solid and heavy while others show air, light and sun shimmering around them. Some make them quiet with Every detail clear. Others blur the detail to suggest movement. Some try to show what kind of people they are, even what they are thinking. Others are more interested in painting the clothes than, the people inside them.



  1. Child with a Dove, 1901, Pablo Picasso, Spanish (1881-1973), Reproduction print.
    A shepherd is a person who tends sheep, especially in a flock that is grazing. Little Shepherd is Pablo Picasso’s painting of a young boy holding a staff in his right hand with his left hand on the head of a lamb. In Child with a Dove, Picasso painted a young girl tenderly holding a dove to her chest. Picasso often painted children and often he painted his own children. He envied their lack of inhibitions and felt that through their eyes he could see everything in it differently. He felt that a child's world is made up of a mixture of fantasy and reality. Figuratively, a shepherd can also be a guide and a dove is the universal symbol for peace. Perhaps by painting these animals and children, the artist was expressing his own hopes for the future of  the world through its children.

    Pablo Picasso often made toys for his own children when they were small from bits of wood and rags around his studio. Sometimes he painted pictures arid glued them to the toys. He also drew picture stories to send to his children instead of letters when they were away. Although Picasso may have used one of his children as a model, these paintings were not meant to be portraits to tell us what the child looked like on the surface. Instead he paints clues to tell us about inside feelings, and what he thinks of children. 

    Look at the Child With A Dove. The expression on her face and the gentle way she holds the dove give us small insights into what is happening in the picture. Look at the lamb in Little Shepherd and notice how Picasso emphasizes its softness by eliminating lines and using light, pastel colors.


    bulletBiography of Picasso


  2. Don Manuel Osorio Manrique De Zuniga, 1784, Francisco Goya, oil on canvas, Spanish (1746-1828), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY Reproduction print.
    Something is about to happen in this painting. What do you know about the boy? He's not standing in front of an interesting background so you can't tell if he is at home or in a studio.

    Goya arranged this painting to make it seem as though the boy is in control of his pets. on one side of the boy are caged birds, and on the other is a bird on a string. But Goya shows us that the boy really isn't in control, because just behind him three cats stare wide-eyed at the bird.

    In a way, Goya left this painting unfinished - the scene has been set but you are left to imagine what will happen next.

    Sample story: 

    I wish I didn’t have to stand here, posing for this picture. I don’t like this stiff red suit. The lace scratches me and I feel silly. fancy. And I really am tired. And I’m so scared for my pet bird. The painter promised me the cats wont hurt her, but their eyes are beady and mean, and they inch closer each minute. They're right next to her now, ready to pounce. I really don't like this.

    The Painter, Senor Goya is nice, though. He’s a friend of Father. He's supposed to be very famous. He loves children, I think. They say he has lots of children of his own. (22) I know by the way he talks he likes me too. He says kind things and funny things to make me smile. All the same, I wish I didn’t have to stand here any longer.

    "Children in Art by Kate Sedgwick & Rebecca Frischkorn, Holt, Rinchart & Winston, NY"

    1. Talk about the word portrait.
    2. This is the sort of a wealthy man. How do you think he feels? What would you wear to have your portrait painted?
    5. Notice the dark background. The boy stands out because of the play of lights.
    4. Note that the larger bird is a magpie.
    5. Why did the artist add the cats? Notice the eyes of cats and the eyes of the boy.
    6. How many textures can you “feel” in this painting?
    7. Notice how the artist signed his name on the painting.

    Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes grew up in a small village in Spain. He came from a poor family who encouraged him in his art. He went to Madrid, the capital city when he was seventeen and continued to study art on a trip to Italy. The Italian masters inspired him to begin painting frescoes
    — pigment applied to wet plaster on the walls of churches. While Soya was working for the Royal Tapestry Manufactory as a designer, he also became a famous portrait painter. In 1789 Goya was appointed “painter to the royal chamber” and - the next year became the “first painter to the king.”


  3. Portrait of Miss Jane Bowles, c.1775, Sir Joshua Reynolds, English (1723-1792), 91cm x 71cm oil on canvas, The Wallace Collection, London, Reproduction print.
    Joshua Reynolds was born in Devon, England in 1723. He was one of the greatest English portrait painters. He trained in London and Rome and was influenced by such Old Masters as -- Raphael, Titian and Rubens. By the time he was thirty years old, he settled in London and was an immediate success. His portraits, in their classical allusions, appealed to the intellectuals and aristocrats of 18th century England. By 1775, when Portrait of Miss Bowles was painted, he had a hundred sitters a year and began to employ studio help. From this time on most of Reynolds portraits were largely
    executed by assistants. by 1760, the number of sitters had risen to 150 a year and Reynolds raised his prices simply to reduce the volume of business. He nevertheless had to raise them again in 1764 and was to do so once more before the end of his life.

    He was the first president of the Royal Academy of the Arts. In 1784 he was made painter to the king of England. He was also a writer and helped to found the Literary Club, along with the famous British author Dr. Samuel Johnson. He lived most of his life in London and died there in 1792.

    Portrait of Miss Bowles is a charming example of the style of formal children’s portraits so popular during that time. British artists of the 18th century loved to paint the children of nobility, clean, well dressed with rosy cheeks - and shining eyes.

    The perfect world would result if children could be allowed to grow up naturally (Rousseau). To emphasize their closeness to nature, children were painted sitting on the ground, usually under a tree. It was naturalness of angelic innocence. Individual likeness was unimportant - rather a likeness of the ideal childhood. Colonists sent verbal descriptions for portraits and were satisfied if the eyes in the perfect face were the correct color. 

    Notice lights and dark again. Shining eyes - red cheeks - (what else in the picture helps us notice the color of her eyes?) Where is she sitting? Dark woods - children close to nature.

    bulletThe Wallace Collection, London

  4. Madame Charpentier and Her Children, 1878, Pierre August Renoir, French (1841-1919), oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY Reproduction print.

    Sample story:
    “Mummy, Mummy, Mr. Renoir is in the salon and is ready to paint us. Please, can my dog Bozo be painted too?” Georgette pleaded.
    “You must ask Mr. Renoir,” replied Madame Charpentier. “He needs quiet when he is painting portraits.”
    “Mr. Renoir, if Bozo is very still, can I sit upon his back?” Georgette asked.
    Renoir laughed. "But what if Paul wants to sit on Bozo too? You can't both sit there!" he said.
    “Oh, he won’t. He wants to sit next to Mummy. I think he's afraid of your long beard."
    "Well, well.” he chuckled. "Now I know why your mother wrote only last week asking me to have it trimmed."
    Paul blushed. "Mr. Renoir, are you our uncle?" he asked.
    “No, a devoted friend of your father's, " replied Renoir. "I met him when I was trying to sell my paintings on the sidewalk. I needed money to pay my rent. George, your father, bought a scene of Paris. He liked my work and invited me to visit him and to be introduced to other artists and poets. Now he has asked me to paint you, your brother, and your lovely mother. This will help me because monsieur Charpentier will show this painting to his friends. I hope they will like it and ask me to paint their families.”
    Mr. Renoir’s hope came true. After painting Madame Charpentier and Her Children he received many commissions to paint women and children. These paintings helped him to become famous as a formal portrait painter.

    Children in Art by Kate Sedgwick and Rebecca Frischkorn, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, NY.

    Pierre-Auguste Renoir was working in a Paris porcelain factory at the age of thirteen. The careful painting on porcelain prepared him to paint the lovely faces of women or children who wanted portraits done. He helped develop a style of painting called Impressionism. He tried to paint what the eye sees at first glance. He was also a famous sculptor.

    How does this painting show wealth and elegance?
    Where is the black and white of Madame Charpentier's dress repeated?
    Notice how the curves draw your eyes around the painting. Except for the faces, the remainder of the painting has a fuzzy, casual appearance.

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