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Classification: Painting

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Image of Portrait of a Woman and Child

Anonymous Artist, American

Portrait of a Woman and Child

about 1825

Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American
36 1/8 in. x 32 in. (91.76 cm x 81.28 cm)
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Accession Number: 1941.0045

Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Isaac Monroe Cline

An artist whose identity remains unknown painted this early portrait of a mother and her young son. Today the artist would be classified as a traditional folk painter, an artist who was not formally trained. Judging from the woman’s attire—the high-waisted dress and elaborate lace collar and bonnet—and her hairstyle, the portrait probably dates to the 1820s or 1830s. At that time, little boys wore gowns or dresses, like the one depicted here, until they received their breeches between age four and six. The toy gun held by the child is a clear indication that he is male. As was typical of the style, the folk painter lavished considerable attention on the fine details of clothing and hairstyle, but the drapery and facial features are less expertly rendered.

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