Last fall I took my daughter to the Cummer Art Museum in Jacksonville for a mommy-daughter date. It's no secret that I love art and museums, but I didn't expect to have a child so interested in it as well, especially at 4 years old. I thought I would have to be one of those moms forcing my kids to be cultured and appreciate all forms of art. I've lucked out!
At the time I was thinking about expanding my gift shop and wanted to add portraits to my portfolio, but I wanted them to be different somehow. The art museum gave me exactly the inspiration I needed! I noticed that the way the children were dressed and the objects surrounding them were all symbols about the person/family. The artist used these symbols to give the painting more meaning beyond a simple likeness. They wanted to tell a story. Some symbols represented power and might, others death, wealth or innocence. I guess that prior to the 18th century, children were seen as miniature adults, and the paintings reflected them that way.
By the 18th century, attitudes towards childhood changed to a view that accepted children as children and the portraits started to reflect that. The children were dressed in more childlike clothing and pictured with toys or playing in nature. The middle class also started to commission portraits so there was a wider variety.
Here are some examples: (click on the photo for the source)
Already my children are so different! It's crazy to comprehend sometimes how fast they grow and change. If you would be interested in me documenting the story of your child, check out more information HERE or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. If you want to spend way too much time learning everything about the 18th century, check out this Pinterest board (https://www.pinterest.com/CeruleanHMC/). It's probably one of the coolest boards I've seen. It's like a visual encyclopedia of everything from jewelry to riding habits to shoes to daily life to Georgian dogs to home decor!