Children have always fascinated artists and Painting Childhood will explore some of the most iconic paintings of children produced over the past 500 years. Featuring stunning portraits, amusing genre scenes and touching ‘fancy pictures’, the book will examine both the creative process and the specifi c challenges posed by painting children: from how to capture the fleeting moments of youth to how to encourage young subjects to sit still.
Accompanying the exhibitions Painting Childhood: From Holbein to Freud and Childhood Now, the book will discuss a wealth of masterpieces from British collections by artists including Hans Holbein the Younger, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Steen, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Johan Zoff any and John Everett Millais.
These iconic paintings will be considered alongside the preparatory sketches that were made for them and the works that were made after them in an exploration of the creative process and the artistic ‘conversations’ that occurred throughout the centuries. Painting Childhood will also explore ‘intimate portraits’ – artist’s portrayals of their own children. Paintings, sketches and sculptures by Stanley Spencer, Louise Bourgeois, Jacob Epstein and Lucian Freud, among others, present highly personal insights into the place of
family within an artist’s life, and the ongoing dialogue between biography and creativity.
This theme extends to the present day, and the work of three contemporary figurative painters - Chantal Joffe, Mark Fairnington and Matthew Krishanu. Drawn to children as subjects, each of these London-based artists depict childhood in very diff erent ways. Together, they provide fresh perspectives on what constitutes childhood today and reaffirm the place of painting as a diverse and powerful artistic practice.