Either the child is completely naked, as in Mignard's portrait of the Comte de Toulouse, where his nudity is scarcely veiled by the loop of a ribbon which has come undone for the occasion, or in Larguilliere's portrait of a child holding a billhook; or else he is dressed not in a real costume similar to the clothes generally worn at the time but in a negligee which fails to cover his nudity and indeed often reveals it: witness the children's portraits by Belle in which the legs and feet are bare, or Mignard's Duc de Bourgogne, dressed in nothing but a flimsy shift. There is no need to follow any further the history of this theme, which by now had become conventional. It can be found again at its conclusion in the family albums and studio photographers' shop windows of yesterday: babies baring their little bottoms just for the pose - for they were normally carefully covered, swaddled or breeched - and little boys and girls who were dressed for the occasion in nothing but a pretty transparent shift. There was not a single child whose likeness was not preserved in a nude study, directly inherited from the putti of the Renaissance: a remarkable example of the persistence in the collective taste (bourgeois as much as lower-class) of a theme which was originally ornamental The Eros of antiquity, rediscovered in the fifteenth century, went on serving as a model for the 'artistic portraits' of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
About Speaker: Ms Neha Sharma is research scholar at ARIES and working in the field of Astronomy for her PhD under supervision of Dr Maheswar Gopinathan. This is her thesis Pre-submission talk.
Aries (1975): The 20th Century has become the ‘Age of the child’ i.e
As evidence he cites art work. There are no children. There are babies. But, what we call children do not exist. Little adults are there. The musculature, dress, expressions, and mannerisms are all adult. An interesting footnote: For years art historians explained this embarrassing fact by suggesting that the artists lacked the skill to paint children. Consider how silly this well received argument was. The same artists had ample skill to paint adults, but they couldn't paint kids. Aries suggests another explanation, the one generally accepted today, namely that they couldn't paint young people as children because they were not children. In their cultures they were little adults, and this is precisely what the artists saw. Childhood is a later historical creation.
The fight over when childhood began. - Slate Magazine
Aries does not claim there were no young people. Not even a Frenchman would try a claim as bold as that. Rather, while there were an abundance of young humans between the ages of 7 and 15, they were not seen as children. Their cultures lacked the concept of childhood. In the Medieval world a young person of 7 was already an adult. (Recall that in Roman Catholic theology 7 is the age of reason, the age when one could begin to commit serious sin. This is an argument which Aries overlooked). Aries points out that most young people were apprenticed, became workers in the fields (later, after the industrial revolution, in the factories) and generally entered fully into the adult society at a very early age.
Centuries of Childhood - Wikipedia
Suppose that Aries is right about all of this. What difference does it make? What hangs on it? I want to look briefly at two of these implications.
Childhood through the ages - SlideShare
I believe there is no natural in all of this. People are as society treats them. To the extent that this is so, much hangs on Aries' thesis. We live in a society which assumes that children really are children by NATURE. I argue that children of the 20th century really are children, but that they are children by our CHOICE.