Exhibitions: Great Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children

About 1890, the years bridging childhood and adulthood were subjected to intense study in the United States and Europe. It was believed not only that adolescence was a period of physical transformation but that it was also an evolutionary stage in human consciousness that paralleled the phases in the development of the species itself. The sudden attention given to adolescence was attributable partly to the “lengthening” of childhood brought about by the growing number of labor and education laws, which tended to delay the financial and social independence of young people (or at least those from largely middle- and upper-class urban families).

Next: Genre Painting
Previous: Mothers and Children