Portrait of a Young Child
Artist/maker unknown, American
Portraits of children became more popular during the first half of the nineteenth century, reflecting changing attitudes toward childhood. Because of high child mortality rates, many of the portraits were painted posthumously. Whether this example falls into that category is unknown as it contains none of the usual visual clues, such as drooping roses, morning glories, or boats sailing off into the distance. Because children of this period dressed alike until about the age of six, it is only the hairstyle-with its side part and little flip in the back-that identifies the subject as a boy.