The World of Children
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Many images of children can be found in European paintings from antiquity onward.
Religious works depict the Mother and Child, or children as angels, a symbol of salvation. Members of the royal and aristocratic houses of Europe also commissioned portraits of their children. Then, with the coming of the modern age, the subject of children became a new and focused theme for painters. With the collapse of aristocratic society, members of the citizenry and working classes rose to power. After creating images of children as important members of the family, painters were often called upon to create images of a prosperous household, with children playing and enjoying themselves in a blessed family life. The Impressionist painters of the 19th century, including Monet and Renoir, developed a method for depicting the beauty and life of nature as seen beneath bright
sunlight, and they also turned their gentle gaze upon the activities of children. From the end of the 19th century through the 20th century, painters such as Bonnard, Picasso, and Foujita all pursued the potential for expression found in the subject of children.