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Idyllic Childhood or Idle Girls

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024118/00001

Material Information

Title: Idyllic Childhood or Idle Girls William Bouguereau and the Knowing Peasant Child
Physical Description: 1 online resource (58 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Roberts, Kyle
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: bouguereau, childhood, children, idyllic, knowing, peasant, shepherdess, william
Art and Art History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Art History thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: My aim in this thesis is to read William Bouguereau's images of young peasant girls in light of the emerging social concerns about the loss or corruption of childhood innocence in rural and working-class communities at the time. I argue that although Bouguereau's female peasant paintings often promote the conservative, idealized view of childhood and peasantry still prevalent in France during the last half of the nineteenth century, a handful of Bouguereau's later images of young beggars, knitters, and shepherdesses reflect the growing concern in Europe over the loss of childhood innocence. These paintings specifically address an emerging preoccupation with the general welfare of rural and working-class children brought about by changing roles of and attitudes towards childhood in late-nineteenth-century France. While the majority of girls represented in his paintings are depicted as socially and sexually innocent, many of his later images illustrate an increased tendency to represent these idealized figures as being aware of their own socio-sexual place in society. The inclusion of pensive, knowing girls in Bouguereau's idealized paintings undermines the blank-slate innocence heralded by traditional views of childhood. How we can assume that these girls know (that is, how we can perceive they are aware of their own socio-sexual subject position) is by the nature of their retuned gazes, which suggests that these young girls acknowledge their own existence in relation to a viewer. This awareness undercuts a crucial part of the picturesque peasant child ideal: a child's separation from adult society. The increasing number of Bouguereau's paintings that include knowing girls within supposedly idyllic settings in many ways mirrors society's increasing awareness of the myth of childhood innocence and ingenuous rural living a myth that is revealed by bourgeois society's increasing concerns with the exploitation of children within urban centers and the French countryside that were taking shape during the last decades of the century. While Bouguereau's work exemplifies the conservative movement of art and elite society, even his own idealized style of art, one that sought to uphold the most conservative views of childhood, began to show signs of its own unraveling due to social realities that could not be ignored.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kyle Roberts.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Hyde, Melissa L.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0024118:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024118/00001

Material Information

Title: Idyllic Childhood or Idle Girls William Bouguereau and the Knowing Peasant Child
Physical Description: 1 online resource (58 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Roberts, Kyle
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: bouguereau, childhood, children, idyllic, knowing, peasant, shepherdess, william
Art and Art History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Art History thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: My aim in this thesis is to read William Bouguereau's images of young peasant girls in light of the emerging social concerns about the loss or corruption of childhood innocence in rural and working-class communities at the time. I argue that although Bouguereau's female peasant paintings often promote the conservative, idealized view of childhood and peasantry still prevalent in France during the last half of the nineteenth century, a handful of Bouguereau's later images of young beggars, knitters, and shepherdesses reflect the growing concern in Europe over the loss of childhood innocence. These paintings specifically address an emerging preoccupation with the general welfare of rural and working-class children brought about by changing roles of and attitudes towards childhood in late-nineteenth-century France. While the majority of girls represented in his paintings are depicted as socially and sexually innocent, many of his later images illustrate an increased tendency to represent these idealized figures as being aware of their own socio-sexual place in society. The inclusion of pensive, knowing girls in Bouguereau's idealized paintings undermines the blank-slate innocence heralded by traditional views of childhood. How we can assume that these girls know (that is, how we can perceive they are aware of their own socio-sexual subject position) is by the nature of their retuned gazes, which suggests that these young girls acknowledge their own existence in relation to a viewer. This awareness undercuts a crucial part of the picturesque peasant child ideal: a child's separation from adult society. The increasing number of Bouguereau's paintings that include knowing girls within supposedly idyllic settings in many ways mirrors society's increasing awareness of the myth of childhood innocence and ingenuous rural living a myth that is revealed by bourgeois society's increasing concerns with the exploitation of children within urban centers and the French countryside that were taking shape during the last decades of the century. While Bouguereau's work exemplifies the conservative movement of art and elite society, even his own idealized style of art, one that sought to uphold the most conservative views of childhood, began to show signs of its own unraveling due to social realities that could not be ignored.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kyle Roberts.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Hyde, Melissa L.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0024118:00001


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IDYLLIC CHILDHOOD OR IDLE GIRL S: WILLIAM BOUGUE REAU AND THE KNOWING PEASANT CHILD By KYLE AARON ROBERTS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008 1

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2008 Kyle Aaron Roberts 2

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To my wife 3

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................................5 ABSTRACT .....................................................................................................................................6 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. ..8 2 CONSTRUCTING CHILDHOOD INNOCENCE .................................................................13 Painting a Myth: Explaining Terminology .............................................................................15 The Romantic Child ................................................................................................................16 The Knowing Child ................................................................................................................19 Forfeiting Childrens Social Innocence: The Labor Problem .................................................20 3 BOUGUEREAUS PEASANTS AND THE LOSS OF CHILDHOOD INNOCENCE ........24 Sexual Innocence as Social Innocence ...................................................................................29 Innocent Children, Innocent Paintings ...................................................................................31 A Shift in Perception ..............................................................................................................37 Foundlings in Rural Society ...................................................................................................39 The Employing of Domestiques .............................................................................................42 4 CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................... ...51 LIST OF REFERENCES ...............................................................................................................55 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .........................................................................................................58 4

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LIST OF FIGURES 1. William Bouguereau, Idylle enfantine French, 1900, 99.4 x 127.8 cm, oil on canvas. Denver Art Museum, Denver. (in Wissman, Bouguereau, p. 57.) 2. William Bouguereau, The Broken Pitcher. French, 1891, 133.0 x 85.5 cm, oil on canvas. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco. (in Wissman, Bouguereau, p. 61.) 3. Joshua Reynolds, Age of Innocence British, 1785?, oil on canvas. The Tate Collection, London. Accessed 2 Nov 2008 < http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=12395&tabview=text > 4. William Bouguereau, Indigent Family (Charity). French, 1865, 120.7 x 151.8 cm, oil on canvas. Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham. (in Wissman, Bouguereau, p. 39.) 5. Jean-Baptiste Greuze, The Broken Pitcher French, 1763, 109 x 87 cm, oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris. Accessed 2 Nov 2008 6. William Bouguereau, Returning from Market French, 1869, oil on canvas. Collection of Fred and Sherry Ross, New Jersey. A ccessed 2 Nov 2008 < http://www.must-loveart.com/arts-of-bouguereau-2.html >. 7. William Bouguereau, Le retour des champs (Return from the Fields). French, 1860, 116 x 89 cm, oil on canvas. Private Collection. (in DArgencourt, William Bouguereau p. 160.) 8. Louis Pion, Le Goter (Teatime). French, 1891, 85.1 x 134.6 cm, charcoal and pencil on canvas. Muse des Beaux-Arts, Tournai. (in Weisberg, Beyond Impressionism p. 42. 9. William Bouguereau, First Caresses French, 1866, 190 x 127.5 cm, oil on canvas. Property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Lyndhurst. (in Wissman, Bouguereau, p. 41.) 10. William Bouguereau, The Knitting Girl. French, 1869, 144.7 x 99 cm, oil on canvas. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha (in Wissman, Bouguereau, p. 49.) 11. William Bouguereau, The Young Shepherdess French, 1885, 157.5 x 72.4 cm, oil on canvas. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego (in Wissman, Bouguereau p. 47.) 12. William Bouguereau, Young Girl French, 1886, 160 x 76 cm, oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield (in Peck, In the Studios of Paris pp. 108-109.) 13. William Bouguereau, Bohemian French, 1890, 149.9 x 106.7 cm, oil on canvas. The Minneapolis Institute of Ar t, Minneapolis (in Wissman, Bouguereau, p. 53.) 5

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Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts IDYLLIC CHILDHOOD OR IDLE GIRL S: WILLIAM BOUGUE REAU AND THE KNOWING PEASANT CHILD By Kyle Aaron Roberts December 2008 Chair: Melissa Lee Hyde Major: Art History My aim in this thesis is to read William Bouguereaus images of young peasant girls in light of the emerging social con cerns about the loss or corrupti on of childhood innocence in rural and working-class communities at the time. I argue that although Bouguereaus female peasant paintings often promote the conservative, id ealized view of childhood and peasantry still prevalent in France during the last half of the nineteenth cen tury, a handful of Bouguereaus later images of young beggars, knitters, and shepherdesses reflect the growing concern in Europe over the loss of childhood innocence. These paintings specifically address an emerging preoccupation with the general welfare of ru ral and working-class children br ought about by changing roles of and attitudes towards childhood in late-nineteenthcentury France. While the majority of girls represented in his paintings are depicted as socially and sexua lly innocent, many of his later images illustrate an increased tendency to represent these idealized figures as being aware of their own socio-sexual place in society. The inclusion of pensive, knowing girls in Bouguereaus idealized paintings undermines the blank slate innocence heralded by traditional views of childhood. How we can assume that these girls know (that is, how we can perceive th ey are aware of their own socio-sexual subject position) is by the nature of their retune d gazes, which suggests that these young girls 6

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acknowledge their own existence in relation to a viewer. This aw areness undercuts a crucial part of the picturesque peasant child ideal: a childs separation from adult so ciety. The increasing number of Bouguereaus paintings that include knowing girls within supposedly idyllic settings in many ways mirrors societys increasing awar eness of the myth of childhood innocence and ingenuous rural livinga myth th at is revealed by bourgeois societys increasing concerns with the exploitation of children with in urban centers and the French countryside that were taking shape during the last decades of the century. While Bouguereaus work exemplifies the conservative movement of art and elite society, even his own idealized style of artone that sought to uphold the most conservative views of childhoodbegan to show signs of its own unraveling due to social realit ies that could not be ignored. 7

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Few present day artists have depicted childhood with more tende rness, charm, and wit than Bouguereau. In order to express the naivety [sic], mischief, sm iles and caresses of those darling little ones, to paint thei r pink and white flesh, their wavy locks, their attitudes and gestures, so simple, so ingenuous, so graceful, he has been able to fashion the most pleasant, picturesque and original scenes with inexhaustible diversity In his treatment of these subjec ts the painter always shows delicacy and restraint; he never lets there be any suspicion of an even thinly veiled licentious or sensual tension.1 -Marius Vachon, W. Bouguereau, 1900 In writing of William Bouguereaus painti ngs of peasant girls, Marius Vachon, the artists first biographer, insists that the work of this French academic painter during the last half of the nineteenth century promot ed traditional views of children and ideas about childhood. In effect, like many other conservative artists of his time, Bouguereau sought to equate childhood to innocence and naturalness, as if children were somehow closer to nature and therefore more innocent than adults. Having painted more images of rustic girls and female adolescents than of any other group or theme, an overwhelming porti on of the artistic oeuvr e of William Bouguereau is comprised of scenes of carefree girls in idyl lic pastoral settings. As Vachon explains, these rural children were thought to possess a sim ple and ingenuous character, a temperament directly associated with not only children, but peasants as well. The peasant, much like the child, was believed to live an innocent life due to his or her marginal position on the periphery of bourgeois society,2 and the maintenance of this ideal is one that has hitherto been unquestioned in Bouguereaus works. Such idyllic scenes of rural childhood can be seen in a painting done during the last years of his life appropriately titled Idylle enfantine (1900; Figure 1). Here, Bouguereau renders a 1 Marius Vachon, W. Bouguereau (Paris: A. Lahure, 1900), 89-92. 2 Fronia E. Wissman, Bouguereau (San Francisco: Pome granate, 1996), 46. 8

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scene of tranquil childhood in its most idealized form. The viewer witnesses a scene containing two young girls alone in the country side. The older of the two plays a tune for her companion on her wooden pipe as she and her comrade sit with in a field of wild grasses. Her younger friend, possibly her sister, rests her righ t elbow on her elders right knee as she listens to the simple melody. These two girls seem to embody traditi onal views of childhood. Unaware of adult life and its struggles, these girls innocently go a bout their childhood lives by occupying themselves with a simple, entertaining task to pass the time. In a move that is characteristic in many of his peasant paintings, Bouguereau take s the conventional theme of an innocent, carefree, and natural childhood quite literally by actually placing the girls in a rural, n atural setting. Rendered alone without any sign of chaperones, these young peasant girls exist in a separate realm all their own, a natural world of childhood that is devoid of adult presence and adult interaction. In many ways, Idylle enfantine can be seen as an illustra tion of the view of childhood championed by Bouguereau and many of his cont emporaries; however, th e harsh realities to which many rural and working-class children were subjected for labor reasons, in addition to growing concerns about these re alities within bourgeois societ y, undermine this idealized view of childhood innocence. In his recent writings on children, Henry Jenkins, an American scholar whose work explores the history of the idea of childhood innocence, helps to define the parameters by which western so ciety has typically distinguis hed childhood from adulthood, and accordingly, innocence from corruption as in the nineteenth century: Our culture imagines childhood as a utopian space, separate from adult cares and worries, free from sexuality, outside soci al division, closer to nature and the primitive world, more fluid in its identity and its access to the re alms of imagination, beyond historical change, more just, pure, and innocent and in the e nd, waiting to be corrupted or protected by adults.3 3 Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 3-4. 9

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He also points out that for centu ries, children have been thought of as sexless beings living within their own innocent world, ignorant of the world of adults. Importantly, while the child has been understood as having its own self-contained existence, this existence is one that is free from, but also potentially corrupted by, the lives and actions of adults. My aim in this thesis is to read Bouguereaus images of yo ung peasant girls in light of the emerging social concerns about the loss or corruption of childhood innocence in rural and working-class communities at the time. We can see this anxiety over the possibility of corruption even in Vachons largely sacchar ine views of childhood in his biography of Bouguereau. To be sure, while Vachon takes care to highlight the ingenuousness of Bouguereaus subjects, his commenta ry begs the question of why su ch careful attention to their innocence is even necessary. Indeed, a paradox seems to emerge: if the world of children especially rustic childrenwas in fact equated with a world of innocence and simplicity, then why does Vachon feel obligated to remark explic itly on the lack of licentious or sensual tension in the painting? By Vachons logic, we are left to question if childhood and peasantry were less synonymous with innocence than many of the visual and literary works of the period lead one to believe. While Bouguereau continued to paint images of idealized peasants during the last decades of the century, concerns began to be voiced about the pote ntial loss of corruption of childhood innocence if the nations underprivile ged youth was not properly sheltered from the ills of adult society. While well-to-do families generally kept their children close, sheltering them from the public realm by attending to their needs within the domestic sphere, those families who lacked the necessary funds to educate their children within the home were often forced to send their offspring out into the world to wor k. Although peasant children were thought to be especially innocent due to th eir double disconnectedness from so ciety (as both peasants and 10

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children), these rural and working-class children actu ally posed the largest threat to the ideal of childhood innocence. I argue that although Bouguereaus female peasant paintings often promote the conservative, idealized view of childhood and peas antry still prevalent in France during the last half of the nineteenth century, a handful of B ouguereaus later images of young beggars, knitters, and shepherdesses reflect the growing concern in Europe over the lo ss of childhood innocence. These paintings specifically address an emerging preoccupation with the ge neral welfare of rural and working-class children brought about by ch anging roles of and a ttitudes towards childhood in late-nineteenth-century France. Bouguereau pl aced his idealized peasants outdoors in agrarian landscapes, carefully rendering their unsullied cl othing and immaculate, shoeless feet. However, while the majority of girls represented in these paintings are depicted as socially and sexually innocent, many of his later images illustrate an increased tendency to represent these idealized figures as being aware of their own social, sexual, and/or physical position within society. Such a view of corrupted innocence can be seen in his The Broken Pitcher (1891; Figure 2). Unlike his depictions of the girls in Idylle enfantine Bouguereau portrays a young peasant girl with a knowing face. Understood by contemporary viewers and modern scholars alike as an image of lost virginity, the girls pensive appearance is meant to symbolize her experience of the loss of childhood innocence. During 1880s and 1890s, B ouguereau began to depict many of his underprivileged girls with pensive appearances rather than the carefree faces typically seen in his earlier works. I have chosen to focus this analysis on Bouguereaus images of young, peasant girls not only because they make up the large majority of his oeuvre, but also because these paintings highlight the overwhelming desire of uppera nd middle-class adults to commission works in 11

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which the notions of the ideal little girl and the idyllic life of rural French citizens converge. I show that the inclusion of pensive, knowing girls in Bouguereaus idealized paintings undermines the blank slate innocence heralded by traditional views of childhood. How we can assume that these girls know (that is, how we can perceive they are aware of their own sociosexual subject position) is by the nature of th eir retuned gazes, whic h suggests that these young girls acknowledge their own existence in rela tion to a viewer. This awareness undercuts a crucial part of the picturesque peasant child id eal: a childs separation from adult society. The increasing number of Bouguereaus paintings that include know ing girls within supposedly idyllic settings in many ways mirrors society s increasing awareness of the myth of childhood innocence and ingenuous rura l livinga myth that is revealed by bourgeois societys increasing concerns with the exploitation of children within urban centers and the Fr ench countryside that were taking shape during the last decades of the century. While Bouguereaus work exemplifies the conservative movement of art and elite societ y, even his own idealized style of artone that sought to uphold the most conservative views of childhoodbegan to show signs of its own unraveling due to social realit ies that could not be ignored. 12

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CHAPTER 2 CONSTRUCTING CHILDHOOD INNOCENCE Vachons confidence in Bouguereau s preservation of traditiona l concepts that deal with the idealized view of childhood innocence illustrates the lasting impression the Enlightenment thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his influen tial ideals about childhood had on late nineteenthcentury society as well as societys need to separa te the child from the realm of adults. Prior to Rousseau, western cultures saw childhood as s imply a brief phase of dependency passed over quickly and bearing little special importance.4 Childhood was in no way directly related to innocence as children were recognized primarily as little adults. Jenkins does well to explain in his text that although childhood began to be underst ood as a separate stage of life from adulthood prior to the eighteenth century, it was not typically associated with innocence. Parents sought to protect their children from natural threats alone as adults thought it highly unlikely for children to be corrupted by adult knowledge.5 It wasnt until the Enlighten ment that children began to be appreciated and even envied for their blissful ignorance of the cares of adult society. The nineteenth centurys view of childhood as an age of innocence owes much to Rousseaus influential texts on childhood. For Rou sseau, the child represen ted the antithesis of corrupt adult life in that childre n, unlike adults, were believed to be free from social convention and utilitarian calculation and adulthood wa s the result of corrupted childhood innocence.6 Children were thought to be in their own separa te category, one that ce ntered on the childs closeness to nature rather than soci ety. In one of his short writings, On Reasoning with Children Rousseau emphasizes the importance of na ture in the development of children: 4 Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 15. 5 Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 16. 6 Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 18. 13

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Nature intends that children shall be childre n before they are men. If we insist on reversing this order we shall have fruit early indeed, but unripe and ta steless and liable to early decay Childhood has its own methods of seeing, thinking, and feeling. Nothing shows less than to try to substi tute our own methods for these.7 As the passage attests, Rousseau was adamant th at children must grow up in their own time. Much like young flowers, ch ildren were meant to bloom when na ture saw fit. Most importantly, Rousseau remained critical of formal education for children, as he be lieved this type of instruction would hinder a ch ilds natural development.8 The following lines published in mile highlights his distaste for early childhood education: The mind should be left undist urbed till its faculties have developed Therefore education of the earliest year s should be merely negative. It consists, not in teaching virtue or truth, but in preser ving the heart from vice and from the spirit of error Exercise his body, his limbs, his senses, his strength but keep his mind idle as long as you can Leave childhood to ripen in your children.9 Rousseaus emphasis on the suscepti bility of a childs mind to outside influences helped shape nineteenth-century ideas about childhood inno cence. While his commentary imagines the ripening of childhood as a distinctly male expe rience, as the century progressed, a greater emphasis would be placed on the importance of formal education for both sexes, especially girls, as education came to be seen as a force for progress.10 Departing from Rousseaus logic, nineteen th-century France began to see formal education as a key factor in the promotion of childhood obedience. However, this mindset only applied to rural and urban unpriv ileged children, as the bourgeois child was thought to be better 7 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On Reasoning with Children, in The Portable Age of Reason Reader ed. Crane Brinton, (New York: Viking, 1956), 122. 8 Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 18. 9 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, mile trans. Barbara Foxley (New York: Dutton, 1963), 57-58. 10 See Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 53-54. 14

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taught at home in an informal setting. It was the unruly children of the lower classes that threatened the myth childhood innocence that thos e distinguished members of society were so unhesitant to believe in, not those brought up in distinguished households who naturally conformed to rules and regulations of society by their imitation of adu lt etiquette and manners. Bourgeois societys insistence on educating chil dren of the laboring classes exemplifies a paradox of childhood plaguing late nineteenth-century society: how can a disciplined child be free from society? Philippe Aris, a historia n of childhood, writes of this contradiction in his book Centuries of Childhood : The idea of childhood innocence re sulted in two kinds of atti tude and behavior towards childhood: firstly, safeguarding it against pollution by life and pa rticularly by the sexuality tolerated if not approved of am ong adults; and secondly, strengthening it by developing character and reason. We may see to contradiction here, for on the one hand childhood is preserved and on the other ha nd it is made older than its years.11 Expanding on Aris comment, childhood is preserved if the child remains sheltered from society; however, all too often, adults rushed to preserve childhood innocence rather than letting it mature in its own time. Using education to combat childhood delinquency was a practice that indirectly undermined the idealized view of childhood as an age of innocencea marginal existence free from adult society and its problems. Painting a Myth: Explaining Terminology Prior to Rousseaus publication of mile in 1762, child portraiture seemed to follow public perceptions about children in that child si tters often resembled smaller version of their parents, as they were often dressed like a dults. This eighteenth-century view of childhood quickly began to change due to Rousseaus no tion of childhood as a pha se of life unique from 11 Phillipe Ares, Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life trans. Robert Baldick (New York: Vintage, 1962), 119. 15

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adulthood. His new ideas about the nature of childhood began to be expressed pictorially through the visual arts during the last decades of the eighteenth century. Early visual examples of Rousseaus new version of childhood first came in the form of child portraits that tended to depict the child alone or disconne cted from his or her parent. The idea of connecting childhood innocence to nature began to permeate English portraits before thos e done by the French. Portrait painting in eight eenth-century England assumed a more informal nature than those found throughout other European countries.12 Eighteenth-century paintings such as Joshua Reynoldss famous Age of Innocence13 (1785 ?; Figure 3), offered a view of children that directly connected them with innocence and with nature. This natura l child theme spread to the rest of Europe and images of innocent children disconnected from contemporary adult society replaced images of children portrayed as small adults. It is also important to note that R ousseaus influenced on English portraiture must have been amplified by th e fact that Rousseau himself lived in England from 1765 to 1767. The image of Reynoldss yo ung, barefoot child rendered alone in the wilderness with no sign of any discernable thoughts or feelings would become a model for future artists all across Europe who sought to depict Rousseaus version of childhood. The Romantic Child Images of Rousseaus innocent child gained popularity during the second half of the eighteenth century. Seen by adults as models for all children (i ncluding their own), images of innocent children in nature ga ve credibility to Rousseaus version of childhood by visually 12 J. A. Parks, Naughty & Nice: Children's Port raits American Artist 72 (February 2008): 50. 13 The paintings title, The Age of Innocence was not invented by Joshua Reynolds. This title does not appear until 1794 when engravings of Reynoldss painting began to surf ace in England. For many years, it was thought that this painting was completed by Reynolds in 1788; however, the painting has strikingly similar qualities with a work entitled The Little Girl that Reynolds painted for the Royal Academy in 1785. See Tate Collection: British art and international modern and contemporary art, Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Age of Innocence, ?1788, The Tate Online, http://www.tate.org.uk/s ervlet/ViewWork?workid=12395&tabview=text 16

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posting the childs separation from adult society. By the turn of th e nineteenth century, innocence and purity became qualities that all childrenboth boys and girlswere naturally thought to possess; however, while young boys were able to grow up to be men, the ideal woman, despite her eventual coming of age, coul d never really grow up as she was seen as intellectually equivalent to a child.14 As Catherine Robson explains, the ideal little girl of the nineteenth century could trace her lineage back to the concepts of ch ildhood developed on the one hand by Rousseau and on the other, by the strains of eva ngelically influenced Christianity that rejected Calvinistic notions of original sin.15 Both French and English ideas together created a idealized vi ew of childhood that was free from original sin. The innocent child was thought of as the good child, one that is so invitingly vacant that goodness is utter blankness. Such blankness can suggest the childs goodness.16 The thoughtless, innocent child that artists promoting Rouss eaus ideal began to produce is a figure Anne Higonnet calls the Romantic chil d. She defines this individual as one that makes a good show of having no class, no gend er, and no thoughtsof being socially, sexually, and physically innocent.17 Romantic children were seen as clean slates onto which adults projected their own ideals, howev er virtuous or licentious they might be. As Higonnet rightly explains in her text, the blankne ss so important to the Romantic child concept also theoretically 14 See Bram Dijkstra, Idols of perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siecle Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986) 160-174. 15 Catherine Robson, Men in Wonderland: The Lost Girlhood of the Victorian Gentlemen (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001), 157. 16 James R. Kincaid, Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture (New York: Routledge, 1992), 223. 17 Anne Higonnet, Pictures of Innocence: The Hist ory and Crisis of Ideal Childhood (New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, 1998), 24. 17

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renders all children vulnerable to the harsh realities of society.18 While making reference to the influential work of James Kincaid on the hi story of childhood, Higonnet exposes the inherent problem with the natural innocence prescr ibed by the Romantic childhood theme: Defined as the opposite of adult sexualit y, childhood innocence, according to Kincaid, runs the danger of becoming alluringly opposite, enticingly off-limits. Innocence suggests violation. Innocence suggests whatever adults want to imagine.19 Higonnets comment helps to explain why the Roma ntic child must be free from contemporary adult society in order to succeed in its function of showing what adult society is not. If childhood innocence can suggest viol ation, then the presence of adult interference must be eliminated from the picture in order to guarantee that natural innocence will not be lost and the idealized image of child hood remains uncorrupted. This safeguarding of the Romantic child happens in three ways, the first two having already been addressed: 1) the ch ilds ignorance of or the absen ce of an adult figure within the picture, 2) the childs absence of cognitive t hought, and 3) the childs difference in costume when compared to adults. This last difference can be seen in the specialized costumes created for children during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Wh ile there was a great emphasis placed on distinguishing boy from man, little effort was made in distinguishing girl from woman. Young boy costumes were removed from those of adult men in both style and era, but it was certainly more difficult to discern young girls from grown women. More often than not, a young girl would be dressed in the same fashions as an adult woman, but an emphasis would be placed 18 See Anne Higonnet, Pictures of Innocence: The Histor y and Crisis of Ideal Childhood (New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, 1998), 38. 19 James R. Kincaid, Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture (New York: Routledge, 1992), cited in Anne Higonnet, Pictures of Innocence: The History and Crisis of Ideal Childhood (New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, 1998), 38. 18

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on the size of the garments, as they would often be too big for the child to wear.20 In many ways, the process of growing up for boys often enta iled casting off their age-specific clothi become men while girls seem simply to grow into their oversized clothing, and therefore appear to remain little girls forever. ng to at The Knowing Child Unlike the concept of Romantic childhood that presents a view of children as naturally unconscious of their own social and sexual position within society, the term Knowing childhood calls into question the social and sexual awareness of children. As Higonnet explains, [u]nlike Romantic images [of chil dhood], Knowing images, for the first time in the history of art, endow children with psychological and physical individuality at the same time as they recognize them as bei ng distinctively child-like.21 Much like how adults know they are not innocent in relation to child ren, Knowing children know they are no longer innocent in th they have an unlawful knowledge of adult issues. These children still recognize that they are children, but children whose unde rstanding of adulthood is diam etrically opposed to their innocence. Higonnet emphasizes that twentieth-cen tury [now twenty-first -century] viewers of these images are prone to be more uncomfortabl e with such images in that our contemporary society now vacillates between two oppos ing views of childhood: the Rousseauian Age of Innocence view of childhood, and a newer, more unsettling view of childhood that exploits the exceptions to the Romantic child ideal and thus presents a view of childhood that is less than pristine. Although the concept of the Knowing child has been t ypically applied to photographs 20 Anne Higonnet, Pictures of Innocence: The Hist ory and Crisis of Ideal Childhood (New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, 1998), 28. Also see Phillipe Ares, Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life trans. Robert Baldick (New York: Vintage, 1962), 61. 21 See Anne Higonnet, Pictures of Innocence: The Histor y and Crisis of Ideal Childhood (New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, 1998), 12. 19

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of children, such as Carl Dodgsons (Lewis Carr olls) many images of prepubescent girls, I intent to show that examples of Knowing childre n can be seen in some of Bouguereaus images of young peasant girls produced during the 1880s a nd 1890s that call atten tion to contemporary social issues taking place in the lives of late nineteenth-century rural and workingclass children. Forfeiting Childrens Social Innocence: The Labor Problem Recent scholarship has begun to explore the physical appearance of some of Bouguereaus idealized peasant ch ildren. In 1980, Hollister Sturges began to interpret these girls appearances as erotic e xpressions hidden behind a veil of excessive idealism. Sturgess reading of their appearance is based on what he perceives as their sexual awareness. He highlights that in some of Bouguereaus works, h is maidens intense, brooding stares, states of preoccupation, and partial nudity su ggest their sexual awareness as well as that of the artist.22 Sturges is right to point out these intense br ooding stares of Bouguereau s young peasant girls as a symbol of sexual awareness, and certainly thei r cognizance of their own appearance before the viewer would seem to make them examples of Higonnets Knowing children. But, while Sturgess argument offers an important sexual di mension to these girls awareness, I want to suggest that there is more to B ouguereaus paintings than mere ero tic appeal. The exploitation of children for labor purposes, which made an undeni able contribution to the loss of their social innocence (a term I shall use to describe a lo ss of innocence due to eith er sexual or physical exploitation), must also be considered in the works Bouguereau completed during the last decades of the century. Scholars such as Anna Green, who focus on si milar images of children but within urban settings, can shed light on the representations of peasant children as well. Author of the recently 22 Hollister Sturges, Angels and Urchins: Images of Children at the Joslyn (Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 1980), 57. 20

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published book French Paintings of Childhood and Adolescence, 1848-1886 Green believes that the creation of many childhood imag es produced during the latter ha lf of the century should be attributed to a multitude of Frances social c oncerns, including, but not limited to, the sexual identities of the children during the July Monarchy and Third Republic. Green points out that the last three decades of the century witnessed an increased attention to Frances children that was far greater than any previous generation ha d encountered, and she argues that images of urban children either working in factories or pe rforming/begging in city streets were records of increasing social concern about child welfare. Although her central focus is French metropolitan youth, Greens images, especially her post-Franco-P russian war images that deal with childhood, can be useful in thinking about Bouguereaus scen es of careworn peasant girls, which date from the two decades following the 1870 war. B ouguereaus post-1870s female peasant imagery ought to be read within the contex t of the lost social innocence of working-class youth (primarily due to sexual and labor-related exploitation) and how a childs own acknowledgement of and concern with this loss challenges the traditional view of the Romantic ch ild that continued to prevail in artwork of the period. In her book, Green does address a few pa intings by Bouguereau, such as his Indigent Family (Charity) of 1865 (Figure 4). Her analysis of this painting of an impoverished mother and her three children begging for alms at the base of a column offers insight into Bouguereaus sentiments towards those individuals less fortunate than himself. Green highlights that the poster at the top right of the painting makes refe rence to a sermon on charity given by Pre Lacordairean inspiring speaker whom Bouguereau had probably heard sometime during his lifeand is proof of Bouguereaus genuine concern for the impove rished people of his nation. She suggests that [i]t might be argued, then, th at Bouguereau effects an admirable balance: his 21

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seamless fini23 suggests real flesh and bl ood at the same time as hi s classicizing renders his paintings timeless.24 I find that the balanci ng of lifelike and timeless looking subjects can also be seen in many of his paintings of rural girls. This vacillation between timelessness and temporality also mirrors Sturges observations that many of Bouguereaus works suffer from a certain ambivalence, from conflicting impulses th at simultaneously hint at and repudiate the erotic nature of his peasant girls.25 In the same way that Bouguereau cannot directly depict sex in his paintings (even if he does address the issu e of sexuality), neither can he explicitly depict problems with child labor. This of course is wh y we get broken pitchers in lieu of sex acts and peasants with a healthy glow. While Greens observations of Bouguereaus Indigent Family offers one reading of this painting and of Bouguereaus general feelings towards the poor, John Houses article titled Pompier Politics: Bouguereaus Art offers additional information regarding Bouguereaus overall conservative view of charity and the Bourgeoiss place in securing the poors position in life. House emphasizes that while the poster tacked to the wall of Bouguereaus classical building does reference Lacordaires plea for the poor, its appearance is crucial in that it seeks to reinforce the conservative action of voluntary charity of individuals, as it was seen as one of the primary tools in the maintaining social order and hierarchies.26 He explains that [t]he poor in Bouguereaus work literally know their place. Clean, handsome and arranged in an impeccably 23 See Charles Rosen and Henri Zerner, Romanticism and Realism: The Mythology of Nineteenth-Century Art (New York: Viking Press, 1984) 224. 24 Anna Green, French Paintings of Childhood and Adolescence, 1848-1886 (Hampshire: Ashgate, 2007), 54. 25 Hollister Sturges, Angels and Urchins: Images of Children at the Joslyn (Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 1980), 57. 26 John House, Pompier Politics: Bouguereaus Art. Art in America 72 (1984): 144. 22

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tidy pyramid, an indigent family begs fo r alms under the church s charitable wing.27 In trying to express values that maintained social hier archies, Bouguereaueven as the cornerstone of a conservative artistic litecomplicates the issue of childhood and innocen ce in that if these children are indeed knowing they know their intractable place in society. House argues that Bouguereau instills certain distancing devices in his work that prevent the viewer from engaging in a direct psychologica l relationship as equal to equa l, with the figures depicted.28 It is true that the bourgeois viewers of these wo rks are meant see these figures as picturesque outsiders, mythic simpletons, but nevertheless, still as individuals of some indiscernible lower class who know their own place. In effect, if th ese girls do in fact know their place within a society delineated by a hierarchical class st ratification, then these knowing children of the impoverished classes are the byproduct of corrupted childhood innocence. 27 John House, Pompier Politics: Bouguereaus Art. Art in America 72 (1984): 144. 28 John House, Pompier Politics: Bouguereaus Art. Art in America 72 (1984): 143. 23

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CHAPTER 3 BOUGUEREAUS PEASANTS AND THE LOSS OF CHILDHOOD INNOCENCE In 1891, Bouguereau completed one of his mo st famous peasant genre scenes called The Broken Pitcher For this painting, Bouguereau rendered an image of a prepubescent girl set in a pastoral landscape. The close, intimate view of this young girl makes it difficult for viewers to notice any other features of the work, as her body spans the entire length of the canvas. Her sullen face, especially her eyes, fights to be th e central focus of the painting. These dark brown eyes are fixed in concentration outward toward s the viewer, thus acknow ledging her presence as the object of the viewers gaze. Her lips seem to tremble, displaying a fe eling of uneasiness, if not embarrassment. This sense of discomfort is emphasized by the rest of her body as she recoils from the surface of the canvas, and in effect, the viewer. To the left of the sitters feet, the artist renders the broken pitcher the young girl has carried to the wate r pump, an object that might go unnoticed if it were not for the pa intings title. Bouguereau makes no direct reference as to how or why the base of the vessel has cracked in two. For its contemporar y audience, this broken pitcher was instantly legible as a direct referen ce to this young girls loss of innocence, often conflated with the loss of virginity.29 This type of sensual genre scene was far fr om foreign to a late nineteenth-century audience who would have been familiar with the painterly precedents set by the eighteenthcentury genre painters like Jean -Baptiste Greuze. One of the mo st popular painters of his time, Greuze spent a majority of his artistic caree r producing works that centered on the emerging sexuality of young demoiselles, dubbed Greuze girls. While these images were seen as pictorial punch lines for eighteenth-century mora l tales, they were ex tremely popular during the 29 Hollister Sturges, Angels and Urchins: Images of Children at the Joslyn (Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 1980), 57. Also see Karin Calvert, Children in the House: The Material Culture of Early Childhood, 1600-1900 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992), 150-152. 24

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nineteenth century as well. Greuze s own version of a broken pitcher, The Broken Pitcher (1763; Figure 5), bears many similari ties to its nineteenth-century counterpart, as they are both single figure compositions that focus on young fema le sitters. Bouguereau makes subtle changes to the theme, but the signifi cance of Greuzes water pitcher re mains unchanged in his work. Although both Bouguereau and Greuzes genre scen es deal with the theme of awakening sexuality in young ladies, there are important differences between them, one significant difference being the girls ages. While I agree with Sturges comment that both Greuze and Bouguereau evoke a sentimentality and thinly dis guised sexuality within these wo rks, Bouguereaus young peasant barely crosses into the realm of adolescence,30 as she appears to be a young girl of twelve or thirteen. Due to the noticeable difference in the age of Bouguereaus peasant girls when compared to his predecessors young demoiselle, additional issues besides the awakening sexual desires of young women need to be taken into acc ount. Greuzes eighteenth-century girl, much like the rest of the artists Greuze girls, is hardly a girl at al l; rather she can easily be seen as a young woman. Her developed bosom a nd adult hips mark her as such. For the viewer of this image, this woman is in a position of discreet availabilitya young woman who is available to be seen and possessed. Greuze emphasizes her availa bility in that he choo ses to depict his young demoiselle as having no companion, no lover, no guardian. This young lady is also shown in the act of lifting up her skirt, acting as a form of striptease that in reality reveals nothing but remains suggestive in order to keep the vi ewers interest. The slight cu rling of her fingers against her pelvis and the inclusion of flowers suggest her recent loss of vi rginity. In her text on abandoned 30 Adolescence was a term constructed during the 1880s and 1 890s by the middle classes to describe the last stage of childhood, starting from age fourteen until marriage. See Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 53. 25

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children, Rachel Fuchs notes that the middle classe s often worried about th e adolescents of urban working classes.31 The lives led by these older children of the laboring classe s often threatened the current social beliefs about childhood inno cence and ignorance of adult society issues especially sexuality. In The Broken Pitcher Bouguereaus directs pub lic concern not towards the countrys adolescents, but to a prepubescent peasant child. Indeed, Sturges is correct in stating that [s]exuality is not a th eme Bouguereau can confront directly32 not least of all because a direct sexual reference with a child of this age would have undermined the trope of childhood innocence. Unlike Bouguereaus peasant who recoils from the viewer into a pose that suggests her distress, Greuzes young lady stands fully erect and frontal in th e foreground of the painting. Her partially exposed breasta trademark of the Greuze girlhighlights the lack of shame the subject has had in taking part in the sexual en counter. The young ladys face is perhaps the most telling portion of the painting. Unlike the bes eeching eyes of Bouguereaus young peasant girl that directly address the view er, Greuzes young woman stares off into the distance. Her gaze travels over the spectator s right shoulder. In contrast to the furrowe d brow of Bouguereaus peasant, this worldly woman wears a more dream y expression. Her relaxed eyes and slight smirk offer a view of a young lady who now knows of the physical pleasures taken from sexual activities and relishes in the memory. The appearance of Bougue reaus young peasant is clearly different. Instead of a carefree personality, this peasant looks as if she pines over her loss. As 31 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 53. 32 Hollister Sturges, Angels and Urchins: Images of Children at the Joslyn (Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 1980), 57. 26

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Henry Jenkinss explains, [t]he innocent ch ild wants nothing, desires nothing, and demands nothingexcept, perhaps, its own innocence.33 As a child who has lost her childhood i nnocence, Bouguereaus peasant certainly qualifies as one of Higonnets K nowing children. This knowi ngness is signaled by the sense of awareness displayed by the e xpression on the childs face, as well as her body language. As the viewer surveys the surface of the canvas, he or she cannot avoid focusing on the childs eyes, and she in return gazes back at the viewer. Th is returned gaze plays an important role as it connects the viewer to the forlorn child and, in turn, the child to th e gazing viewer. Her returned gaze is a product of her knowing self. No longer innocent, she now acknowledges how she is viewed by the adult world, hence her cautious pose. Sturges argues that in this work, Bouguereau communicates the hypocr itical and inhibited attit udes towards sexuality that prevailed in his time,34 a message underscored by the young girls age. Whether or not Bouguereaus image was designed to appeal to scopophilic desires of some male viewers remains a debatable issue. As Ronald Pearsall, author of The Worm in the Bud, explains, [t]he motives of the child worshipers are ineluctably mixed. There was nostalgia for lost innocence; there was adult guilt at the mess they were maki ng of the century, and children were seen as a hope for the future.35 Regardless of the artists inte nded message for French, English, and American audiences, it is clear that Bouguereau sought to creat e an emotional image of a young girls loss of innocence that c ould speak to the sen timents of his viewers. By including a younger girl than Greuze does, Bouguereau work suggests that while some people might take 33 See Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 1-2. 34 Hollister Sturges, Angels and Urchins: Images of Children at the Joslyn (Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 1980), 57-60. 35 Ronald Pearsall, The Worm in the Bud: The World of Victorian Sexuality (New York: Macmillan, 1969), 359. 27

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pleasure in looking as a ravished young girl, his painting can also be understood as a moral tale for its contemporary audience, one that illustra tes Rousseaus message that If we insist on reversing this order we shall have fruit early i ndeed, but unripe and tastel ess and liable to early decay. The knowing appearance of this young girl appears during a time in which increased concerns about the sanctity of childhood innocence continued to be voiced. The reinforcement of Rousseaus message continued throughout the second half of the ni neteenth-century as illustrated by a comment made in the Journal de la jeunesse in 1852: childrens minds are like tabulae rasae One should never write on them anyt hing one might need to erase later.36 Bouguereaus painted child longs to be innocent again, wherea s Greuzes young lady revels in her knowing. Like Greuze, Bouguereaus reference to the girls lost virgin ity was explicit in that the inclusion of props as coded symbols affi rms the message for the viewer. As Sturges emphasizes in his text, there is an inherent tension [that] resi des in the theme of the young girl poised between childhood innocence and an emerging sensuality.37 This sexual tension that Bouguereaus young peasant portrays must have b een what Vachons commentary was meant to absolve. His commentary must have served as a reaffirmation for himself and for his readers that while Bouguereaus represen tation of lost innocence was mode led after Greuzes work, he sought to acquit the artist of including any sensual tension between his young female peasant and the viewer, and specifically the ar tist. Regardless of the effec tiveness of Vachons statement in freeing Bouguereaus work from any illicit interpretations, his painting must have resonated 36 Quoted in Alain Fourment, Histoire de la presse, et des journaux denfants (1768-1988) (Paris: Ecole, 1987), 57. Also see Anna Green, French Paintings of Childhood and Adolescence, 1848-1886 (Hampshire: Ashgate, 2007), 224. 37 Hollister Sturges, Angels and Urchins: Images of Children at the Joslyn (Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 1980), 57. 28

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differently than Greuzes for a public with increasing concerns about safeguarding childhood innocence from the corruption of th e adult world. Even disregardi ng the age of the sitter, when meeting the uncomfortable gaze of Bouguereaus young peasant, viewers of the work are invited to sympathize with this young victims loss, more than they are offered and opportunity to revel in it. Sexual Innocence as Social Innocence For Third Republic France, the awakening sexua lity of children and adolescents was one of the primary concerns expr essed in elite bourgeois circle s. This emerging sexuality, specifically in children of the underclasses, underc ut traditional views of childhood as an age of innocence in which children are ignor ant of the concerns and desires of adults. As I argue in the next section, the pensive expressions and retu rned gazes seen in a number of Bouguereaus depictions of peasant scenes during the 1880s and 1890s can be linked to childrens increasing sexual awareness brought on by adult society s sexual exploitation of its youtha concern illustrated by his famous Broken Pitcher as well as increasing concerns with the Third Republics failure to safeguard the innocen ce of underprivileged children through formal education. Unlike Rousseau, French society duri ng the nineteenth century saw formal education as one of the leading ways to combat the awakening sexual desires of children, as well as a source of progress. The growi ng concern about childrens sexual knowledge was part of a larger issue concerning the general loss of childhood innocen ce. We might better describe this loss of childhood innocence as the loss of social innocence: a childs innocence with respect to all aspects of adult life, such as sex, death, social status, and commerce. The young girls loss of virginity in The Broken Pitcher must have been unsettling as it threatens two separate social categorieschildhood and peasantryas well as th e inherent innocence a ssociated with them. 29

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As we shall see, when looking at other pa intings that Bouguereau produced during the last three decades of the centur y, especially those completed dur ing the 1880s and 1890s, there is a noticeable difference in the appearance of th e young peasant girls from those peasants he painted prior to the 1870s such as his Returning from Market (Figure 6) done in 1869. These differences can even be seen in paintings dea ling with the same subject matter, but that are completed at earlier point in the artists career. With the emergence of the Third Republic, more and more attention would be given to the childs growing awareness of adult society. It was not until the establishment of the new government that France as a nation began to understand the complexity of the lives of rural improvised child ren, not just those living within the streets of Paris. Just as his previous examples of rura l children were seen as polished and idealized versions of French rustics, Bouguereaus latter works continued to id ealize his girl-children through the last decades of the century; however, the emergence of careworn faces and less than pristine appearances made their way into ma ny of Bouguereaus images of shepherdesses, beggar children, and other pictures que outsiders, just as legislators fought to pass laws dealing with delinquency of rural and urban working-class boys and girls. Although Bouguereau continued to idealize his child su bjects, this idealization is und ermined by the returned gaze of these girls and their acknowledgeme nt of the viewer. These young girls illustrate yet another paradox, one that begs the question: if Bouguereaus rustic girls are inde ed idealized, and their idealism is contingent upon their ignorance of adult, urban soci ety, then why does he choose to depict these peasants as knowing their place in a part of French society they are said to be ignorant of? No longer free fr om the cares of bourgeois society, these girls fully recognize their place in a system of social hierarchies, as well as their appeal to viewers in appearing to be innocent, simple, and close to nature. 30

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Innocent Children, Innocent Paintings Before looking at additional examples of Bouguereaus later works that illustrate this visual paradox, it is necessary to look at Bouguereaus earlier idealized representations of rural childhood. These earlier images best display the fanciful image of idealized peasantry the majority of the country chose to believe in. Peasants were seen as individuals on the outskirt of society, existing separately from bot h the world of the bourgeois and the urban worker. As Colin Heywood explains in his book Childhood in Nineteenth-Century France [t]he image proposed by the bergeries38 was a seductive one: what, on the surface, could appear more idyllic than the society of young shepherds and shepherdesses, with its innocent diversions and closeness to nature?39 Their simple life and honest character was believed to be divorced from issues directly related to the middle cl ass, and much like children, they needed to be protected from potential corruption. Such protection of peasant life can be seen in Bouguereaus earlier works that remove the peasant from a present-day context, and which in turn emphasize timeless innocence. As early as 1855, Bouguereau began to pa int numerous images of young, barefoot children within pastoral landscapes Either gracing the shoulders of a father figure or being cradled in the arms of a mother, more often th an not Bouguereau depicted these children in the company of their parents. One ex ample of these early genre scenes that depicts peasant children with their families is his Le retour des champs (Return from the Fields) form 1860 (Figure 7).40 38 Bergeries: a farm, country estate, or other rural retreat mainta ined by a wealthy owner as a facility for rest and recreation. 39 Colin Heywood, Childhood in Nineteenth-Century France: Work, health and education among the classes populaires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 49. 40 Louise DArgencourt, Le retour des champs, in William Bouguereau, 1825-1905 ed. Louis dArgencourt and Mark Steven Walker, (Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1984), 160. 31

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In this three figure composition (f our including the sheep), the arti st renders a mother and father strolling through the fields with their infant son. These peasants wear classicizing garments that help to remove them from a contemporary place and time thereby making this an image of ideal peasantry. The care-free life crucial to this id ealized view of rural ex istence is emphasized by this peasant familys ability to complete daily ta sks, such as harvesting grains and feeding farm animals while simultaneously raising and nurtu ring a young boy to become a successful member of a rural community. This view of the peasant family working w ithin the fields was also taken up by other artists who chose to depict the s ubject in a more realistic manner An example of such a scene can be seen in Louis Pions Le Goter (Teatime) of 1891 (Figure 8). Although he worked primarily in Belgium, Pions work mostly re sembles images of peasantry done by French Naturalist artists working during the last decades of the nineteenth century. Pions image offers a modernization of the theme seen in Bouguereaus Le retour des champs. Much like its predecessor, Pions paintings show a peasant family at work in the fields; however, unlike the classicizing figures found in Bouguereaus work, these individuals are dressed in contemporary garments that connect them to contemporary so ciety. Much like Bouguereaus painting, this image is idealized in that the figures are not shown struggling to complete manual labor; however, Pions images seems to portray a more honest view of peasant lif e in that while these peasants are shown enjoying each others company, the nurturing of a child cannot take place while simultaneously tending to work as Bouguereaus idealiz ed setting permits. That the family labors all day while still remaining happyan inherent part of the simple, honest lives bourgeois society wanted to believe peasants livedis arguably the most 32

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important aspect of Bouguereaus painting. Bou guereau renders this sc ene of idyllic life free from any struggles or hardships that might underm ine this idealized displa y of peasantry. Both peasants and their infant son exist within a spac e that is completely removed from the viewers contemporary life, as evidenced by their outdated clothing. While Le retour des champs was on display at the Salon of 1861, the Parisian public, as well as some critics, praised the work for its overtly classical style. Robe rt Isaacson, one of the most re nowned Bouguereau scholars during the 1970s, explains the hist ory behind such images: [t]he painting of peasant subjects was read ily understood as an ex tension of classical subject-matter A peasant girl carrying a water jar, for example, was considered a reincarnation of the ve ry models used by the Greeks and Romans.41 Bouguereaus adaptation of classical themes into contemporary rural scenes helped to remove the subject from the world and thereby further ideal ize the scene. This mo ther with her angelic face and classical garments could easily be the Virgin mother who cradles the infant Jesus, and the carefree faces of the shepherd and his son create a scene of idyllic harmony. Bouguereau would soon alter his classicizing scenes to in clude this way of carefree living within a contemporary country setting. The same carefree lifestyle can be seen in later works such as his First Caresses (Figure 9) completed and shown at the Salon of 1866. In this scene, Bouguereau paints nineteenthcentury peasant mother and her ne wborn within the interior of their home. Just as in his Le retour des champs, Bouguereau again makes reference to the Madonna and Child, a repeating theme in his earlier works. For this two-fi gure composition, Bouguereau presents his viewers with a touching scene highlighting the strengthening bond between mother and child. Fronia 41 Robert Isaacson, Introduction to William-Adolphe Bouguereau: The New York Cultural Center in Association with Fairleigh Dickinson University, 13 December 1974 to 2 February 1975: Catalogue and Selection, by Mario Amaya, 7-19, (New York : The Center, 1975), 13. 33

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Wissman points out that in his famous First Caresses the artist emphasizes the mothers adherence to her role as wife and mother and the domestic and personal bliss obtained thanks to her adherence to the traditional conceptions of motherhood and its associated role to play within the family.42 This is one of the many paintings in which the artist illustrates his belief in and reinforcement of conventional gender roles for men and women. Just as this mother knows her place within society, so too do many of his later peasant children come to recognize their own existence overtime in that paradox invo lving his idealized rura l children will begin to be illustrated by the subtle changes in the demeanor of his painted peasant girls. In the midst of completing this famous pain ting, Bouguereau also ended his fifteen year business relationship with his galle y dealer Durand-Ruel. Mark St even Walkers has highlighted the importance of this work within th e context of his career as an artist: The year 1866 was when Bouguereau entered in to an exclusive contract with Goupil and adopted a decidedly more naturalistic vision of nature. He consequently began to temper his classical idealization for a public that was likewise becoming increasingly influenced by the photograph and its effect on seeing and painting.43 Walker emphasizes here Bouguereaus hesitancy to continue to produce genre scenes by simply re-using figures modeled after classical painte rs such as Poussin and Raphael. Instead, Bouguereau began to turn to real women and children for his future genre scenes. For Bouguereaus patrons, this adoption of a more natu ralistic style of painti ng peasants from real life rather than simply reinventing classical imag es from great masters must have been widely appealing, as the seventies brought about count less commissions for peasant children and maidens. Peasantry was a very popular subject for paintings during the nineteenth-century. 42 Fronia E. Wissman, Bouguereau (San Francisco: Pome granate, 1996), 40. 43 Mark Steven Walker, First caresses, in William Bouguereau, 1825-1905 ed. Louis dArgencourt and Mark Steven Walker, (Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1984), 170. 34

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Wissman explains that [i]n the pastoral tradition the peasant was seen to possess a simple and honest character, living and equally simple life, in tune with nature and apart from, even ignorant of, artifice.44 While many of the traditional beliefs about children that I introduced earlier mirror this bourgeois idealized view of peasants, the innocent na ture of the peasant, much like the child, would be contested by social realitie s. For patrons who purchased works such as Bouguereaus young shepherdess and knitters, images of peasant children must have offered a view of a natural life other than their ownboth as a peasant and as a child. Unlike images done by Jules Breton and Jean Franois Millet that emph asized a harsher view of French peasant life in the wake of the 1848 Revolution, Bouguereaus retardataire view of barefoot girls must have been more comforting as it can be seen as an idealized form of naturalness.45 Such naturalness is expressed in a work done in 1869 titled The Knitting Girl (Figure 10). Here, Bouguereau creates a single-figure compos ition where the central figure encompasses the majority of the foreground. Show n sitting on a wooden beam, this girl stares out over her left side into the distance. Much like the characters in Le retour des champs and First Caresses this young girl does not acknowledge the viewer. Rather she seems content in completing the task at hand all the while enjoying her natural surroundi ngs. While one could argue that this young girls work load resembles downright leisure, sh e is nevertheless engaged in an act of work in that she is in fact knitting. Th is type of enjoyable, menial la bor is also seen in Bouguereaus Le retour des champs and even in First Caresses as a mothers sole purpose was to work hard to nurture her young. This subtle atte mpt to depict labor will vanish in Bouguereaus later works, 44 Fronia E. Wissman, Bouguereau (San Francisco: Pome granate, 1996), 46. 45 See Fronia E. Wissman, Bouguereau (San Francisco: Pomegranate, 1996), 50. For a more indebt discussion on Bretons and Millets peasants images, see Gabriel Weisberg, The Realist Tradition: French Painting and Drawing 1830-1900 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980), 80-93. 35

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even in a later representation of the same subject Scholars such as Walker and Sturges believe this young knitter most likely to be inspired by on e of the summer trips the artist took to Brittany from 1866 to 1869. In his writing on this piece, Stur ges explains that [t]he full skirt and cut of her bodice suggest a variant of that regions national costume.46 While one must not be too quick to see this image as an unmediated snapsh ot of an actual peasant girl, the inclusion of authentic peasant attire in the work substantia tes Walkers claim that Bouguereaus style became more naturalistic after finalizing his business pa rtnership with Goupil th ree years prior. As Walker notes, Bouguereaus knitter exists as a delicate balance between the extreme classicizing idealizations of his early style and the more naturalistic tendencies of his later years.47 It is no surprise that duri ng these later years, Bouguereaus work begins to offer a more believable but still fanciful view of the peasantry than his genr e scenes modeled after the holy family. In 1875, Ren Mnard, a writer for Portfolio had this to say about Bouguereaus mythical view of peasant girls: Rusticity is not with this painter an instin ctive sentiment, and if he paints a patched petticoat he yet suggests an exquisitely clean figure: the naked feet he gives to his peasant-women seem to be made rather for elegant boots rather than for rude sabots; and in a word, it is as if the princesses transfor med into rustics by the magic wand in the fairy tales had come to be models for his pictur es, rather than the fat-cheeked lasses whose skin is scorched by the sun and whose shoulders are accustomed to heavy burdens.48 His commentary on the idealization of these young peasant girls, while seemingly accurate, only describes Bouguereaus works done prior to 1875. 46 Hollister Sturges, Angels and Urchins: Images of Children at the Joslyn (Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 1980), 57. 47 Mark Steven Walker, The Knitting Girl (Tricoteuse), in William Bouguereau, 1825-1905 ed. Louis dArgencourt and Mark Steven Walker, (Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1984), 179. 48 Fronia E. Wissman, Bouguereau (San Francisco: Pome granate, 1996), 51. 36

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A Shift in Perception Unlike the images of peasant adults and child ren completed during the earlier part of his artistic career, many of Bouguereau s later images offer a more naturalistic view of peasant children in rural France as he qui ckly began to dispense with th e classicizing qualities found in his earlier works. It was during these last decades of the century that the country began to take a serious look at all of its inhab itants, especially its children.49 Children came to be seen as the main component in keeping the country from dyi ng out, due to such issues as the degeneration and depopulation of French society. Joshua Cole, a historian of late nine teenth-century French culture, explains that [ h]istorians have usually seen the attention paid to the threat of depopulation as simply the domestic component of a renewed spirit of nationalism that followed the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.50 Just as the war brought problems of degeneration and de population to the forefront, pl acing such an importance on the role children played in securing the nations futu re also called into question issues directly associated with the idealized view of childhood c onstructed over a decade earlier. The countrys adultsof whom Bouguereau seem s to be no exceptionbegan to e xpress a renewed interest in the lives of all children, not just those of bourgeois families. While the artist had already taken on such themes as knitters, shepherdesses, and ot her occupations of rural girls, during the last three decades of his career he began to spend more and more time turning out images dealing specifically with rural, lower-class children th an during the earlier part of his career. 49 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 50. 50 Joshua Cole, The Power of Large Numbers: Population, Politics, and Gender in Nineteenth-Century France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000), 184. 37

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Many of Bouguereaus later images of ag rarian childhood completed during 1880s and 1890s illustrate an increased tendency on the part of the artist to represent idealized peasants as cognizant individuals. Such pensive expression can be seen Bouguereaus The Young Shepherdess of 1885 (Figure 11). Often set within th e fields of the French countryside, young shepherdesses typically embodied the seductive vi ew of peasantry that was so popular during the nineteenth-century; however, whil e she is known as the young shepherdess, she takes no part in any shepherding as the picture shows no sign of a ny physical labor. It is the three sheep located to the right of the young girl th at define her professionsmall background details secondary to the central figure. Bouguereau also emphasi zes her importance by placing the canvas on a vertical axis. In addition to th e orientation of the picture plane, the scale of the figure has been increased in such a way that she becomes the sole focal point for the entire painting. This image of a young shepherdess, like many others completed at this time of his career, retains a Knowing expression. In turn, instead of th e paintings intended audience be ing presented with an idealized view of rural childhood, th is child acknowledges the presence of her audience with an intense, brooding stare, the same audience sh e as a child and a peasant is s upposed to be ignorant of. As a child, she is meant to enjoy a care-free life of childhood innocence: a ut opian space, separate from adult cares and worries, free from sexuality. As a child and a peasant, she is supposed to exist outside social divisions, closer to nature and the primitive world.51 While her world is ideal, and her figure idealized, her knowing of he r place in relation to th e viewer(s) undermines her innocence. Aware of her own social and se xual position within society as a symbol of innocent childhood, there is a way in which this re presentation of rural girlhood complicates the 51 Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 3-4. 38

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idealized view of childhood and of peasantry m eant to be displayed in Bouguereaus genre scenes of peasant girls. Foundlings in Rural Society This change in Bouguereaus peasant repres entations came in the wake of increased concerns with the general welfare of abandoned ch ildren living within rura l France. When the Third Republic was declared in 1871 after Frances loss in the Franco-Prussian war, a renewed interest in the lives of children resulted in a questioning of what incident s were taking place that jeopardized childhood innocence and what actions could be taken in order to guarantee its survival. Ever since the beginni ng of the nineteenth century, the absence of nurturing parents, especially a mother figure, was thought to be the primary reason why ch ildren and young adults became delinquent members of society. Such a concept was expressed in many of Bouguereaus paintings of peasants. For Bouguereau, the imag e of the nurturing mother plays an important role in a number of his work. To return briefly to one of the artists early works, First Caresses one sees the traditional role of mother as nurturer not only included, but championed by such an image. Like mothers in many of his peasant scenes, she not only knows her role within the family dynamic, she embraces her purpose within the dynamic. House explains that these images display the Madonna/mother archetype as one that is subordinated to children particularly boy children.52 Evidence for Houses claim comes from such images as Bouguereaus First Caresses and Le retour des champs where it does seem that these mother figures exist for the sole be tterment of the child. B ouguereaus insistence on including a boy rather than a girl child seems to be telling as it shows the importance of having a 52 John House, Pompier Politics: Bouguereaus Art. Art in America 72 (1984): 143. 39

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male heir to inherit money and property.53 Robert Rosenblums comment on Bouguereaus images of this kind shed light on their context: We could write a whole treatise on 19thcentury facts and fi ctions about women, children, and families by studying his work, where typically for a period abandoned families, illegitimate children, and male defections from the church, fathers are virtually absent from both domestic and religious activities.54 Rosenblums comment is quite telling in that it exposes the multiple ways in which the viewer can understand the figures within these two scenes The audience is presented with a fantasy view of motherhood, one that displa ys all the necessary qualities of a succe ssful nurturer, while existing apart from the follies of society. It is also important to note Rosenblums observation about the missing father figure within the represen tation, as it points to a change in Bouguereaus later works from his earlier images of peasant fam ilies. While the absence of the father in this painting speaks to issues of abandoned families, Walk er also claims that it can be attributed to the absence of Bouguereaus own fa ther from the family circle.55 It is also telling that mothers in his peasant paintings seem to disappear entirely afte r the 1870s. His future peasant paintings are comprised of either a oneor two-figure composition in which children are shown to have guardian figure at all. no The same decade that witnessed the disappearance of mother figures within Bouguereaus rural peasant pain tings is one that can be defined by a general social acknowledgement of and changing attitude towa rds the nations abandoned children. The Third Republic began to instill newer, more tolerant ways of dealing with the ongoing problem rather 53 Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 17. 54 Robert Rosenblum, Resurrecting Bouguereau. In William Adolph Bouguereau: L'Art Pompier, (New York: Borghi & Co, 1991), 10. 55 Walker, Temptation. In William-Adolphe Bouguereau LArt Pompier 216-217. 40

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than simply wishing the problem would go aw ay on its own, and the French began to see abandoned children as victims of society who needed help from the state.56 For those illegitimate children who were unfortunate enough to be born of working-class mothers, foundlings who were abandoned at an early age, or those children whose families could not afford to keep the mother from any other form of work besides the nur turing and educating of her children, the absence of a mother figure was, in theory, meant to be filled by a foster or boarding family. During the nineteenth century, foundlings accounted for twenty percent of the live births in French cities, and many of these abandoned children made their way to foster homes and apprentice workshops in the French countryside For foster families, these young foundlings were a means of obtaining more monetary gai n, as the government offered incentives for taking in abandoned children until the child reached adoles cence. On the childs twelfth birthday, these young boys and girls would receive their last allotment of clothing from the government. Within a years time, one would either take on an intensiv e role within the family labor system or they were forced to find work at another site. This process almost always followed the same pattern as almost all of the youth from age twelve to twenty-one found work in some form of agricultural labor.57 Rachel Fuchs points out that in 1860 alone, there were 44,000 abandoned children engaged in agricultural labor in France. Since most of the children had Parisian or other urban mothers, this represents an out56 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 54. 57 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 256-257. 41

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migration from urban to a rural area.58 The increasing number of child abandonments and the continuing dissemination of foundlings from metropol itan areas such as Paris to smaller towns throughout the French countryside during the fo llowing decades help to expose the fairytale myth of peasants that most urban citizens chose to believe.59 It seems a bit difficult to view Bouguereaus many genre scenes as paintings of peasant children with simple and honest characters living equally simple lives after taking into account the excessive number of abandoned children and adolescents living and work ing within the French countryside. Unlike the idealized peasants in his Le retour des champs, many of the actual peas ants working within the fields were both younger and older children whose childhood innocence had already been compromised by their situation within soci ety as foundlings or working children. The Employing of Domestiques Bouguereaus increased interest in depicting young working gi rls comes at a time when society began to emphasize the importance of safeguarding childhood from such growing problems as the exploitation of children for sexua l and labor purposes. While the nineteenth century continued to promote the idealized view of childhood and understood the need to safeguard the nations children, the majority of working-classes families saw child labor as a necessity in that children played a crucial role either by completing daily tasks at home or by bringing in additional household income while working outside the home. In his writings on childhood in nineteenth-centu ry France, Heywood emphasizes the mixed emotions many 58 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 256. 59 Fuchs points out that during the 1880s and 1890s, the rate of childhood abandonment continued to rise due to a change in restrictions on abandonment. Mothers and their abandoned children we re seen less as social deviants and began to be perceived as victims. For more information, see Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 85. 42

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families felt about child labor. He explains that while some rural families continually worried about the future lives of their offspring, few could spare them a la borious childhood, in the drive to accumulate experience and savings for the future.60 The experience gained by these children and young adolescents while worki ng at home or being boarded out as domestiques or apprentices led to the acquisition of la bor-based knowledge crucial to the future success of these young individuals. 61 More often than not, this acquisi tion of knowledge was accompanied by an awareness of adult society and its issuesknowle dge that quickly replaced the so-called blank goodness associated with childhood innocence. No longer oblivious to the ills of adult life, older children began to rec ognize their own socio-sexual position within society. This awareness of adult life came quickly to those born into impoverished families. Children gained the skills they needed for the future by working alongside adults, but once they reached fourteen, they entered a cr itical phase in their life in whic h they were expected to start making moves towards securing their own futures. This phase would later be viewed as separate stage of childhood, termed in the early 1880s as adolescence. Heywood explains that for most adolescents, securing their futures inevitably meant looking towards marriage and the launching of a household. 62 For those children who were fortunate to be born the eldest son and stay within the walls of the family household, the process of securing their own future was relatively easy as it sometimes required the child simply to work alongside his parent s until they inherited 60 Colin Heywood, Childhood in Nineteenth-Century France: Work, health and education among the classes populaires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 39. 61 One out of every seven children between the ages fifteen and nineteen had been boarded in non-family houses. Despite their separation from their family, these absent children continued to send their earnings back to their families. See Colin Heywood, Childhood in Nineteenth-Century France: Work, health and education among the classes populaires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 37-38 62 Colin Heywood, Childhood in Nineteenth-Century France: Work, health and education among the classes populaires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 37-38 43

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their land. For all other children of the family (both daughters and younger sons), achieving independence often proved to be a painstaking process that last ed for many years until they reached a marriageable age (twent y-four to twenty-six for women, twenty-five to twenty-eight for men).63 Unlike the children of well-to-do fam ilies, the lives of working-class children contradicted the myth of childhood innocence, as their survival (as well as the survival of their families) depended on their ability to genera te revenue through various forms of labor. One way in which older rural children s ought to make moves towards securing their independence was to either become an apprentice or a domestique for a new master. Heywoods data on the subject illustrates how prevalent child employment was within rural society in that one out of every seven children over the age of fourteen was placed in such positions. When work was scarce or an older childs family was in need of additional income, the opportunity to become a domestique within the household of another mast er was often taken advantage of by older children. Many of th ese children of underprivi leged families were often boarded at various rural and urban labor centers throughout the country just as foundlings were taken in by lowerclass foster families under the recommendation and encouragement of the government; however, this transferring of children to different househol ds for monetary or li ability reasons did not guarantee that these children received any sort of comparable care to what the traditional family dynamic was perceived to produce. Many of these foster children were treated as second-rate citizens within their new householdsa circumstan ce that often led idleness and to the eventual delinquency that the states prog rams were meant to inhibit. 63 Colin Heywood, Childhood in Nineteenth-Century France: Work, health and education among the classes populaires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 41. For the discussion of acceptable ages for adolescents to marry, see Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in NineteenthCentury France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 53. 44

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The youth of rural families often took on an extensive workload in the repetitious lifestyle of rural society. For the most part, peasant girls were meant to take on multiple duties in and around the family domicile. Heywood hi ghlights the grueling lifestyle many young adolescent girls were meant to live in his text: The peasant girl slipped into the daily of the fermire, either within her own family, or as a servant for another. Her day might begin with a long walk to the ne arest town, in order to sell milk and other farm produce on the market. She would be expected to milk the cows, feed the poultry, help with the cooking, ta ke food to the men working in the fields, fetch water from a well or spring a nd start the endless round of spinning.64 Here, Heywood lists many of the duties a peasant girl was expected to carry out on a daily basis. This passage can offer insight into Bouguer eaus paintings of young peasants who invoke a specific mode of work but who do not actively partic ipate in it. Such an example can be seen in Bouguereaus Young Girl of 1886 (Figure 12). In this pain ting, Bouguereau presents his viewers with another vertically orie nted composition, much like his Young Shepherdess completed on year earlier. In this painting, Bouguereau presents his view ers with yet another vertically oriented composition, much like his Young Shepherdess completed one year earlie r. This young girl is shown standing all alone in a scene of endless cliff tops. Once again, except for the viewer, the absence of an adult presence within the pictur e emphasizes the unsupervis ed existence of this young adolescent. As she pensivel y stares out towards the right side of the canvas, this young girl either fails to or chooses not to acknowle dge the gaze of the viewer ; however, her intense gaze seems to be focused on the unseen individua l whose presence, either physical or evoked by the young girls thoughts, is suggested by the note cl enched in the girls ri ght fist. James Peck, head curator of a recent Bouguer eau exhibition, explains that [ t]his implied narrative would 64 Colin Heywood, Childhood in Nineteenth-Century France: Work, health and education among the classes populaires (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 28. 45

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explain the maidens intent gaze off to her left and the psychological tension of the painting.65 Such tension threatens the idealized scenes as young peasant girls were supposed to retain innocent lives both as children and as peasants. The emotional appearance of this peasant child is also telling as it also undermines the them e of the Romantic child despite her apparent closeness to nature. As Kincaid, one of th e leading scholars of childhood, appropriately explains, [a]n unhappy child was and is unnatural, an indictment of somebody: parent, institution, nation.66 In his choice to include such discont ented faces in his later genre scenes such as this, Bouguereau undermines the appe aling marginality of these child peasants. In addition to the cognizant appearance of th is young girls face, the lack of physical work taking place in the scene is also telli ng as it highlights inconsistencies plaguing the idealized view of rural childhood. Unlike the ha rd-working peasants of more naturalistic painters painting at this time, Bouguereau chos e to emphasize a more id ealized view of rural labor rather than harsh realities actual peasants were often s ubjected to. In whitewashing the lives of peasant children by removing the pres ence of actual labor, Bouguereau calls into question the inherent innocence of rural childhood, es pecially for those children hired as domestiques As the nineteenth century progres sed, childhood innocence was thought to be safeguarded by instilling discipline in children at an early age. Those children who were seen as delinquents were thought to be predisposed to laziness and vagabondage. Without an adult to supervise this working child, she falls into an id le state that can easily be seen as delinquent rather than ideal. Such a reading is emphasi zed by the sloping cliffs in the paintings background, as they draw the eyes of the viewer to the folded arms of this young girl. Unlike 65 James F. Peck, In the Studios of Paris: William Bouguereau and His American Students (Tulsa: Philbrook Museum of Art, 2006), 108. 66 James R. Kincaid, Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture (New York: Routledge, 1992), 80. 46

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Bouguereaus Knitting Girl that was done almost twenty ye ars earlier, the artist makes no attempt even to hint at any work taking place within the scene. Just like the girl po rtrayed in Bouguereaus Young Girl, children and young adolescents who had a substandard work ethic were alwa ys interpreted as a sign of delinquencya delinquency specific to those who lacked a traditi onal family. It was these negative qualities laziness, vagabondage, thieving, and sexual licentiousnessthat educating and apprenticing of adolescents worked so hard to ameliorate. When a child chose to leave his or her employment, their fleeing was often the site of discussion, as it was seen as an act of defiance by delinquent youths; however, as Fuchs appropriately points out, [t]o some extent, government officials predicated their policies on ideology rather than on real problems.67 While many working-class youths left their positions of labor more often than not, they did so in response to some form of mistreatment by their masters. Nevertheless, Third Republic Frances comprehension of why children left their apprenticeships and foster families almost always centered on the delinquency of the child and not on the faults of the adult. These child workers who fled from their masters, as Fuchs explains, were regarded as delinquents who wandered the streets of Paris and the roads of the countryside or went in search of employment that suited them. Police often picked up boys as vagabonds and girls as prostitutes.68 While some of these charges may have been true, many of the young individuals picked up for devian t behavior were simply homeless, tired, and 67 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 264. 68 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 259. 47

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hungry. After their apprehension, they were often sent to ne w foster families or a new employer.69 While many children who fled from their mast ers were picked up by th e authorities, some evaded apprehension completely. These youths often found refuge in larger cities such as Paris and La Rochelle. Once in town, these children we re hardly distinguishable from urban workingclass youth, perhaps only in their ru stic dress. One such painting of Bouguereaus that illustrates this issue is his Bohemian completed in 1890 (Figure 13). Here, Bouguereau renders an image of an adolescent girl set on the ba nk of the Seine in Paris. A one-figure composition solely focused on the young musician, the viewer is forced to look at the lower-class ch ild before any other detail in the work. This image follows the newe r set of conventions that Bouguereau started to include in his later genre scenes of peasants. While this young maiden does not reside in the countryside, she still takes on the qualities of a peasant as she can be s een as a simple person with little financial means. Most importantly, sh e is a marginal figure, just like any of the other farmers or knitters Bouguereau chose to paint, and her marginality both as a Bohemian and as a child takes on mythical qualities. Although the Impressionists of th e nineteenth century used the image of a petty bourgeois tourist to illustrate bohemian s ubject matter, the more traditiona l view the Bohemian was most often associated with vaga bondage. In her text titled Gypsies and Other Bohemians Marilyn Brown illustrates the change in subject during th e last decades of the century and Bouguereaus relation to such a redefining of the term. She explains that artists li ke Bouguereau and Corot were the painters of real bohemians in that they continued to depict these marginal figures as 69 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 265.. 48

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vagabonds.70 Just like domestiques who fled their place of employment, often finding their way into the city, these urban bohemians seemed to mirror such a lifestyle. One can even see a similarity in costume with bot h the young girl depicted in The Broken Pitcher and his Young Shepherdess a point of discussion that begs the question of whet her or not the articles of clothing are part of the artists own personal collection of props or simplified, idealized garments. Regardless of their authenticity, the similarity links the Bohemian to peasantry in the general sense of the term. The countless amounts of peasant children who migrated to cities in search of work may also account for the correlation. In accordance with the many scenes of rural peasantry that Bouguereau completes during the last decades of his career, the appearance of the girl is indeed telling as it makes reference to a number of issues. While this young bohemians gaze is indirectly aimed at the viewer, her pensive look suggests she is an individual aware of her own so cial position as a marginal character on the periphery of Parisian society. Unlike many of Bouguereaus shepherdesses and knitters that show no physical signs of hardship, there is an atte mpt on the part of Bouguereau to display the everyday circumstances of a vagabonds lif e, though this display of filth comes in an idealized form. Bouguereau includes only two blemishes on the body of this young musician. The first one comes in the form of dirt undernea th the fingernail of the young girls left index finger, quite possibly the result of playing a stringed instrume nt. This inclusion of dirt underneath the nail of this young maiden is subt le, just as the dirty left foot has been appropriately hidden underneath the girls long skirt. At first glance, this dirt seems to be only a shadow, but in taking a closer look at the top of her foot, it becomes all the more obvious. Compared to more realist painters, Bouguereau ideal izes his subjects, even if their position is far 70 Marilyn R. Brown, Gypsies and Other Bohemians: The Myth of the Artist in Nineteenth-Century France (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1985), 94. 49

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from idyllic. Still, the placement of the dirty foot within the shadow of the girls skirt is telling. Perhaps even Bouguereau acknowledges the irony in idealizing a person w hose existence is far from noble. 50

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CONCLUSION It was during the last decades of the nineteenth century that upperand middle-class adults began to see children as innocent, but al so as cognizant members of society. Not only were adults expected to protec t their children from the physical dangers present in both city and rural life, these developi ng anxieties about children losing thei r innocence also motivated parents to protect their child rens minds as well as their bodi es. Childhood education became the primary means for protecting th e minds of the nations youth. As Fuchs points out, during the 1880s and 1890s, privileged children began stay ing in school longer, often [becoming] more knowledgeable than the parents, 71 a defining difference from the previous generations of children that led to the constr uction of adolescence or youth. While education was seen as a defense against delinquency of children from a ll economic backgrounds, it failed to protect the disadvantaged youth of both rural and urban working class families, especi ally those children of impoverished mothers who were left alone for extended periods of time and foundlings who were forced to work instead of attending school Because of their continual exposure to the harsh realities of working-class life, poor chil dren had the highest risk of becoming corrupt.72 They were fully aware of the filt hy, corrupt society of which they were a part and this awareness precluded the blank goodness or innocence that was so crucial in the nur turing process of the Romantic child. The risk of corruption was thought not to apply to rural, working-class children, as the myth of peasantry as honest, innocent li ving continued to permeate the minds of middleand upper-class citizens. 71 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 53. 72 Rachel Fuchs, Abandoned Children: Foundlings and the Child Welfare in Nineteenth-Century France (Albany: State U. of New York, 1984), 52-53. 51

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Still, some of Bouguereaus images of young peasant girls produced during the 1880s and 1890s reflect the growing concerns over the corruption of childhood i nnocence through the represented childs own self-awareness of her existence as an object of desire for adults. The corruption of childhood innocence is brought abou t by a growing sexual as well as a social awareness in children and adolescents. Alt hough whitewashed and idealized, in recognizing their idealization as representa tions of rural children, these young girls are K nowing children who display awareness to contemporary social issues taking place in the lives of late nineteenthcentury working-class children. In taking up this line of argument, I depart from the typical readings of these paintings that have tended to revolve around the artists style and choice of subject matter, and that take litt le or no interest in the physical appearances of these represented subjects. Much like Sturges, I am inclined to s ee these images as representative of deeper issues rather than simply as an extension of cl assical subject-matter called living antique.73 Many critics saw Bouguereaus works as nothing more that banal replic ations of classical poses74 that could easily stand in as sentimental sc enes of rural peasant life as much as they could be rehashed as Madonna and child compositions. Ultimately, this has linked Bouguereau to a conservative market and his choice to continue to produce works for that market is telling. As early as the 1860s, Bouguereaus work began to be severely critici zed by many contemporary critics for being prime examples of the academic banality that only the unsophisticated middleclass could enjoy, and it seems that such analys es coupled with Bouguereau s artistic and social 73 See Robert Isaacson, Introduction to William-Adolphe Bouguereau: The New York Cultural Center, in Association with Fairleigh Dickinson University, 13 December 1974 to 2 February 1975 ed. Mario Amaya, 7-19 (New York : The Center, 1975) 13. 74 Albert Boime, The Academy and French Painting in the Nineteenth Century (London: Phaidon, 1971), 19. While Biome does not use the term to specifically comment on Bo uguereaus representations of young peasants, he does use the term banality to describe the pompier art with which Bouguereau is so often equated. 52

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conservativism have hindered other interpretations of his later works. Regardless of their positive or negative critiques of his peasant scenes critics, like his adoring public, believed this type of imagery simply to be idealized, sentimen tal genre scenes that posed no threat to the social order.75 At a time when critics of art were championing a modern art that reflected modern life, the classicizing qual ities that Bouguereaus peasant scenes sought to portray came to be seen as nostalgic subj ects for painting that resembled nothing of the modern world. Bouguereau would continue to pa int these stylized images of idealized peasan ts until his death in 1905. However, the appearance of many of his knitters and shepherdesses would gradually change during the last thirty years of the century. In many of the peasant scenes done during the 1880s and 1890s, the naturally innoc ent faces one would expect to find in a supposedly care-free agrarian scene are replaced by those that show an awareness of their own existence as objects of desire fo r the audience. Thes e peasants then become what Higonnet calls Knowing children: children that appear to be endowed with psychological or physical individuality while at the same time remaining distinctively child-like.76 Like a clean, blank slate onto which adults could pr oject their own ideals, these representations of peasants recognize that they too are the products of an adult projectio nsocietys own conception of idyllic childhood as being cl ose to nature and unaware of adul t society. In returning the gaze, they undermine both the myth of childhood innocence and of agrarian life existing in the minds of late-nineteenth century societ y in that they no longer exist as black individuals unaware of both adult and bourgeois society. As Jenkins puts it, it is th e innocent child that wants nothing, 75 Fronia E. Wissman, Bouguereau (San Francisco: Pome granate, 1996), 33. 76 Anne Higonnet, Pictures of Innocence: The Hist ory and Crisis of Ideal Childhood (New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, 1998), 12. 53

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desires nothing, and demands nothingexcept, perhaps, its own innocence.77 By contrast, many of Bouguereaus later represen tations appear to want nothing mo re than to have thei innocence returnedor rather their own ignorance of their existence as objects of desire reestablished. r lost 77 Henry Jenkins, The Children's Culture Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 1-2. 54

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LIST OF REFERENCES Ares, Phillipe. Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life. Translated by Robert Baldick. New York: Vintage, 1962. Boime, Albert. The Academy and French Painting in the Nineteenth Century London: Phaidon, 1971. Brown, Marilyn R. Gypsies and Other Bohemians: The Myth of the Artist in NineteenthCentury France Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1985. Calvert, Karin. Children in the House: The Materi al Culture of Early Childhood, 16001900. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992. Cole, Joshua. The Power of Large Numbers: Population, Politics, and Gender in Nineteenth-Century France Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000. Cook, Clarence. Art and Artists of Our Time New York: Selmar Hess, 1888. DArgencourt, Louise. Bouguereau a nd the Art Market in France. In William Bouguereau, 1825-1905: Muse Du Petit-Palai s, Paris, 9 February-6 May 1984, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 22 June -23 September 1984, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, 27 October 1984-13 January 1985 edited by Louis dArgencourt and Mark Steven Walker, 95-103. Montreal: Mont real Museum of Fine Arts, 1984. Dijkstra, Bram. Idols of perversity: Fantasies of Fe minine Evil in Fin-de-Siecle Culture New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Fourment Alain. Histoire de la presse, et des journaux denfants (1768-1988) Paris: Ecole, 1987. Fuchs, Rachel. Abandoned Children: Foundlings and th e Child Welfare in NineteenthCentury France Albany: State University of New York, 1984. Green, Anna. French Paintings of Childhood and Adolescence, 1848-1886 Hampshire: Ashgate, 2007. Heywood, Colin. Childhood in Nineteenth-Century Fr ance: Work, health and education among the classes populaires. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Higonnet, Anne. Pictures of Innocence: The Hist ory and Crisis of Ideal Childhood New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, 1998. House, John. Pompier Polit ics: Bouguereaus Art. Art in America 72 (1984): 141-144. 55

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Isaacson, Robert. Collecting Bouguereau in England and America. In William Bouguereau, 18251905: Muse Du Petit-Palais, Paris, 9 Febr uary-6 May 1984, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 22 June-23 September 1984, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, 27 October 1984-13 January 1985 edited by Louis dArgencourt and Mark Steven Walker, 104-113. Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1984. ---. Introduction to William-Adolphe Bouguereau: The New York Cultural Center, in Association with Fairleigh Dickinson University, 13 December 1974 to 2 February 1975: Catalogue and Selection by Mario Amaya, 7-19. New York: The Center, 1975. Jenkins, Henry. The Children's Culture Reader New York: New York University Press, 1998. Kincaid, James R. Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture New York: Routledge, 1992. Parks, J. A. Naughty & Nice: Children's Port raits [Exhibit: The Changing Face of Childhood: Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, England]. American Artist v. 72 (February 2008): 4859. Pearsall, Ronald. The Worm in the Bud: The World of Victorian Sexuality New York: Macmillan, 1969. Peck, James F. In the Studios of Paris: Willia m Bouguereau and His American Students Tulsa: Philbrook Museum of Art, 2006. Robson, Catherine. Men in Wonderland: The Lost Gi rlhood of the Victorian Gentlemen Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001. Rosen, Charles, and Henri Zerner. Romanticism and Realism: The Mythology of Nineteenth-Century Art New York: Viking Press, 1984. Rosenblum, Robert. Resurrecting Bouguereau. In William Adolph Bouguereau: L'Art Pompier. New York: Borghi & Co, 1991. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, mile, translated by Barbara Foxley. New York: Dutton, 1963. ---. On Reasoning with Children. In The Portable Age of Reason Reader edited by Crane Brinton. New York: Viking, 1956. Sturges, Hollister. Angels and Urchins: Images of Children at the Joslyn Omaha: Joslyn Art Museum, 1980. Vachon, Marius. W. Bouguereau Paris: A. Lahure, 1900. 56

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Walker, Mark Steven. Bouguereau at Work. In William Bouguereau, 1825-1905: Muse Du Petit-Palais, Paris, 9 February6 May 1984, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 22 June-23 September 1984, the Wadswort h Atheneum, Hartford, 27 October 198413 January 1985 edited by Louis dArgencourt and Mark Steven Walker, 71-82. Montreal: Montreal Muse um of Fine Arts, 1984. ---. Chronology. In William-Adolphe Bouguereau LArt Pompier 77-84. New York: Borghi & Co, 1991. ---. The Realist Tradition: Fren ch Painting and Drawing 1830-1900 Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980. Wissman, Fronia E. Bouguereau. San Francisco: Pomegranate, 1996. 57

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58 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kyle Aaron Roberts received his BA in Art from the University of Central Florida in 2005. As an undergraduate student, his research cent ered on ancient and Gothic architecture and sculpture within Christendom. Wh ile at University of Central Florida, Kyle also worked at the Orlando Museum of Art where he researched and wrote educational material for the 2004 exhibition, Patterns of Life: Bold and Powerful Ndebele Art of South Africa. As a masters student at the University of Flor ida, he began to focus on the wo rk of late nineteenth-century French Academic painters such as Bouguereau Germe, and Girodet. His interest in representations of children by such artists Bougu ereau and Sargent ultimately led him to question how these images functioned for their contempora ry European and American audiences. During his time at the University of Florida, he also helped to organize the Society of Art History Graduates fifth annual symposium Muses and Means: Patronizing the Arts which took place in 2007.