What's wrong with babies in old paintings

What's wrong with babies in old paintings

Categories: Children | Culture | History

Even if you are not interested in painting at all, you still noticed how strange children were portrayed several centuries ago. Yes, adults, especially in the Middle Ages, also did not work for all artists. But this is nothing compared to what the masters of fine art did with babies.

What's wrong with babies in old paintings

Even if we take the enlightened Renaissance, it becomes clear that not everything is well with the images of children. It seemed that it could be easier for a creative person to look at a child who is much easier to find in Europe than an elephant. But no, for some reason, strange and even creepy characters come out from under the brush of the painters.

What's wrong with babies in old paintings

From the canvases of masters, even quite venerable ones, Madonnas look at us, on whose hands are pitching babies, old men, reptilians, the dead, mutants with square heads, with faces bitten by bees and so on. Despite the fact that the artists conveyed adults quite realistically, anatomically reliable children were not painted as if on purpose.

What's wrong with babies in old paintings

What is the reason for the phenomenon of the baby on ancient canvases and icons? Art historians have two hypotheses about this. The first one says that artists 400-500 years ago rarely painted from nature. Probably, babies were simply "copied" from each other. Gradually, the new versions moved away from the original as much as possible and so frightening babies appeared.

What's wrong with babies in old paintings

The second version is deeper, while it does not cancel the previous one. The fact is that the lion's share of all babies in medieval paintings is the image of Jesus Christ. The newborn Son of God was written both young and wise in life. No one needed Jesus in the image of a baby-a silly one. He had to combine a child who is above all earthly things and knows his sad fate well.

What's wrong with babies in old paintings

Agree, it is not easy to combine the features of an infant and an adult sage in a child. But the artists tried their best, each using their own imagination and skill. Therefore, kids are all strange in different ways and often look like little old men in general.

What's wrong with babies in old paintings

Previously, such a discrepancy did not bother anyone. Looking at the image of the Madonna and Child, Christians saw, first of all, a schematic image. It simultaneously contains the past, present and future, and the author tries to tell the viewer all the sorrow of the Savior's story in one image.

What's wrong with babies in old paintings

By the end of the Renaissance, the situation had improved. Babies have become plump, ruddy and more realistic. The concept of infant innocence came into fashion, and children finally began to be drawn from nature. But such a positive shift has not occurred everywhere. In the countries where Orthodoxy reigns, the canons of Byzantine art are still used in iconography. Therefore, icons with emaciated "adult" babies are the norm.

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