I thought this one was worth adding because Francis Owen Salisbury was a deeply religious and conservative portraitist. He painted many pictures of his twin daughters, including this nude study. But how is it that such a conservative, religious artist paints naked children? The simple answer is that our attitude to the naked child has changed. Salisbury would have intended that his painting be interpreted as an evocation of childhood innocence. The nudity represents a pre-Fall state of grace that all children were said to possess. So just as Adam and Eve wandered the Garden of Eden without shame, so children’s nudity was meant to be without shame.

How is it that the modern religious conservative automatically assumes a sinister meaning to the naked child?

2 Responses to Francis Owen Salisbury

  1. Icthus says:

    The painting is called “Wonders of the Sea” and the girls names are Monica and Sylvia, born in 1902. It is generally agreed that it was painted by their father in 1909, even though the date by his signature on the painting is 1912. There is an original print for sale on eBay for about $500 US. I wonder if you could find yourself in trouble in some countries if you bought it and displayed it in your house?

    • Ray says:

      I think it would be okay in most western countries – not so much in Muslim countries. Thanks for the info on their names

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