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?
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