Boy in a Landscape

  • Unidentified, Boy in a Landscape, ca. 1840, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of William Boswell in memory of H. Curley Boswell, 1973.152.1

A confident pose marks this young sitter as a fearless boy who is comfortable in the out-of-doors. In mid-nineteenth-century America, society expected different things from boys and girls. Childhood was seen as an important stage in life when girls were encouraged to learn lessons of self-sacrifice and service, while boys were urged to be daring and aggressive. Contemporary books and images portrayed the American boy as fun-loving and independent. After the Civil War, the image of healthy, happy children became even more important to a nation shaken by the loss of its own innocence and confidence (Mintz, Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood, 2004; Clapper, I Was Once a Barefoot Boy!”: Cultural Tensions in a Popular Chromo,” American Art, Summer 2002).

Title
Boy in a Landscape
Artist
Date
ca. 1840
Location
Dimensions
26 7821 78 in. (68.255.7 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of William Boswell in memory of H. Curley Boswell

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Portrait male – unidentified – waist length
  • Portrait male – unidentified – child
Object Number
1973.152.1
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI