Impressionable Youth

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Themes of childhood and family recur in nineteenth-century French Impressionist painting, from Berthe Morisot’s experimental self-portraits with her daughter Julie Manet, to Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s everyday scenes of his three sons and their nanny. Drawing primarily upon works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, this lecture will closely examine how artists associated with Impressionism depicted children, whether their own or those of their siblings, patrons, and artistic peers, across a rich body of informal portraiture. The child-rearing experiences and philosophies of Morisot and Renoir will also be explored before taking an in-depth look at the creative legacy that art collector Julie Manet and filmmaker Jean Renoir inherited from their artistic parents.