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An Introduction to Interpreting Images of Family, Mother and Child, and the Home

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers the tendency to view art works depicting children and the family as too easily familiar and easily understood. In this regard, in relation to research on Japanese art history, the author examines the object descriptions in Utamaro, a book written by the French author Edmond de Goncourt. The author discusses Kusumi Morikage's work, Family Enjoying the Evening Cool, the Japanese pre-modern masterpiece still beloved by many today, depicting an ordinary family. He considers Dutch art, the unique nature of this country within European society. Seventeenth-century Dutch portraits can be largely divided into two types, the first being those private portraits created as adornment of private homes and to be viewed only by either the subject of the painting or by those in his or her inner circle. The other type, public portraits, were created for viewing by an indeterminate number of people, and put on public display.

Keywords: Edmond de Goncourt; European society; Japanese art; Kusumi Morikage; seventeenth-century Dutch portraits



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