Four Children by Augustine Esteve
About a month ago, I made a visit to the San Antonio Museum of Art. The museum offered a huge array of pieces and exhibits. After spending a fun filled two hours combing through the museum’s awesome collections (Btw, I enjoyed the amulets and relics in the glass exhibits tremendously!), there were three pieces which made quite an impression on me. I left thinking how do I choose from the best of three—each having the power to intrigue or move me in some way. I felt a definite connection with each of the pieces. The piece I ended up choosing was on the 4th floor in the European Section. It was a painting by Agustin Esteve entitled Four Children. It is oil on canvas, 97 inches by 23 inches, and was painted in the late 18th century. When I first came by this painting, I tried to avoid reading the label on it, so that I could try and understand the piece before I allowed someone else to inform my perspective. I remember feeling a sense of mysticism to it when I first seen it. The painting depicts four children in a dark woody area. There appears to be a fog behind them. The child in the middle is dressed in all black with a bird in his hand. The piece seemed to evoke fear in me at first ( I am still not sure why!) Perhaps it was the colors and tones which helped to create that unsettling feeling(dramatic effect). Right off, I noticed the lines used were soft and smooth, like Renoir employs in his paintings/portraits. The emphasis was on the children in the center of the picture. My first impression was that the kids were lost somewhere and very afraid, but that idea did not mesh well with me because one the boys seemed to cling to him, while the other stared off into the distance with no emotion in his eyes, and he seemed to be leading the boy away with his eyes. Off to the far right is a young girl dressed in her Sunday best, with a flower and black pendant in her left hand and a ribbon on her chest. The description of the...
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