"Consider the child." In 2007 that is standard procedure in most cultures. 300 years ago in the Western world, though, we were only beginning to adjust our concepts of children, realizing that they were autonomous human beings and not merely small adults. Artists began to approach painting children's portraits in a more natural way, portraying them as children in the throes of childhood (also a new societal concept).
Here we have a selection of images from the special exhibition The Changing Face of Childhood: British Children's Portraits and their Influence in Europe, on view at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, April 20 to July 15, 2007 and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, August 1 to November 4, 2007. Arranged chronologically, the pictures survey children in landscapes unaccompanied by adults and illustrate the influence of British painters' awareness of "children" and "childhood" on the rest of European art from the early 17th through the mid-19th centuries.