Daughters of Edward Boit
John Singer Sargent


the little girls in the painting are arranged in an informal setting the room is devoid of much decoration the only item that can be discerned is a vase against which one of the girls is leaning while she talks to her sister. Indeed her attention is on her sister not the artist or the viewer, the sister next to her on the other hand is gazing at the viewer, these two girls look almost like they are ready to put aside their toys and step into adulthood. There is a child standing separate from her two elder sisters her expression and stance is that of a disinterested person, she isnt interested in what the elder sisters are talking about and she is too old to join in with her younger sister playing on the floor with her doll.

Is this merely a family portrait or is there a deeper meaning to the painting? There is surely the innocence of childhood depicted by the child playing with the doll on the floor. And yet the older children have moved beyond the toys of childhood and become young teenagers. The painting itself could be seen as a depiction of time passing for the girls. From the playing with dolls to the gossipping of young girls and beyond into adulthood.

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