Picks and Pans Review: Metropolitan Children
text by Barbara Burn
Like Metropolitan Cats and Metropolitan Flowers, this book is primarily an excuse to round up works from the collection of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is so much variety in the ways artists have portrayed children that there's not much generalizing to be done, though Burn, a museum staffer, makes a halfhearted try in her introduction: "All of us would agree...that childhood is a complex period, and that children can be as willful and annoying as they are vulnerable and appealing." The lack of theory behind Burn's theme hardly matters, though, so fascinating is the range of the 128 beautifully reproduced works she has chosen. (The time span runs from ancient Egypt to twentieth century U.S.) Burn's captions are amusing as well as explanatory. She notes, for instance, the wonderful scene that developed while Edouard Manet was painting The Monet Family in Their Garden in 1874. As his family posed, Claude Monet was painting Manet at work. Then their friend Renoir dropped by. He started painting too. (Abrams, $27.50)
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