Children on the Beach (1884) by Mary Cassatt

Children on the Beach - Mary Cassatt - 1884

Artwork Information

TitleChildren on the Beach
ArtistMary Cassatt
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions74.3 x 97.7 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

About Children on the Beach

Mary Cassatt’s impressionistic painting “Children Playing on the Beach” depicts two small children playing in the sand with pails and shovels. The background features the ocean and boats, giving the piece a sense of depth. Despite reworking almost every area of the canvas, the painting still exudes spontaneity and freshness.

Cassatt’s affinity for depicting the bond between mother and child is evident in this piece. It’s possible that “Children Playing on the Beach” is an idealized memory of Cassatt’s relationship with her deceased sister. The artist redirected her focus toward themes of child-rearing and women caring for children in the 1890s, showing her natural inclination for depicting these subjects.

Cassatt’s artistic style was also influenced by Japanese aesthetics, leading her to produce prints such as “The Child’s Bath.” Born into an affluent family in Pennsylvania in 1844, Cassatt studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Overall, “Children Playing on the Beach” is a testament to Cassatt’s keen eye for detail and her ability to capture the essence of childhood innocence through her art.

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