An Atmospheric Oil on Canvas; Anon; `Screaming Child`


Origin: Unknown
Period: Late Eighteenth / Early Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1790-1820
Canvas Height: 5 inches
Canvas Width: 7 inches

Painted in oils on canvas, the fragment cut down from a larger composition, showing a full-faced child with golden flowing locks, red rosy cheeks, open mouthed in distress, the head tilted looking up.

Although fairly dirty, the quality of the painting is really rather good, there is a commensurate amount of craquelure across the canvas with small areas of loss to the lower right corner and it remains unframed at present. It could therefore be cleaned and framed if so desired, but we here like to leave things untouched. There is a small ring attachment for hanging.

As this is a fragment from a larger work, the fact that we don’t know what this child is so upset about makes the picture all the more intriguing and although the subject is clearly not at all happy we think it makes for a very interesting and intimate picture. Clearly the larger composition was more than likely of a more considerable size, and the colours, style and condition point to quite an early work. The swirling ochre and deep inky black background sees the illuminated child’s face emerge as though in a darkened room.

What we cannot see here is just as suggestive as what we can, thus the picture poses more questions than it provides answers. This, we like.