Debate: Children in art, exploitation or creative? Creative
One example that I will use for the debate is "The Guitar" by Balthus produced in 1934. I want to write it down in this blog since it has a lot of hidden meanings which although I am tackling the Italian Renaissance for my dissertation, I found that it would be interesting to list it down in this blog entry even though it comes from a different era of art.
The Guitar Lesson’ was one out of five artworks Balthus had exhibited in his first solo exhibition in the Gallery Pierre in Paris in 1934.
The Artwork was of a huge scandal which triggered a lot of bad media on the Balthus.
Gaston Poulin called Balthus as “a fanatic nymphomaniac… naïve and crude style… and the cruellest painter than Goya and Rouault.”
Nowadays the painting belongs to a private collector.
At the time, it was so scandalous that it was presented in a private room covered with curtains for the “special” public to view.
Balthus himself feared for forty years that if the artwork were to be printed or exhibited again the public would scold him and they would misunderstand the whole concept which in turn ended up being controversial.
Before one can criticize the aesthetics of the artwork like most critics do, one must understand the hidden meanings behind it.
This artwork shows the sadistic violence the teacher does on the female student.
The child is laying on the teacher’s laps, the same position of the Pieta, this may suggest that Jesus had reincarnated as a girl.
The girl’s body is made to resemble a guitar; her hair is the guitar’s neck and the imaginary strings are in the girl’s genital area.
The guitar’s noise hole is symbolising the child’s loss of innocence. The child’s clothing colour shows the transitioning from virginity to the impurity of sexual desires.
The wallpaper’s vertical lines symbolise a cage which metaphorically represent that the child will be judged and subjected. The green lines represent the girl’s freshness and early stages of her puberty.
The piano symbolises the next stage of the teenager becoming a woman.
Bibliography: The Adoration or Perversity of Childhood in Balthus’s Paintings | Andre Pijet. 2017. The Adoration or Perversity of Childhood in Balthus’s Paintings | Andre Pijet. [ONLINE] Available at: http://pijet.com/2008/06/16/the-adoration-or-perversity-of-childhood-in-balthuss-paintings/. [Accessed 01 April 2017].