Tuesday, 10 November 2015

‘Reading Boy,’ by Johann Baptist Reiter, 1861

Lesender Knabe (Reading Boy), 1861, Johann Baptist Reiter (Áustrian painter) 1813 - 1890
oil on canvas, 60 x 48 cm. Österreichische Galerie, Vienna

Historian Scott Powell writes . . .

As much as I like paintings about reading, I much prefer paintings about *thinking.* Readers depicted in art to often seem to be passively receiving inspiration or being led into some other place. I like a reader who distances himself from the book like this, with a tilt of the head and a sideways glance that speaks of consideration, even scepticism. This boy is not just "taking it in" or being swept along. He has a critical, self-activated mind.

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