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Students in the undergraduate seminar Here’s Looking at You Kid: Picturing Children, Envisioning Childhood, led by Dr. Loren Lerner, Professor in the Department of Art History at Concordia University, have produced a compelling body of research on eighty-two artworks in the permanent collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts that portray children, childhood and family in different historical and cultural contexts.

The descriptive analyses are in-depth studies of individual works and examine a variety of topics, including the gendered education of youth in modern Europe, female adolescent sexuality and identity, the autonomy of children, the Romantic ideal of childhood innocence and the Holy Family in Christianity.

The exhibition essays, each providing a comparative analysis of three or four artworks, address subjects such as the evolution of children’s clothing in early modern and modern Europe; poor and destitute children in late-nineteenth-century Europe; the commemoration of deceased children through miniature portraiture; and the perception of Roman Catholic children in twentieth-century Quebec as the tangible presence of the divine.

The student works were conceived by artists in the Studio Arts program at Concordia University led by Raymonde April, Laura Endacott and Tema Stauffer. Each work, described by an Art History student, relates to a specific object from the Museum reflecting the thematic focus of the seminar. These evocative installations, photographs, drawings and textile and video artworks are exceedingly personal explorations of often universal experiences such as resisting parental restrictions and pressures, commemorating the life of an ill or deceased family member, and dealing with being physically and/or emotionally distant from one’s family.

In addition, the video with Loren Lerner and Laura Endacott provides an overview of the project, and the Art History students’ discussions of specific works draw attention to certain issues and questions that informed their various interpretive approaches.   

Tara Ng


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Family Works: A Multiplicity of Meanings and Contexts. 
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