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The Playground

Artist: Engraving by Ferdinand Jean Joubert F.S.A. (1800-1884), French;
From a painting by Thomas Webster R.A. (1800-1886), British
Year: c.1859
Medium: Intaglio etching with small amount of line engraving on paper
Size: Height - 26.25", Width - 48"
Original location: Upstairs

Ferdinand Jean Joubert was a French engraver who gained popularity in both Paris and London. The majority of his work focuses on portraits and his skill of depicting the human figure can be seen in this print as well. Joubert based the print off of Thomas Webster’s painting of the same name when he created it for the Art Union of Glasgow in 1859. When comparing the two it becomes clear that Joubert took artistic licenses when translating the painting to print. Webster’s painting is of a small scene of boys scuffling in a school yard. Joubert expands on this idea to create a complex scene of children and adults. The print is divided into three sections of children at play. The boys on the far right play with spinning tops, the group in the center lunge for a ball and the cluster on the left are playing with marbles. The children in the original painting climb on each other rather than play with toys. Another difference between the two is the adults on either side of Joubert’s print. On the left are two parents kissing their son goodbye, while on the right a woman gives fruit to a little boy. “The subject indicates the strong link between Dutch seventeenth-century genre scenes and the popularity of recorded aspects of daily Victorian life.”[1] The seventeenth-century was known as the Golden Age for Dutch painting. Religious paintings were cast aside in favor of scenes depicting people from every class of society in their day to day life. Another characteristic of this movement was the great attention to detail artists paid to their subjects. Adelicia also owned several prints by Rembrandt, a popular Dutch painter during this time period.

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