I plan to do the third post in my “Sublimated Sexuality in Modern Surrealist Girl Art” series soon, but until then I will put up a couple of quickies. These two paintings are by the Victorian/Edwardian-era Italian painter Antonio Mancini. You’d think that an artist once described by John Singer Sargent as the greatest living painter would be better known, but he is considered a minor painter by art historians, which is ironic because he often painted minors. Usually boys, but not always.
This first image is likely a boy (going by the hairstyle and the angularity of the child’s body, but it’s ambiguous enough that I decided to post it anyway. At any rate, I think it’s a nice piece regardless of the child’s gender. The pose is quite feminine, I think.
Edit: I’ve completely revised my position on this. I’m quite certain the child is, in fact, a girl, based on the hair and the pose. Mancini was too good a painter to have made a compositional mistake that would leave the child’s sex so ambiguous. The entire dark swath has to be hair. The front of her hair is oddly short, but I’ve seen hairstyles like that for girls in other Victorian-era works. Moreover, the pose is classically feminine. The biggest clue, however, is the rosary. A nude boy wearing jewelry, even religious jewelry, is pretty much unheard of. This is a girl. – Pip
The subject of this next work, however, is certainly a girl. I’ve always liked those wrap-around bracelets worn on the upper arm. It’s just a nicely exotic look.