Royal children have been portrayed by some of the greatest artists down the ages, preserving images of childhood that are still touching today. Will this royal baby fare better than its mother  in the portraits that are sure to come? Are there any artists out there who can go head to head with the greats of royal child portraiture?
Agnolo Bronzino  has to be first among those greats, because he painted small children in a way that set the tone for many royal images to come. Some might say the Medici rulers of Florence, for whom he worked, were not properly royal – but they definitely acted like a royal family , and the artists who worked for them set the tone of court art all over Europe. InGiovanni de’ Medici As a Child , Bronzino expresses the joy of children and the pleasure of parents in a way that was revolutionary in the 16th century. Chubby-cheeked and jolly, Giovanni clutches a pet goldfinch. In paintings of the Holy Family you know that if Jesus has a pet bird it probably has some dire symbolic meaning . But this pet is just a pet. Giovanni is just a happy kid. Actually, a happy baby: he was about 18 months old.
Hans Holbein  took more care to clarify the regal uniqueness of his subject when he portrayedEdward , only son of King Henry VIII of England, in about 1538. Holbein, too, captures the face of early childhood brilliantly. But how old is Edward meant to be? In fact, he was two. Holbein expresses his infancy – his baby face, his baby hands – while having him stand holding out a majestic hand, dressed like his father, next to an inscription that praises the paternal glory of Henry. Who knows, perhaps he really stood like that for a second or two, long enough for Holbein to take a mental photograph.
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