The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
Beauty in the eye of the painter is not always so in the hand of the
painter. To express beauty demands not only desire, but skill. One might judge
this to be so in the 19th-century folk painting Child in
a Rocking Chair (cover ) by the American
artist E. L. George. Yet, though the image may seem awkward, even grotesque
to a casual viewer, this painting of a child in a rocking chair holding an
apple in her hands captures for some unknown reason the viewer’s full
and almost immediate attention: what is rejected by the eye tugs at the heart.
The distortions serve only to endear both artist and subject, the artist because
of the obvious love and earnestness lavished on the work, and the child because
in her wise innocence she is in all of us, if only in memory. Of the artist
little is known—even gender is disguised behind the facade of double
initials—and of the child even less, though the middle parting of her
hair signifies that she is someone’s daughter, not son. In 19th-century
American portraits of children, boys’ hair was parted on the side.
Southgate MT. Child in a Rocking Chair. JAMA. 2005;294(3):283. doi:10.1001/jama.294.3.283