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The Cover
July 20, 2005

Child in a Rocking Chair

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2005;294(3):283. doi:10.1001/jama.294.3.283

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.