The Young Artist

The Young Artist

by Thomas Locker

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-- Adrian Van der Weld is gifted, but angrily rejects portrait painting when his first commission fails to jibe with the sitter's view of himself. He wants to paint landscapes; ``big paintings of the trees, the clouds, and the royal castle.'' When he is summoned to the castle, however, he is commanded to paint a group portrait of all 27 courtiers. Defying their demands that he ``improve'' their present appearance for the portrait, Adrian spends two years stalling and painting portraits of the king's pretty little daughter. This unprofessional behavior is, however, rewarded by the infatuated father: Adrian is given land and a house (not the daughter), and returns to landscape. The Young Artist looks like a picture book. It has 16 glossy ``high art'' paintings, most of them alluding to 17-century Dutch landscapes and interiors. It lacks, however, both the integration of illustration and text that characterizes true picture books and a clear sense of its audience. The story is sophisticated, despite some weaknesses (how could Adrian, raised ``near the royal castle,'' be completely unaware that ``the king was feared throughout the land?''). More seriously, the central conflict is historically questionable. Ideas about landscape painting (particularly that it is more ``honest'' than portrait painting, a Romantic 19th-century notion), crucial to the story, are not appropriate to the specific time and place evoked by the illustrations. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
10.21(w) x 8.13(h) x 0.14(d)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

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