Children Playing on the Beach

mary-cassatts-impressionist-painting General Information
‘Children on the Beach’ was created in 1883 (Wood, p20). Mary Cassatt made this painting at a time when her reputation as a defender of women and children rights had risen. The painting print shows her interest in women and children. Most of her past works are associated with women and children affairs. The painting shows two Caucasian children seated on a beach playing. Each of the children seems unconcerned with the going-on ins around them as they play. Both children are female, and they are in white outfits. On the further end, deep into the sea, there are two boats. Overall, the dimensions of the painting are 97.4*74.2cm. Unlike the traditional European and American painters, Mary’s art is a bit unique. This is because she depicts a calm scene.


Subject Matter

The print captures the clumsy and often random motions by children. Their legs are sprawled on the ground to attain balance. The child on the foreground has gripped her shovel in her little arm. She has the intention of filling her small bucket with sand. The look on the child’s face depicts that she is unaware of the viewer's gaze.
The painting also contains various shades of blue. The dress and shoes include shades of deep electric blue, whereas the ocean is depicted with a light blue color of the sea (Appendix). Also, accents of white convey the presence of sunlight bouncing off from the dresses, hart, and pails of the little girls. Cassatt seems to have mastered the art of creating form from color. This is because the background contains areas which are thinly painted. As a result, this leaves a larger section of the priming area highly exposed to a viewer.


Elements of Art
The print indicates Cassatt’s ability to capture the attitude of the children through painting. The facial expression of the child on the foreground suggests that she is fully concentrating on whatever she is doing. The two children also have their faces lowered at an angle. Besides their set of shoulders shows that they are committed to whatever they are doing. Another appealing aspect from the painting is how the girl positioned on the left is portrayed. The long arm of the handle overwhelms her short arm. She makes an effort as she tries to grip the rim of the bucket with her other pudgy arm.

The Principles of Design

Cassatt’s immense interest in structure and proper patterning is also identifiable from the painting. For instance, the brushstrokes that follow the girl’s head, arm, and legs are carefully drawn to blend (Appendix). This creates substantial areas of color characteristic of her works. To ensure more focus on the girls, Cassatt made the background sea water color lighter. This has made the boats appear as if they are at a distance. She attains further focus on the foreground by repeating accents of the dark color on the white dress. There is also an attempt to portray the little girls as being related. Firstly, the girls are comfortable playing close to each other. Also, the fact that they are wearing the same outfit cements the presumption that they could be related.

Work Cited

Wood, Alix. Mary Cassatt. Place of publication not identified: Windmill Books, 2015. Print.

READ PDF: Mary Cassatt's (Impressionist) Painting

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