Third Sunday in Advent: Julio Castellanos

Three Nudes (The Aunts);  Julio Castellanos, 1905-1947; Mexican; oil on canvas; 1930.  Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  For my friend, Sam, 20 today, and for his fathers and close family.  

A representation of the long socialization of a child and his grounding in all things flesh.

This painting seems to be from the little boy’s viewpoint.

He is just a little boy and appears as such.  His aunts are wide and large and solid.  The legs of the table and chairs are sturdy and solid.  The cup from which he drinks looks very big:  big in his hands and in his eyes.  The jug is tall and sturdy; his aunt’s hand is firm on its handle.  Everything in this painting is big, solid and sturdy except for him.

The little boy is the focus of attention and he undoubtedly knows it.

He is already so confident and safe among his enveloping aunts that, his left foot slightly off the ground in anticipatory tension, leaning his face forward a little, he is balancing the big cup with his right hand whose arm his aunt cups firmly with her right hand.

His left hand touches the fingers of his aunt’s left hand.  He is reassuring himself in his big gambit to drink by himself.  But he is also holding her left fingers away from the cup.

An instant of a tableau in the lengthy acts of imitation, attention, negotiation and authority, submission, defiance, reward, rebuke and vast comfort which make up the socialization of a loved child. Of unconditional love given and taught.






3 thoughts on “Third Sunday in Advent: Julio Castellanos

    1. Thank you……..Sam was just a babe in arms and the years have flown by but I know they have not, really, because I watched his socialization and that was lengthy and loving. Not quite done, yet, of course. Thank you for appreciating.

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