A Lazy Fisherman
John Gadsby Chapman
A critic in 1844 described this barefoot boy in ragtag clothing as "laziness personified." His complete ease is embodied in his languid pose and heavy lidded eyes and echoed in the fallen basket, lax fishing line and sluggish river. This sentimental view, rendered with creamy, smooth brushwork, developed from John Gadsby Chapman's experience illustrating volumes of romantic verse. His talent for drawing is revealed in the boy's hat, clothing and especially in the outturned foot. Chapman desired, above all, to be a history painter, but he painted portraits and genre scenes to earn a living. Pleasing scenes of children were especially popular in the mid-19th century as they offered musings on childhood innocence and freedom in an increasingly challenging world.