Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger - A Boy aged Two

A Boy aged Two

Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger

Date: 1608

Place: Flemish

Materials and Techniques: Oil on panel

Dimensions: 114.3 x 85.7 cm

Museum Number: Compton Verney, CVCSC 0251.B


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Close-up image of the dagger in the boy's belt

This oil painting on wood panel was made to record the likeness of a small child who is wearing very expensive clothing, standing in a lavish room and holding symbolic items. The child is obviously from a wealthy family.


Although the child wears a dress he is in fact a boy. Four hundred years ago boys wore dresses until they were eight years old. This child can be identified as a boy by the dagger in his belt.

A close-up of the Heartsease flowers, the robin and the coral bracelet

The clothes he wears and the things he holds reveal a deeper meaning hidden in the painting. The flowers are called Heartsease and represent pain; the coral bracelets and robin are symbols of the blood of Christ and represent suffering. Even the green dress he wears may have a symbolic meaning as the colour is associated with rebirth. These images may explore how fragile the boy could have been.