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Fernand Pelez. (1848-1913). The Little Merchant of Violets. (1885).

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Fernand Pelez. (1848-1913). The Little Merchant of Violets. (1885).

Fernand Pelez is a French painter, first of all academic he becomes naturalist. He studies at Felix-Joseph Barrias and of Alexandre Cabanel at the Superior National Scool of the fine arts of Paris.
He is named professor of drawing in a school of the Town of Paris. As from 1880, under the influence of the paintings of the painter naturalist Jules Bastien-Lepage, he forsakes the historical subjects to turn to the representation of the popular classes and to devote himself to a reflection on the human condition. His children beggars take as a starting point Murillo. They are generally in rag, bare feet and dirty, their clothes are full of holes, the paintings are built on the large downward diagonal from left to right and lighting comes from the left. These same characteristics are found in the paintings of Murillo. On the other hand if the children of Seville which Esteban Murillo represents always keep the smile it is far from being the case in the paintings of Fernand Pelez. This professor of the schools represents misery to denounce it. Social painter it would like to see the children of the streets at the school but the school laws of 1881 and 1882 which pose the basic principles: exemption from payment, secularity, obligation, and which guarantees equal access to the instruction, because of a too great misery put much time to be applied. Without money the parents always ask the children to go to work. The exemption from payment of the school is founded on June 16th, 1881. It is the prerequisite to impose the compulsory education from 6 to 13 years, registered in the law of March 28th, 1882. This text also establishes the secularity of teaching : the religious instruction is removed programs to be replaced by the moral and civic instruction. The religion can be taught only apart from the hours of classes and out of the school buildings. The device is supplemented by a text which imposes the patent of capacity to the teachers of the public elementary schools. At the end of the primary studies, obtaining the certificate of primary studies, sanctioning the acquisition of the elementary knowledge (reading, writing, calculation, concepts of history and geography), marked the passage to the working life for the majority of the children resulting from the popular classes. 

The point of view of the spectator is at the level of the face of the child who sleeps.
The glance is first of all attracted by the face of the little boy then it notices his bare feet and the bouquet of violets fallen with ground. 

The body of the child is located on 3 natural points of interests.

The half of pictorial space is empty. This manner of composing the painting makes it possible to underline the loneliness of the child.

The principal guiding lines are horizontal or vertical. However the body of the little boy is positioned on the large downward diagonal from left to right.
This one always induces an idea of fall or forfeiture.

Details : 

He fell asleep. Its hair is very short. By shaving the hair of the children at the time one avoided the problems of parasites. (Lice, chips, ticks). 
In its sleep the bouquet of violet which it held in its hand has escaped him and rests on the ground. This detail can seem unimportant but it reinforces the idea of abandonment which the artist wants to suggest. 

It is bare-chested under its jacket whose sleeve is full of holes on the level of the elbow. The feet are naked and the clothing perforated in the paintings of the children of Seville de Murillo.

Light : The scene is lit by a natural light which comes from the left.

Colours: Harmonize between hot colours.

Similar paintings :

Fernand Pelez. The Little Beggar.

Fernand Pelez. Without Asylum. (1885).

Fernand Pelez. The Little Beggars.

Fernand Pelez. The Little Lemon Merchant. (1895).