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Abstract

Portraits of children at the Spanish Court during the seventeenth century clearly reflect the various stages of their education and upbringing quite significantly. However, visual signs indicating the development and changing status of the child portrayed have to be identified and analyzed if the full meaning of these portraits is to be understood. In the present article, the educational treatises of the period are explored for the light they throw on concepts that were then current in relation to children’s development. Royal children´s portraits will be shown to reflect the education they received and the various stages through which they passed. First, however, it is necessary to explain how children were thought to move from infancy to childhood (puericia) and acquire the especially important “use of reason”.

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