Around the turn of the century, the symbolic movement slowly began to fade. However, some of the amazing creatures, scales and moods from the symbolic era, quietly tiptoed into the field of children’s literature.


Philipp Otto Runge was a German artist in the beginning ofthe 1800s. He painted symbolic images of children with great powers, larger than life itself.

The Hulsenbeck Children

The Hulsenbeck Children, 1806, Philipp Otto Runge

These supernatural kids can also be found in Elsa Beskow’s miniature Children of the Forest, H. C. Andersen’s minimized Little Tiny/Thumbelina or the extremely strong Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

Scale and power of the growing child refused to obey the dull and boring order of realism.

There was also a dramatic improvement in the way we treat children, perhaps partially due to Runge’s world of empathy for divine children with supernatural powers.

Art for Life’s Sake

It is not about art for art’s sake, but for ‘art for life’s sake’. This art celebrates life – not itself and Rosenblum mentions O’Keeffe as one of the artists in this movement.


Hans Christian Andersen: Little Tiny or Thumbelina, 1834

Elsa Beskow: Children of the Forest, 1910

Astrid Lindgren: Pippi Långstrump, 1945

Celebrating Art for Life’s Sake – some artists

Giotto (di Bondone), Michelangelo, David, Manet, Picasso, Friedrich, Rothko, Turner, Runge, Monet, Primitive Greek Art, Egyptian Art, Georgia O’Keeffe, Kandinsky, Edward Steichen, Constantin Brancusi, Renoir, Klee, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz,


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