The image of a young boy in the eyes of a feminist is always something to endure. And, so knew Swynnerton for herself – a British painter, who stood for women’s rights to vote, and also as a prominent feminist among other avant-garde artists of her time. This has become one of the long-standing impressions of Annie Swynnerton among us and her long-loving audience.
When you consider the kind of background the painter hails from, you tend to understand her political views better. Especially in England of the early 20th Century, there had to be enough reconciliation to be made with oneself before launching expressive support to the proletariat classes. Her admiration for working-class boys is platonic in this oil-on-canvas masterpiece. And her pride takes shape in the stout posture of young Hopton. Although she has been known for Cupid and Psyche – an imaginative and nontraditional thought in nude – the fascination for what Hopton would be, is something worth delving into Swynnerton’s mind over tea. However much I would love that, we are now in a generation of forlorn tenderness for all boys who are as proud as Hopton with his hands strongly clenching his hips.
A certain element of defiance comes through with the charming adolescence of the kid here. I would say that is what had caught Swynnerton enough to paint this work out of her feminist stance. Without knowing what could have been more perfect for her expression, we can easily say that Hopton could have been the son Swynnerton never had.
I would also urge everyone to notice how Hopton’s stance is a blend of measured arrogance and beauty – something that Swynnerton clearly appreciates as a probable reflection of the boy’s upbringing.
Oil on canvas, this painting measures about 3 feet by 2, and easily caught my attention because of a genuine impression of what the painter would have liked to see as a quiet admirer.