Portrait of a young boy, oil on canvas, original canvas, carved and gilded wooden frame.
Our tender-hearted child holds a pigeon in his hands, quite a story …
The pigeon is a symbol of peace. It is attributed a peaceful character. The pigeon’s surprising ability to return to its loft, despite external conditions and distances, has made it strategically useful in armed conflicts where its role may have changed the course of some battles. The interest for the army in maintaining a pigeon sport seems to be obvious then. Pigeon racing and pigeon farming have flourished together over the centuries. In the middle of the 19th century, there were around thirty pigeon companies: the movement was born and was not going to stop. Under the Republic, pigeons have sometimes served as messengers in major affairs. It was during the siege of Paris by the Prussians that modern pigeon racing really became known and appreciated by public opinion. Some birds even became popular heroes: one of them, captured by the Prussians, stayed 4 years with Prince Frederick William’s mother. In May 1875, he returned to his dovecote in the rue de Clichy after a… successful escape! In 1877, the creation of military dovecotes was part of the army’s reorganization program. The new service was attached to the engineer arm, section “military telegraphy”. The dovecotes were present in all the strongholds of the North and East. In 1881, there were 8 dovecotes. Financiers and early journalists increasingly used these winged informants. Correspondence networks were established in order to deal more quickly with cases. Antwerp, an important financial center, communicated with Paris, London, Amsterdam by interposed dovecotes. Perhaps this little darling is the son of a financier or a journalist, they increasingly used this winged network to process business and information more quickly. But maybe this child is the bearer of a message … his secret remains to be dreamed of …
Height: 77 cm (30,5 in)
Width: 66 cm (26 in)