Under the Horse Chestnut Tree

Tag writer: Michele Wick, Psychology

Imagine the texture of skirt fabric rubbing against tiny feet, the sweet smell of grass, or the delight of looking at a resplendent blue shirt.  Sensory experiences are a vital part of who we are; they are building blocks of a growing brain.  Countless occurrences, like the intimate play we see in Cassatt’s print, help shape the contours of pliant neural networks.  The child may not remember this exact moment, the feel of the woman’s secure grasp, the pleasure of gazing in her eyes, or the sound of her breath.  Nevertheless, they have left their imprint on a blossoming mind. 

Image Information: Mary Cassatt, American (1844–1926). Under the Horse Chestnut Tree, 1895. Drypoint and aquatint printed in blue, green, yellow, brown and flesh on paper. Sheet: 18 13/16 x 14 3/8 in.; 47.7838 x 36.5125 cm; plate: 16 1/8 x 11 3/8 in.; 40.9575 x 28.8925 cm. Bequest of Helen Haase

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