Birth of childcare

Birth of childcare

  • La Goutte de Lait from Belleville. The weighing.

    GEOFFROY, known as GEO Henri Jules Jean (1853 - 1924)

  • La Goutte de Lait from Belleville. Consultation.

    GEOFFROY, known as GEO Henri Jules Jean (1853 - 1924)

  • La Goutte de Lait from Belleville. The distribution of milk.

    GEOFFROY, known as GEO Henri Jules Jean (1853 - 1924)

To close

Title: La Goutte de Lait from Belleville. The weighing.

Author : GEOFFROY, known as GEO Henri Jules Jean (1853 - 1924)

Creation date : 1901

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: commissioned by Doctor Variot Oil on canvas

Storage location: Petit Palais Museum

Contact copyright: © Museum of Public Assistance - Hospitals of Paris

La Goutte de Lait from Belleville. The weighing.

© Museum of Public Assistance - Hospitals of Paris

To close

Title: La Goutte de Lait from Belleville. Consultation.

Author : GEOFFROY, known as GEO Henri Jules Jean (1853 - 1924)

Creation date : 1901

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Commissioned by Doctor Variot Oil on canvas

Storage location: Petit Palais Museum

Contact copyright: © Museum of Public Assistance - Hospitals of Paris

La Goutte de Lait from Belleville. Consultation.

© Museum of Public Assistance - Hospitals of Paris

To close

Title: La Goutte de Lait from Belleville. The distribution of milk.

Author : GEOFFROY, known as GEO Henri Jules Jean (1853 - 1924)

Creation date : 1901

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Commissioned by Doctor Variot Oil on canvas

Storage location: Petit Palais Museum

Contact copyright: © Museum of Public Assistance - Hospitals of Paris

La Goutte de Lait from Belleville. The distribution of milk.

© Museum of Public Assistance - Hospitals of Paris

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

At the end of the 19th century, the emergence and recognition of specialties marked the history of medicine. This movement owes as much to the development of medical knowledge as to the extremely precarious situation of certain sections of the population in the face of disease. The Third Republic is also committed to building an assistance policy. The health of mother and child benefits primarily from these measures. Against the mortality of women in childbirth and infant mortality then began a real crusade, of which certain doctors were the most ardent defenders. Then a whole health monitoring policy for early childhood was put in place, with the creation of infant consultations and dispensaries, which would become laboratories for a new discipline: childcare.

Image Analysis

La Goutte de Lait was created in 1892 by Dr Gaston Variot (1855-1930), head of department at the Hérold hospital, then at the Trousseau hospital, at the Necker hospital, and finally at the Children-Assisted Hospital. . Attached to the modernization and multiplication of children's hospitals, he created the first local dispensary in the popular district of Belleville. Its function is at the same time medical, social and educational.

The composition in three panels forming a triptych presents three stages of the visit for the young mother and her child: weighing (on the left), consultation (in the center) and distribution of milk (on the right). The decor is sober, barely sketched by the painter. The dark and indistinct environment of these three scenes allows the artist to play in the strongest contrast with a light that focuses on the chubby flesh of the children, the whiteness of the layettes, the confident and smiling expression of the mothers and that, determined, by Dr Variot. Although off-center, this gives its axis to the composition of the central panel: it is towards it that the two lines meet around which the grouping of the characters is ordered (the one that goes obliquely from the young child, at the bottom right, like the one, all in undulations, which connects the faces of the characters in the background). This role of the doctor's character in the composition and the central place given to his action within the triptych express a new claim, that of "the omnipotence of the doctor in the art of prevention, while he is so often defeated. in the art of healing ”(Adolphe PINARD: Tarnier (1828-1897); praise given to the Academy of Medicine in its annual meeting of December 15, 1908, Paris, Masson, 1908). In his book: Depopulation and childcare (1901), Senator Paul Strauss affirms even more clearly the place which must be that of the doctors with a view to a sound management of the social body: "The doctrine of preventable diseases calls the man of the art to the government of societies. "

Interpretation

Dr Variot is the sponsor of this triptych. Very early on, he saw the power of the image for the dissemination of his ideas. He did not hesitate, when he created in 1893 the Journal of Childhood Clinic and Therapeutics, to surround himself with several artists (José Frappa, Edouard Letourneau and Jean Geoffroy) to illustrate in an immediate, and therefore more effective way, the result of the actions he initiates and defends. It has also been said of Geoffroy that he became “the official illustrator of Dr. Variot”. From 1905, shortly after its creation, the image of La Goutte de Lait spread through an engraving. A postcard is printed to spread even more widely the knowledge of an achievement which wanted to be exemplary. And perhaps it is with the spirit and the conviction of the missionary that Geoffroy gave this composition the form of a triptych. Loaded with reminiscences, this form allows him to express the sacred character of an action undertaken for the salvation of the young children of the country. The artist has created a modern altarpiece in the service of the cause of this new pediatric medicine.

  • public assistance
  • childhood
  • hygiene
  • hospitals
  • innovation
  • maternity
  • medicine
  • childcare
  • Pastor (Louis)

Bibliography

Collective A patriot at the origins of childcare: Gaston Variot, doctor and patron , catalog of the exhibition of the Museum of Public Assistance in Paris, May 15-December 15, 1984 Paris, 1984.Nadine LEFAUCHEUR “The creation of maternity and midwifery services in Paris hospitals” in The Happy Event: a story of childbirth , catalog of the exhibition of the Museum of Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris, April 7-July 16, 1995 Paris, 1995.Lyon MURARD and Patrick ZYLBERMAN Hygiene in the Republic , 1870-1918Paris, Fayard, 1996.Gaston VARIOT Project of a Childcare Institute for Assisted Children Paris, Imprimerie A.Davy, 1908. Paul STRAUSS Depopulation and childcare Paris, Charpentier Library, Eugène Fasquelle publisher, 1901. Practical childcare, illustrations by Jean Geoffroy G. Doin publisher, n.d.

To cite this article

Anne NARDIN, "Birth of childcare"


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