7 works of art on maternity

7 Obras de Arte sobre a Maternidade

Portraits about mother and children
With art often providing a way out of human experience, it is no surprise that maternal relationships and motherhood have been themed by many artists. Being a mother is a complex work and here you will find a selection of artists who explored the theme portraying their own mothers or the intimate moments between mothers and children. In the format of painting, photography and sculpture, discover some of the most famous mothers of art.

1. Arrangement in Gray and Black No.1 by James Abbott Mcneill Whistler, 1871
Arrangement in Gray and Black No. 1, also known as Whistler's Mother, was created by James Mcneill Whistler in 1871. The theme is the mother of the artist, Anna Mcneill Whistler, often called Mona Lisa Victorian. Whistler's mother posed for painting as they lived in London. Currently the painting belongs to Musée d'Orsay in Paris and remains an icon of maternity.

James Abbott Mcneill Whistler | P55.art

2. The Child’s Bath by Mary Cassatt, 1893
The work of American impressionist Mary Cassatt often focused on women's social and private life, with a particular emphasis on the intimate bond between mother and son. This oil painting, The Child’s Batha, which portrays the daily activity, from his mother to bathe his son, is one of Cassatt's most popular works of art. The painter was inspired by the compositions of Japanese woodcuts and traditional engravings, bringing a flat perspective, with bold contours and patterns. The Child’s Bath of Mary Cassatt invites us to observe the intimacy between the woman and the child, who is before us, but in which we do not participate.

Mary Cassatt | P55.art

3. Self-portrait with her daaughter, Julie of Élisabeth Vigee Le Brun, XVIII
Élisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun is recognized as one of the most important artists in France during the eighteenth century. This painter is known for portraying the evolution of French society, but also explored the bond between mother and son in her work. The most famous example of this is from her own role of mother in two paintings with the same title, Self-Portrait With Her Daughter, Julie. The first was painted in 1787 and the second in 1789. In this iteration, Julie, Brun's daughter, is portrayed to embrace her mother while both look at the viewer with knowledge of the cause. It is a warm portrait inspired by Madonna's paintings from the Alto Renaissance. Currently the work is appreciated for being a portrait about motherhood, but at the time there was a great controversy for Brun to paint themselves to smile and with open mouths, which went against the traditional conventions of painting.

Julie of Élisabeth Vigee Le Brun | P55.art

4. Migrant Mother de Dorothea Lange, 1936
Dorothea Lange was a documentary photographer and American photojournalist, and her images of the great depression consolidated her position as one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century. This image, titled Migrant Mother, became one of Lange's most emblematic images. The artist photographed Florence Thompson, 32, with her three children. This powerful image has become a symbol of struggle and fortress for millions of other Americans at the time.

Dorothea Lange | P55.art

The Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico was very close to his mother and used to paint portraits of her. Chirico's mother was called Gemma Cavetto, a baroness of Genoa who married Evaristo, a Sicilian of noble origin. In this painting, Chirico portrays his mother with a black dress, with some details and a close look at an empty sky. These details give the portrait of Gemma Cavetto an ambiguity and contrast.

Giorgio de Chirico | P55.art
6. Maman de Louise Bourgeois, 1999
Louise Bourgeois became known for her sculptures, which vary on scale, from the small to monumental. With almost nine meters high, Maman is one of the artist's most ambitious sculptures. This spider -shaped sculpture is a tribute to her mother, a professional tapestry restorative. However, it is a contradictory choice as a symbol of maternity, as the spider can be protective and predatory, incorporating strength and fragility. The ambiguity is reinforced by the gigantic Maman scale, which hangs over the crowd, perched on legs so high that they look like gothic arches.

Louise Bourgeois | P55.art

7. Mother and Child by Henry Moore, 1953
British modernist sculptor Henry Moore addressed the theme of motherhood numerous times. During World War II, the works of motherhood reflected on the mother's most affectionate role, while this bronze focuses more on the child's aggressive needs, being the child practically attacking the mother's breast with her bird - as beak. "I Wanted this to be the Thought the Child Was Trying to Devour Its Parent," said Henry Moore in 1974, "As Thought the Parent, The Mother Had to Hold the Child at Arm's Length." Occasional confrontation is also part of maternity, although it is usually not so violent.

Henry Moore | P55.art

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