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A&E.O My Mom & Me
[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]Mindy Staley
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 10:09:50 +0000
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Issue: Mothers and Children Represented in Art
Ideas of motherhood in art stretch across cultures as artists strive
to create their own personal images. Throughout the development of
history, artists have depicted women interacting with their children in
many different ways. Changes in social ideas can be traced by examining
the way figures are shown in art. The way women were regarded or
expected to take care of their own children can be seen through art work
of the time. Strategies for empowerment led people to change attitudes
regarding the poor, minorities and women. Art historians were
encouraged to rethink past contributions and connect images that could
be used for the advancement of victimized groups. I found three books
that mention a variety of artists and suggest a sort of multicultural
history of art regarding the attitude toward the experience of
* Mary Lawrence, author of "Mother and Child" traveled to different art
museums, galleries and churches over a span of thirty years and found
that many of the prints she collected contained the theme of mother and
* Susan Bracaglia Tobey, author of "Art of Motherhood" was concerned
with the way motherhood was treated in history. Often painters reduced
the relationship to idealized and clichéd domestic images, but she was
pleased to find that some artists created images that reflected their
individual experience. These examples can break stereotypical notions
because they provide a more sensitive interpretation of the relationship
between mother and child.
* Roxana Marcoci, author of "Mothers and Children" noticed that Western
art dealt with the image of the mother and child in the thirteenth and
fourteenth century by depicting religious motifs.
I chose to discuss a handful of artists and examine their ideas of
motherhood and touch on how the different authors dealt with their work.
* Leonardo da Vinci painted "Madonna and St. Anne," one of the most
famous religious groups portraits. * "The Luncheon" by Claude Monet
depicts a simple domestic scene including Monet’s wife and child.
* Berthe Morisot painted her sister in "The Cradle" with the essence of
* Unlike sentimental male ideas, Mary Cassatt emphasized the dignity of
women with a personality beyond their maternal role. I think that
everyone would recognize her well known paintings of a mother giving her
child a bath, although they may not recognize the name of the artist.
* "Mother and Child" was painted by Pablo Picasso in different ways
after his child was born.
I think that this issue relates to everyone, as all of us have
mothers. It may be helpful to think about the idealized versions of
mother child relationships versus real life examples. Students may
realize how their own experiences with their mother can be represented
as ideas of the culture in which they belong.
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