The Art of Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there. I am not yet a mother, so I can’t give you any sort of reflection on the joys or hardships of motherhood; but I have a mother, an amazing mother. I have seen the joys and hardships among a million other things that she has experienced, and want to thank her, along with all the other mothers, for putting up with all of it. Here is a special post celebrating motherhood and feminine beauty within art.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Author’s note: To the critics out there who may have found the artistic representation presented here to be too “sweet,”  “unrealistic,” or a “cliche,” that lends itself to an idealized representation of women and or motherhood; I would like to say “I know.” Yes, I do agree that women with their babies in paintings look unbelievably happy, a picture of motherly perfection; radiant, and glowing. Art historian and lecturer Jean Sorabella, talks poignantly in this short lecture about the portrayal of Motherhood in art on the MET’s website saying, “In art when you depict a mother, it seems she better be doing her job well, she is almost an ideal for mothers. She makes it look so easy.” Though we know motherhood is far from easy; we shouldn’t condemn artists for painting mother and child in a state of bliss. Because even though most of the time a mother is wiping running noses, cleaning up messes, and chasing after her mischievous child, she does, from time to time, experience the calm and the bliss portrayed in the previous paintings. Mothers are beautiful, flowers are beautiful, flowers represent female beauty, and mothers and women love flowers; so that is why I chose to pair paintings of mothers with paintings of flowers.

Further reading:

for further reading on the role of motherhood and art, here is a compelling article published by The Brooklyn Rail about Motherhood vs. artistic practice and the trials and tribulations female artists undergo when it comes to becoming a mother. Neo-Maternalism: Contemporary Artists’ Approach to Motherhood by Sharon L. Butler

for further reading about the relationship between flowers and female sexuality, here is a short post on the Huffington Post’s blog, from the perspective of a female artist and her difficulty accepting “the flower” as the representation of female desire. The Flowering of Female Desires by Jacqueline Bishop Author, Artist, NYU professor

and a comprehensive list of flowers and their symbols, just for fun.

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