Mothers and their children have been depicted in works of art for centuries. In most of these artworks, motherhood is depicted in its many facets. The “message” in a mother and child painting is often that traditions and skills can be transferred to the next generation with motherly love.
A reproduction of a famous mother and child painting is an ideal Woman’s International Day gift. By giving such a painting to a woman – young or old – the love between a mother and child is acknowledged.
Look at five famous mother and child paintings that would be excellent Woman’s International Day gifts. Good reproductions of these paintings are available at reputable reproduction studios, or you can commission a reproduction from a well-known and skilled reproduction artist.
Mother and Child by Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt created “The Three Ages of Woman” in 1905. The painting is also known as “Mother and Child.” The canvas was Klimt’s first oil painting on a larger scale than his previous works.
Art historians and scholars believe this mother and child painting represents the three main stages of a woman’s life: infancy, motherhood, and old age. According to them, the mother on the right of the canvas represents the beauty and love of motherhood. The child symbolizes the infancy stage. The mother is embracing the child, which shows a mother’s unconditional love.
The old woman on the left of the canvas represents the last stage of a woman’s life. It shows an older woman who is withering away. Her hand over her face implies that she has had enough of life.
Interestingly, Gustav Klimt is also known for other paintings which depict the changes that women go through. But in this painting, he used fewer erotic elements than most other female paintings.
The Music Lesson by Lord Frederic Leighton
The architecture depicted in the oil on canvas painting “The Music Lesson” is based on Leighton’s studies during his 1873 journey to Damascus. The costumes the woman and child are depicted in were probably made from lustrous fabrics purchased by Leighton during the Damascus trip.
Art scholars believe that the mother is teaching her daughter the musical instrument in the painting is a Turkish “saz.” It most probably was Leighton’s instrument. The non-Western elements such as the clothing and the musical instrument give the painting an exotic flair.
Other high-profile artists of the time also used this painting style where the picture is essential without a subject but highly romanticized. These paintings often show beautiful women or girls holding instruments and wearing exotic clothing.
The two models featured in this painting were used more than once as Leighton’s models. The young child was twelve years old when the work was first exhibited in 1892. She later married and became the Countess of Orkney.
Ia Orana Maria Aka (“Hail Mary”) by Paul Gauguin
The mother and child in this painting are extraordinary. Paul Gauguin depicted Jesus and his mother, Maria, as two Tahitians. He completed this artwork in 1891 – about one year after he had arrived in Tahiti. This painting will be the ideal gift for someone who likes exotic themes and paintings.
He originally went to Tahiti with the idea to “discover” a culture untouched by European customs and beliefs. He wanted to create a series of paintings inspired by Polynesian religious beliefs.
But he decided to devote his first central Tahitian canvas to a Christian theme. He depicted an angel with yellow wings revealing Mary and Jesus as Tahitians to two Tahitian women.
This painting is a result of Gauguin’s life-long fascination with the exotic. In this painting, Gauguin created the “primitive culture” he sought. He interweaved the island’s mythologies with that of the West and his imagination.
Calinerie (“A Little Coaxing”) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
This is not in the real sense of the word a mother painting, but we include it in this article because it portrays the love between two sisters, who most probably have learned about love and affection from their mother.
It is an oil painting by the French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau and was completed in 1890; in “Calinerie, “also known as “A Little Coaxing,” an innocent scene in which two girls, generally believed to be sisters, hug. The younger girl is standing with her back to the viewer. Both girls are barefoot, as most of Bouguereau’s rural women were.
The girl with her back to the viewer is taking a step toward her sister sitting on a concrete step. She is hugging her over the shoulders and giving a kiss on her cheek. “Calinerie” forms part of Bouguereau’s more idyllic scenes of peasant women, fishers, bohemians, and shepherdess. However, he is famous for portraying nude female figures, like nymphs and Goddesses.
Mother Playing With Her Child by Mary Cassatt
“Mother Playing With Her Child” is a pastel drawing by Mary Cassatt. This impressive mother-and-child painting was completed in 1897. “Mother Playing With Her Child” forms part of the classical themes of Cassatt: the interaction between a mother and her children and the personal ties of women and will be an excellent gift for any art lover.
“Mother Playing With Her Child” was drawn on woven paper and then mounted on cardboard. Cassatt had incredible skill with pastel drawing. “Mother Playing With Her Child” is an excellent example of Cassatt’s masterful way of depicting the human skin and figure. The image is full of tenderness and beauty, as in most of Cassatt’s artwork.
The grass that both mother and daughter are sitting on was created sketchily. She used fast and broad strokes of green and white. Their faces, however, were done in detail.
The grass makes a frame around the figures, and part of the green merges with the mother’s blue jacket. The mother is sitting on the right side of the composition, looking in the direction of her sitting daughter with her arm extended and her hand open. The child is playing with some flowers and putting them in her mother’s hand.
If you are looking for a special Woman’s International Day gift for someone, you can seriously consider a mother and child painting. Many famous mother and child paintings and good reproductions are available at reputable studios.