Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Timeless Appeal of Motherhood

As we read in the first chapter of Practices of Looking, we learned about the role motherhood plays in culture. "The iconography of mother and child is widely believed to represent universal concepts of maternal emotion...and the importance of motherhood throughout the world and human history."  
As I googled "Maternal Art" I noticed that all of the images that appeared were very serene, nurturing, and affectionate dating from the early 15th century until 2009, supporting the claim made in our book. Here are some examples:
 Michaelangelo's "La Pieta" from 1499 shows Mary holding Jesus in her lap with a gentle expression on her face
The same maternal theme was repeated in Mary Cassatt, who is famous for her paintings that illusttrate the bond between mother and child, in "The Child's Bath" (1893)
and "Under the Horse Chestnut Tree" (1898)
 Gustav Klimt's "The Three Ages of Woman" from 1905  also exemplifies the idea that the importance of motherhood timeless... well as in Daniel Edwards' sculpture of Angelina Jolie breastfeeding two of her children he unveiled this past August
Our reading said that "to question the assumptions underpining the concept of the universal would mean to look at the cultural, historical, and social meanings that are specefic in these images." It is interesting that although our culture has greatly changed from the time of Michaelangelo's creation of "La Pieta" in 1499, and even long before, the cultural idea of motherhood and the maternal bond between mother and child has always remained the same. 

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