CULTURE & ARTS

In Honor Of Mother's Day, A Look At The Moms Of Art History

Happy Mother's Day!

Since -- as they say -- a picture's worth a thousand words, we'd like to pay homage to every mom with a collection of artworks that put mothers on parade. Behold, the beautiful mommas of art history, from the woman who birthed Whistler to a Pieta to a massive sculpture of a spider dedicated to mamans everywhere.

  • Here's to the quiet but powerful moms out there
    James Whistler, "Whistler's Mother," 1871
    Wikimedia Commons
    James Whistler, "Whistler's Mother," 1871
  • The ones who've literally washed our feet
    Mary Cassatt, "The Bath," 1893
    Wikimedia Commons
    Mary Cassatt, "The Bath," 1893
  • Who never leave us without a shoulder to cry on
    Cindy Sherman, "Untitled," 1976/1989, black and white photograph of a 1976 collage
    Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York
    Cindy Sherman, "Untitled," 1976/1989, black and white photograph of a 1976 collage
  • Ever
    Motoyuki Daifu, "Family," 2011 
c-print 30 x 40 inches
    Image courtesy of the artist and Lombard Freid Projects, NY
    Motoyuki Daifu, "Family," 2011 c-print 30 x 40 inches
  • Who endlessly watch over us
    Vincent Van Gogh, "Portrait of the artist's mother," 1888, oil on canvas
    Wikimedia Commons
    Vincent Van Gogh, "Portrait of the artist's mother," 1888, oil on canvas
  • To the mothers who lovingly worry about their children
    Lucian Freud, "The Painter's Mother," 1983 Charcoal and pastel on paper, 12 3/4 x 9 3/4 in. (32.4 x 24.8 cm)
    © The Lucian Freud Archive Photo © The Lucian Freud Archive
    Lucian Freud, "The Painter's Mother," 1983 Charcoal and pastel on paper, 12 3/4 x 9 3/4 in. (32.4 x 24.8 cm)
  • Who protect us
    Louise Bourgeois, "Maman," 1999, at Bürkliplatz, Zürich, Switzerland
    Wikimedia Commons
    Louise Bourgeois, "Maman," 1999, at Bürkliplatz, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Who've loved us since we were helpless babies
    Adolphe Bouguereau, "Maternal Admiration," 1869
    Wikimedia Commons
    Adolphe Bouguereau, "Maternal Admiration," 1869
  • And helpless adults
    Michelangelo, "Pieta," 1498
    Wikimedia Commons
    Michelangelo, "Pieta," 1498
  • Who carried and carry us
    Egon Schiele, "Tote Mutter," 1910
    Wikimedia Commons
    Egon Schiele, "Tote Mutter," 1910
  • To the mommas who advise us
    Statue of Isis Holding the Child Horus, ca. 664-525 B.C.E.
    Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    Statue of Isis Holding the Child Horus, ca. 664-525 B.C.E.
  • Who provide for us
    Dorothea Lange, "Migrant Mother With Three Children," 1936
    Wikimedia Commons
    Dorothea Lange, "Migrant Mother With Three Children," 1936
  • Who love us no matter what
    Alice Neel, "Mother and Child," 1926
    © The Estate of Alice Neel Courtesy David Zwirner, New York
    Alice Neel, "Mother and Child," 1926
  • To the mothers who are never short on hugs
    Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, "Mother and Daughter," 1789
    Wikimedia commons
    Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, "Mother and Daughter," 1789
  • Ever
    Gustav Klimt, "Death and Life," 1908–1916
    Wikimedia Commons
    Gustav Klimt, "Death and Life," 1908–1916
  • To our first teachers
    Platt Powell Ryder, "The Illustrated Newspaper," 1868. Oil on canvas, 16 7/8 x 13 13/16 in. (42.9 x 35.1 cm)
    Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Caroline H. Polhemus.
    Platt Powell Ryder, "The Illustrated Newspaper," 1868. Oil on canvas, 16 7/8 x 13 13/16 in. (42.9 x 35.1 cm)
  • Who are always with us, even when they're not
    Joan Miro, "Seated Woman and Child (Femme assise et enfant)," 1967 Painted bronze, 48 1/4 x 16 3/4 x 16 1/2 in. (122.6 x 42.5
    Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Dallas, Texas
    Joan Miro, "Seated Woman and Child (Femme assise et enfant)," 1967 Painted bronze, 48 1/4 x 16 3/4 x 16 1/2 in. (122.6 x 42.5 x 41.9 cm.)
  • Because moms are the best
    Fernando Botero, "Mother and Child," 
Bronze, 1988
    Flickr: Reggie Rachuba
    Fernando Botero, "Mother and Child," Bronze, 1988
  • And they deserve a day of celebration
    Mary Cassatt, "Woman in a Red Bodice and Her Child," ca. 1901. Oil on canvas, 27 x 20 1/4 in. (68.6 x 51.4 cm)
    Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver Fund
    Mary Cassatt, "Woman in a Red Bodice and Her Child," ca. 1901. Oil on canvas, 27 x 20 1/4 in. (68.6 x 51.4 cm)

For more on Mother's Day, check out the essay "A Love Letter to My Mother, an Artist."

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