Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Historic Breastfeeding Photo: The Mother

This is a black and white photograph of a painting by American painter, Gari Melchers, who lived from 1860 to 1932. The painting is signed by the artist. I imagine the original painting was in color. The Library of Congress calls this image, "The Mother." No other information is readily available.

This image at the Library of Congress website:

Apparently Gari Melchers painted many mother and child subjects. Among these, he is best known for his painting "Mother and Child" which is displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mother and Child, ca.1906, oil on canvas, gift of James Deering, Art Institute of Chicago.

"Melchers experienced occasional moments of genius, and that was unquestionably the case on the day he put brush to canvas to produce this universal image of motherhood. The mother's protective ardor, the lifelike naturalism of the baby and the directness of their gaze, strike a responsive chord with anyone who ever had a mother. "
- Joanna D. Catron, University of Mary Washington

Here is a very colorful example called Madonna of the Fields. It is on display at the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia.

Gari Melchers, Madonna of the Fields, c. 1895, gouache on canvas, 30 x 27 inches

"Madonna of the Fields appeared on the cover of the New York Evening Post Saturday Magazine in December of 1915. It is a classic example of one of Melchers' best-known and beloved themes, the Dutch mother and child.

The painting depicts a young mother seated in a bucolic village landscape, serenely nursing her baby while a young blond child cuddles close and gazes directly at the viewer through large blue eyes.Traces of pencil - elegant and subtle - enhance the gouache paint and invite the viewer for a close study that reveals Melchers' masterful touch. Stylistically, Madonna of the Fields illustrates Melchers' interest in Symbolism..." - Telfair Museum

Of these three examples, and the dozens of others I found online, the first is still my favorite. I would love to find a copy of the original image in color!

No comments: