THATOur journey into the world of art starts from …
Piero, Louise & Josephine, 1445 – 1947 – 1999
Two or rather three drops of water: the “Madonna of Mercy” from Piero della Francescawho very naturally opens his arms wide and lifts his great cloak to invite people to take refuge there, and “Maman” by Louise Bourgeois, a giant spider mother who holds her young’s marble eggs in her womb but is ready to protect all those seeking a home under her body. Louise’s mother was a tapestry weaver, and therefore Maman is also the working mother who is able to weave plots about her children’s future and about the world.
Piero della Francesca, Polyptykon of the Madonna of Mercy, 1445-1462, Sansepolcro Civic Museum
Louise Bourgeois, Maman, 1999
She is also a full-fledged Maman there “Sort Venus” Josephine Baker with his “rainbow tribe,” consisting of the twelve children he would adopt from all over the world.
Michelangelo & Jan, 1497 – 2011
Two mothers who in very distant times created scandal. After its emergence “Pietà” by Michelangelo raised some confusion for the almost teenage mother, such as seeming even younger than her own son. Yet it is also the Trinity that Dante herself sings in Paradise: “Virgin mother, daughter of your son”. More than five centuries later, the “Pietà” by Jan Fabre she was even accused of blasphemy.
Michelangelo, Vatican City, 1497-1499
Jan Fabre, Merciful Dream (Pietà V), 2011
But having replaced Michelangelo’s face of the mother with a skull and of Jesus with his own self-portrait is meant as nothing more than the intense representation of a mother who wants nothing more than to die in her son’s place.
Ambrogio & Vanessa, 1492 – 2006
There “Madonna del Latte” by Bergognonekept in the Accademia Carrara, is one of the most tender testimonies of perhaps the richest iconography in the history of Christian art.
Bergognone, Madonna del latte, ca 1492-1495, Bergamo, Carrara Academy
Vanessa Beecroft, White Madonna with Twins, 2006
It looks like the red-haired Madonna herself Vanessa Beecroftwho in 2006 takes on the role of a Mother Nature, protecting against fire and breastfeeding her children (the two orphaned twins Madit and Mongor, met on a trip to Sudan) beyond all geographical, cultural and genetic boundaries.
Piero & Pino, 1450 – 1964
In another masterpiece of Piero della Francescathat “Madonna del Parto” frescoes in Monterchi di Arezzo we find Maria in the role of any pregnant woman, “photographed” in the all-natural gesture of bringing her hand to her hip and arching her back to support the weight of her already pronounced belly.
Piero della Francesca, Madonna del Parto, 1450 -1465, Monterchi
Pino Pascali, maternity leave, 1964
Not so different is “Maternity” immortalized by Pino Pascalipresent image of a permanent pregnancy, stopped by a guess at the eighth month, in the eternal expectation of giving birth to the future.
Hieronymus & Anish, 1480 – 2004
A famous symbol of motherhood in art, the egg in all cultures means life, birth, rebirth, the revelation of a surprise. In his “Garden of Earthly Delights,” Bosch overturns the fate of creation and instead of taking back a humanity that comes out of an open shell, he imagines it returning there, in search of a prenatal condition.
Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1480-90, detail, Prado Museum
Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, 2004-06, Chicago, Millennium Park
The same rewind who live, who take refuge under the great «Cloud Gate» installed by Anisk Kapoor in Chicago, a big egg belly ready to welcome the final and also the infinite: the whole city and the sky reflected in it.
Giacomo & Dorothea, 1730 – 1936
Amidst so many representations of bourgeois mothers struggling to care for their children in their tastefully decorated rooms, Giacomo Ceruti said Pitocchettes it portrays a very poor mother, reduced to exhaustion, who no longer even has milk to feed her child.
Giacomo Ceruti known as Pitocchetto, mother with children, approx. 1730
Dorothea Lange, Wandering mother with three children, 1936
The same fate befell Flores, “The Migrant Mother,” photographed by Dorothea Lange in the picture that has become an icon of the American Great Depression: a poor pea-picking mother living with her children in a tent.
Francesco & Mariella, 1535 – 2015
Who is not fascinated by the “long-necked Madonna” of Parmigianino?
Parmigianino, Madonna with long neck, about 1535, Florence, Uffizi
Mariella Bettineschi, The Next Era (Parmigianino, Madonna with a Long Neck) 2015
In his series «The next era», the artist from Bergamo Mariella Bettineschi it doubles its gaze, as if to say that the mother is the one who, thanks to two pairs of eyes, can look beyond things, shows us how to face the future, is a woman who is able to “bring world to world “.
Massimo & Gillian, 1949 – 2003
Sometimes mother and daughter fall apart, they are truly one.
Massimo Campigli, mother and daughter, 1949, Mart di Trento
Gillian Wearing, Self-Portrait as My Mother, 2003
It happens in a portrait of Massimo Campiglias well as in “Self-Portrait as My Mother” by Gillian wearing.
Andrea & Ermanno, 1496 – 1978
Motherhood is not just a private fact, but a sign of hope and rebirth that involves the whole of society, if not all of humanity. i “Madonna della Vittoria by Mantegna», The birth of the child is shared with the community of the saints, within the natural order of things that unfold on a large pergola, on which fruits swollen with symbolic juices are piled up, from cedar trees (imperishability) to pomegranates (abundance), from the coral that chases negative presence away to the walnut that protects the fruit in a leathery shell.
Andrea Mantegna, Madonna della Vittoria, 1496, Louvre
Ermanno Olmi, The Tree of Zoccoli, 1978
Children are a guarantee for a future also in the choir story about “The Main Tree” by Olmi: “Children come into the world alone without anyone’s help” tells his wife, who has just given birth to her third child, to Batistì. And when her husband points out that it is “Another mouth to feed”she answers promptly: “But no, you do not have to worry. Det går rigurdì cusa va disìa la pora òsta màma? When a beautiful baby is born, Providence gives him his little bundle “.