Mothers in art

Raising a child is an art in itself, so with Mother's Day coming up on 11th March, we're celebrating motherhood by sharing our favourite paintings of mothers reflected in art. 

Being a mother is hard work and as we take a look at the below images, we do wonder how the mothers of these brilliant artists fostered such creative minds.

1. Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait of the artist's mother (1888)

Painted from a black and white photograph, Van Gogh was first introduced to the world of art by his mother, Anna Carbentus Van Gogh. An amateur artist herself, Anna enjoyed the medium of watercolour using plants and flowers as her subjects. This painting in particular, was part of a whole family series after resolving years of strained relations. 

2. David Hockney, My Mother (1986)

From the 1970's to 86, Hockney created several photomontage images, including this one of his mother shot in Yorkshire, England. Rearranged to show different sides of her face out of around thirty different images, the natural lighting softly highlights signs of age but also her happiness and the warm feelings of Hockney towards his mother. 

3. Andy Warhol, Julia Warhola (1974)

Andy Warhol has an elusive past, often lying or providing one-word answers during his interviews, making him a 'man of mystery'. Although we don't know much about his relationship with his family, we do know he had a strong connection with his mother Julia, who lived with him in New York from 1952 to 1970. 

Born in Slovakia, Julia inspired Warhol to pursue art due to her own love of the craft. Her work can often be seen merged with Warhol's, where he's used her calligraphy to contribute to his illustrations and books. 

4. James McNeill Whistler, Whistler's Mother (1871)

Painted using oil on canvas, 'Whistler's Mother' is one of the most famous works by American-born artist James McNeill Whistler. His mother Anna posed for the painting whilst living in London with her son in Chelsea. However, stories believe that Anna was acting as a model replacement and Whistler originally envisioned the model standing, but due to her age she requested to sit instead. 

5. Juan Gris, Portrait of the artist's mother (1912)

At the time of Picasso and Braque where many artists were experimenting and playing against the conventions of painting, Gris still wanted to please the eye and concentrate on the emotion behind his work. 

Although Gris often distorted the features of his subjects, which can be seen in the portrait of his mother, Gris' compositions were well balanced and subjects kept traditional. It was Gris' dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler who first referred to the painting as a portrait of the artist's mother, supposedly painted from memory, as after leaving Madrid Gris never saw her again.