Don’t Forget to Call Your Mom!

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This post is serving as a PSA to remind you to call yer mother, because Sunday is Mother’s Day! We thought we’d celebrate at Sartle by taking a look at one of art history’s most famous moms, painted by her son James Whistler in Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, better known as “Whistler’s Mother”.


Mrs. W looks like an austere woman, with her conservative black outfit and stern expression.  Then again, maybe little Jim was taking forever to slap it on the canvas! I’d be hard pressed to keep a smile plastered on my face if I was sitting in a hard wooden chair for hours.  So perhaps this image is more of a “what not to do” for today’s Hallmark holiday. 

Nonetheless, it’s captured the imaginations of many a copycat, and we’ve chosen it to kick off our series Art History Lives On, which surveys the wonderfully weird riffs on famous artworks people have created throughout the years. Take a look and maybe this time you’ll have something interesting to talk about when you call home:


Aline Smithson, inspired by some killer finds at a garage sale, made her mark on the art world by dressing up her 80 year old mother in these hilarious costumes, poking fun at Mrs. Whistler’s serious demeanor.  Can you spot the Edward Degas reference? Hint: Degas had a thing for ballerinas.  Or how ‘bout those puppies à la Andy Warhol?


And here she is doing The Last Supper…Smithson is clearly a Sartler, with all this art history humor!

But Whistler’s Mother has made her mark outside the art world as well.  She’s been on The Simpsons twice! Once, we see a portrait of Mr. Burns’ Mom that bears a striking resemblance:


And here, the ultimate American matriarch Marge pays homage in a get-up they call “Simpstler’s Mother”:


Here’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Leonardo doing the deed. Just don’t confuse her for Da Vinci’s mama:


Donald Duck, Mr. Bean and Gonzo from the Muppets did it:


Hell, someone even made the thing out of Legos:


But my favorite reproduction by far is from the art history/lotion themed shoot on America’s Next Top Model (yes, you read that right).  From the frightening mind of Tyra Banks, ladies and gentlemen:


And that’s enough internet for today. 

Now get that card signed, sealed and delivered and in 2 days, don’t forget to…well, you know.

By Angelica Jardini

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Angelica Jardini

Sr. Editor

Comments (1)


I have so much thrills reading this article and I really like it.