Sartle presents: The mothers who made our favorite artists

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Throughout art history, artists have paid homage to the compelling power of motherhood– from countless Virgin-and-Child combos to mothers doing everyday things like delousing their children’s hair or narrowly averting circumcision-by-cat.

Even the coolest, most emotionally tortured artists can’t deny that they love their moms, so in honor of Mother’s Day we’ve brought together five of our all-time favorite artworks featuring none other than the artist’s mother.

1. Rembrandt Van-Rijn’s mother: Neeltgen Willemsdr van Zuydtbroeck


The Artist’s Mother (1629) by Rembrandt Van-Rijn

Rembrandt painted a fair few portraits of his mother in his quest to master the skill of perfect wrinkles (I’m sure she was thrilled by his unforgiving realism). Not much is known about their relationship, but for her to sit for hours for his portraits definitely would have taken a world of patience… especially with an end result like this.

2. Pablo Picasso’s mother: María Picasso y López


Portrait of the Artist’s Mother (1896) by Pablo Picasso

Picasso was something of a casanova in his time– he loved women, was married twice, and had a whole slew of affairs. Despite his bad behavior, Picasso had the utmost respect for his mother and they shared an incredibly close bond.

3. David Hockney’s mother: Laura Hockney


My Mother (1986) by David Hockney

Laura encouraged David to pursue art from an early age and became the inspiration behind many of his paintings. Upon her death in 1999, Hockney said "I always knew exactly where my mother was. If I wanted to have a chat with her I could phone her and she would drop whatever she was doing to talk to me.“ 


4. Vincent van Gogh’s mother: Anna Carbentus van Gogh


Portrait of the Artist’s Mother (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh’s first introduction to art was through his mom, who was herself an amateur artist. However, Vincent’s persistent depression often made him inaccessible to his family members, mother included. This portrait, adapted from a black and white photograph, hints at a longing for closeness with the woman who passed down her artistic talent.

5. Paul Cézanne’s mother: Anne-Elisabeth Honorine Aubert


The Artist’s Mother (1867) by Paul Cézanne  

Anne-Elisabeth was known for being a hopeless romantic who was endlessly proud of her son’s artistic career. And Cézanne had the best of both worlds– full emotional support from his mother and a father who backed him financially throughout his career. Cha-ching!

Happy mother’s day from all of us at the Sartle office!


By: Louisa

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Louisa Dewey


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