The pictorial layout of this canvas borrows from the traditional religious image of the "Vergine con Bambino" (Virgin with Child), which enjoyed great success during the 19th century. This piece, which was the second version in a series of 3 dedicated to the theme of maternal love, was the subject of a legal dispute regarding the right to reproduce the image. This involved Tranquillo Cremona and the owner of the first version, Ulisse Borzino, who started selling oleographs of works by the most popular artists of the time.
This second painting can be differentiated from the original—which is also owned by the Galleria d'Arte Moderna—by its color scale, which is brighter, and the slight variations in the pose and expressions of the 2 portraits. The mother regards her daughter with a lovingly worried expression, while the child looks elsewhere, distracted. The strong psychological and emotional feature of the composition evokes the viewer's emotional engagement.
The scapigliatura elements employed by Cremona is his later years, which are derivative of Ranzoni's fragmented environments, are modulated using vibrant color tones and the elaborate destructuring of the picture.


  • Title: Maternal Love
  • Creator: Tranquillo Cremona
  • Creator Lifespan: 1837/1878
  • Date: 1875/1875
  • Physical Location: Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano
  • long term loan: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w74 x h59 cm
  • Provenance: Bequeathed
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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