This painting was made by Umberto Boccioni in 1907 in Padua, where the artist joined his mother and sister who were staying there. He remained there until April of the same year, when he moved to Venice. The artist completed 2 other pieces during his time in Padua, his Portrait of Virgilio Brocchi and Portrait of the Painter Adriana Bisi Fabbri, which share their photographic cut (borrowed from the teachings of Giacomo Balla) and unusual format—Boccioni's subjects are moved and depicted on one side of the horizontal canvas—with the canvas found at the Galleria d'Arte Moderna. The stylistic approaches of the 3 paintings are different: Bisi Fabbri's, created outdoors, relies on the Divisionist approach—once again owing a debt to the works of Balla—while the execution of the other 2 more closely resembles European portraiture.
In fact, both "Ritratto della madre" and "Ritratto di Virgilio Brocchi" depict the figures, captured indoors, with loose brushstrokes in the post-Impressionist style. Boccioni adopted this artistic language on his travels and during his visits to the Venice Biennale.