Protection in Motherhood

I have depicted the role that mothers have in providing continuous protection of their children. I have ordered the pictures based on the growth and necessity of the child. I looked to show the importance of the mother in proper development of her offspring. The works are from the 17th to 19th centuries. This portrays that motherly dependence has been observed as a reoccurring theme over time. Presented is the different roles that the women provide, not only for the physical needs of their children, but also for their emotional development.

First, I chose an oil painting by Nicolas Lépicié in which he depicts the role of the mother as a nurturer. He shows the reliance a baby has on its mother to provide the necessary sustanance needed for survival. Through the expression on the mother's face, Lépicié shows that--because of this dependency--she must be present, regardless; she must be there for the wellbeing of her baby.
In the video from 1:18-3:47, is shown the importance of motherly comfort. Portrayed is the warmth of a loving mother, shown through the contradiction of a closed, cold stone-carved figure.
Now, Mary Cassatt shows the dependence on physical affection for her child to grow healthily. Babies grow old, quicker than expected. This fleeting time is captured in the picture; this time is seemingly limited, and mothers are therefore limited too in how much time they have to make a lasting effect on their children. The moments squirm away from mother, as quickly as this child does from the mother's arms.
Here, Renoir shows a toddler playing with a motherly figure. The sense of awe in Jean's eyes as he plays, brings about new discoveries which he will build upon throughout his life. Through this time, she shows him how to have fun and grow in creativity and relationships. As well, the look on Gabrielle's face portrays a joyous expression, allowing for her to be present in every growth of Jean.
In Boy Blowing Bubbles, a young boy is experiencing a more mature instance of fun. Through the use of implied lines and light, the audience knows that the boy is the focal point of the painting; however, in the background lingers his mother. She keeps a watchful eye on him, as he leans out the window. In this painting, we see that mothers have an instinctual desire to protect their children, even from a distance--when the simple task is to watch them, if only to protect them from any unnecessary dangers.
Contrary to the other works, this statuette does not have an overlooking mother. I chose this work because I think it beautifully shows the idea that although mothers are necessary in the nurturing and protecting their offspring, they are not always able to provide the necessary comfort and protection they desire. As this portrays, children still get scared and endangered, things that they cannot always be protected from. Pigalle conveys this idea well through this piece, as the child is frightened with no one to protect him.
Finally, I have chosen an 18th century depiction of the Pietà. Here, a different view is shown. The viewer is presented with an image of Christ, after his torture, agony, and death. These were all things that his mother could not have protected him from; however, she is omnipresent with him now, enduring all of his pains: physical and psychological, following the aftermath of the events. He is completely surrounded by her love, continuing to receive affection and comfort from her when all seems lost. The motherly protection is a constant. Ultimately, she is not only providing this comfort for his protection and nurturing, but because there is an unfathomable connection between the two; he was reliant on her as a mere babe, however, this never dissipates, because it builds a giving relationship that does not stop. It is as lasting as the material it is made of.
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