Mother and Child (The Oval Mirror) (detail). Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926). Oil on canvas, 32 1/8 x 25 7/8 in., ca. 1899. H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.47)
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Saluting 5,000 Years of Mothers

Across centuries and cultures, artists have paid visual tribute to the joys of motherhood

Today and every day, mothers deserve the best—and we hope you’re spending time pampering yours right now. (And if you can’t be there in person, remember to call her. Really.) Celebrate Mother’s Day with us with a spin through The Met collection, one that illustrates how mothers and their children have been an irresistible subject for artists for thousands of years.

 

A Ceramic Cradle

Mother and Child Figure. Mexico, Mesoamerica (Tlatilco). Ceramic, H. 2 1/2 x W. 2 1/4 in., 12th–9th century B.C. Purchase, Arthur M. Bullowa Bequest, 1998 (1998.242)

 

Divine Motherhood

Terracotta statuette of Aphrodite and Eros. Greek, South Italian (Hellenistic). H. 8 1/4 in., terracotta, 3rd century B.C. Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.232.11)

 

Spiritual Bonds

Virgin and Child in Majesty. Made in Auvergne, France. Walnut with paint, tin relief on a lead white ground, and linen; 31 5/16 x 12 1/2 x 11 1/2 in.; ca. 1175–1200. Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1916 (16.32.194a, b)

 

Lacing Up

The Lacemaker. Nicolaes Maes (Dutch, 1634–1693). Oil on canvas, 17 3/4 x 20 3/4 in., ca. 1656. The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.5)

 

Getting a Wiggle On

Midnight: Mother and Sleepy Child. Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, ca. 1754–1806). Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper, 14 3/8 x 9 5/8 in., 1790. Rogers Fund, 1922 (JP1278)

 

Hers-and-Hers Outfits

Mrs. Robert Shurlock (Henrietta Ann Jane Russell, 1775–1849) and Her Daughter Ann. John Russell (British, 1745–1806). Pastel on paper, laid down on canvas, 23 7/8 x 17 3/4 in., 1801. Gift of Geoffrey Shurlock, 1967 (67.132)

 

Handled with Care

Figure: Mother with Vessel and Child. Nigeria (Yoruba peoples). Ivory, H. 6-1/8 in., 19th–20th century. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls, 1991 (1991.162.2)

 

Not-So-Still Life

Young Mother Sewing. Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926). Oil on canvas, 36 3/8 x 29 in., 1900. H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.48)

 

Lighting the Hearth

Young Mother Gazing at Her Child. William Bouguereau (French, 1825–1905). Oil on canvas, 56 x 40 1/2 in., 1871. Bequest of Zene Montgomery Pyle, 1993 (1993.402)

 

Modern Mom

Mother and Child. Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Nigerian, born 1983). Acrylic, transfers, colored pencils, collage and commemorative fabric on paper, 95 3/4 in. x 10 ft. 4 1/4 in., 2016. Purchase, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation Gift, 2017 (2017.106)

 

Delight your mother every day of the year with The Met Store’s range of art-inspired gifts.

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