This time of year puts the focus on family, and at the center of the family is the special relationship between mother and child. Thanks in part to the powerful patronage of the Roman Catholic Church, there are thousands of pencil sketches and preparatory drawings of Mary and baby Jesus. But mother-and-child depictions are touching images regardless of who the mother and the child may be. Mary Cassatt's portrayals of mothers with their children are notable for their ability to express the tenderness of their scene without turning maudlin.
Raphael, Leonardo, Dalí, Picasso–all have depicted mother and child and explored the potent dynamics of this fundamental bond. Does anyone have a favorite drawing in this genre?
Virgin and Child Studies, by Raphael, pen drawing over traces of red chalk in the center, 10 x 7 1/4. Collection British Museum, London, England.