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Mother: Portraits by 40 Great Artists [Hardcover]

Juliet Heslewood
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

5 Mar 2009
Portraits have been painted for centuries, and for many different reasons. Mothers, as subjects of their own children’s portraits deserve a closer look.

The evolution of such a picture begins with a unique and intimate relationship. Looking at each work and considering its individual history can tell us much about this relationship, about the artist, and also about the time and place in which it was created.

The portraits chosen for this book by Juliet Heslewood, art historian and writer, are shown chronologically, and the changing nature of the subject can be seen as time rolls forward over centuries to the present day.

From Rembrandt, Rossetti and Van Gogh to Picasso, Kahlo and Hockney, over forty portraits make up this collection of artists’ mothers. A delicious combination of biographical anecdote and art history, it is also an elegant celebration of the powerful relationships between sons, daughters and their mothers.

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Mother: Portraits by 40 Great Artists + Child: Portraits by 40 Great Artists + Lover: Portraits by 40 Great Artists
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln; 1st edition (5 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711229651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711229655
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 17.5 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 141,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Lovely idea this: a book of portraits of their mothers by 40 celebrated artists. (Bookseller)

Truly fascinating. Touching, telling and sometimes shocking. (RA Magazine)

The selection is delightful, from Rembrandt, Ingres and Rosetti to Picasso, Freud and Hockney. For each painting the eloquent text explores the unique relationship between artist and sitter, in a winning combination of biographical anecdote and art history... This original volume would make a perfect present for Mother's Day. (Good Book Guide)

For each painting the eloquent text explores the unique relationship between artist and sitter in a winning combination of biographical anecdote and art history. This original volume would make a prefect present for Mother's Day. (Good Book Guide)

Portraits by 40 significant artists - from Rembrandt to Hockney - of their mothers, with eloquent text the explores the unique relationship. (Good Book Guide)

About the Author

Juliet Heslewood studied the History of Art at London University and later gained an MA in English Literature at Toulouse. For over twenty-five years she lived in France where she devised and led study tours on art and architecture as well as continuing her writing career. Her books include The History of Western Painting for young people which was translated into twelve languages. She also wrote its companion on sculpture and Introducing Picasso. She has published collections of world folk-tales. Juliet now lives in Oxfordshire where she continues to write on both art and folklore and is a freelance lecturer in the History of Art.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and enlightening 22 Feb 2010
By Rose
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A book well worth having although, not being an art aficionado, several of the artists were unknown to me. The commentary on the artist and mother accompanying each picture is both interesting and enlightening.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book 25 Sep 2009
This is a scholarly book with beautiful pictures. It is really interesting for your own bed side table or bookshelves. But in addition it is a perfect present for numerous events - obviously for your own mum, your mother in law, your best friend and so on.

It is a great, unusual,thoughtful gift that will delight the receiver and their extended family. It's not just a coffee table book it's something to really savour and enjoy.

Slightly odd front cover but look past that and you will see it is quirky, stimulating and a great pleasure.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars artists from all eras depict their mothers 29 April 2009
By Henry Berry - Published on Amazon.com
With its smaller size, color illustrated covers, and front and back cover lettering of indented silvered letters, it's as much gift book as art book. The subject matter too makes for the gift book style--suggestive of sentimentality and aiming for wide appeal.

Forty paintings of mothers by mostly major, commonly-known artists from Durer to Tom Phillips (b. 1937) are featured chronologically. Rembrandt, Manet, Sargent, Van Gogh, Chagall, Henry Moore, and Lucien Freud are among the artists; with Guido Reni, Hyacinthe Rigaud, and Axel Gallen-Kallela among the lesser-knowns rounding out the forty. The paintings are within the style of realism. No cubist fragmentations, fauvist flights of imagination, or surrealist symbolizations. Only Leger contorts somewhat. You'd recognize the mothers in the paintings. As Heslewood points out, "[I]f an artist didn't really get on with their mother, they simply didn't paint her." Even Picasso and Frida Kahlo suspended their characteristic styles when depicting their mothers in favor of naturalness.

Heslewood's commentary on the paintings variously covers what is known about the respective mother (not much in many cases), the career of the artist, and style and historical elements in the painting. Though artists did not subject their mothers to much stylistic distortion in any era, as Heslewood points out in the Introduction, they did use paintings of their mothers as opportunities to portray clothing, human features, and flesh. In some cases, the artist wanted to commemorate his mother's hard life (as a peasant, for instance) or idealize her a bit by picturing her in better clothes than she had.
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