“Mother with a sleeping child”, Juan Batista Martinez del Maso – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

The mother with the sleeping child is Juan Batista Martinez del Maso. Around 1660. Oil on canvas. Sixty nine x fifty seven cm.

   This picture is very different from the ceremonial portraits of the artist and gives his true skill. There are no lush folds and lace in dresses, rich gold embroidery and rich jewelry. But the love of the master, the special tenderness that he put into this picture, is fully felt.

   The canvas is filled with soft, dim golden light. He does not fill the whole scene, but delicately highlights its individual fragments – the face and upper body of the sleeping child, the face, neck and shoulders of the woman we see in profile from the back. And in this the picture differs from the parade canvases – it does not have memorized and worked out static poses, it looks natural, as in real life. The artist simply captured a fragment reflecting the everyday life of the family, and this is the value of the painting.

   In the image you can not find a single bright and catchy paint. All of it is written in a very warm and soft color scheme, with a predominance of golden and brown tones. Only a white kerchief on the woman’s open shoulders and a white baby knitwear stand out gently. Everything else is written in delicate colors, which allow the outlines of the figures to literally merge with the background.

   Details of clothing are minimally worked out, only large folds forming a figure are emphasized. But the faces of the characters paid a lot of attention, they are written out with special love. The woman’s dark hair is neatly collected in a simple, unusual everyday hairstyle, while in a sleeping child they are neatly combed and lie flat on her forehead. The baby sleeps serenely, and the mother looks at him with love and tenderness.

   This picture perfectly complements the artist’s work, showing that he was not only a talented court painter, master of ceremonial portrait, but also knew how to convey subtle, subtle feelings. Such a canvas is the best proof of this."

And all the best they did

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