LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blessed Art Thou Among Women

Last Saturday, we went to an exhibition at the art museum that highlighted the paintings and photographs of several American women modernists. One of the most famous photographers of her day, Gertrude Kasebier (1852-1934), became known for her motif of mothers in her photos. A mother of three herself, she said, “"My children and their children have been my closest thought, but from the first days of dawning individuality, I have longed unceasingly to make pictures of people...to make likenesses that are biographies, to bring out in each photograph the essential personality."

One of my favorite paintings of hers does bring out the essential personality in her subject matter. It is called Blessed Art Thou Among Women, which alludes to the biblical passage surrounding Mary and the Annunciation. The woman—the mother—in the photograph stands in the doorway with a girl of maybe 10 years old in a dark dress, tights, and shoes. The mother wears a long, flowing white gown with ruffles on the top that remind me of angel’s wings. She’s looking away from the lens and seems to be leaning over to give the girl a kiss on the head. The visual contrast between the mother’s white gown and the girl’s dark dress grabs my attention and pulls me in.

The theme of a mother getting her child ready for the world makes this photograph particularly striking. As I looked at it, I thought about the mystique surrounding motherhood. I thought about my daughter: does she know how much I love and adore her? And how grateful I am that she is mine and what a gift she has been to me?

I thought about my mother: does she know how much I love and adore her? And how grateful I am for all she has done for me and what a gift she has been to me?

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, I’ll make sure to tell them these things again. And I’ll think about how motherhood has stretched and grown me more than I ever dreamed it would, how I love being a mother even on challenging days, how I can’t imagine my life any other way.

No comments:


Home | About | Articles | Speaking | Links | Contact | FAQ
Blogs: Christians in the Arts | Beauty and the Beholder

Copyright 2007 LeAnne Martin. Site designed by ChurchGraphics.org