Mother and Child

Possible Classroom Concepts: Social Studies – Families, Women’s Rights

Possible Art Concepts: Art History – Mary Cassatt

Portraits, Drawing (Pastels), Human Figure, Depicting Emotion

With Mother’s Day approaching, I can’t help but think of the mother child relationship and how it is depicted in art. Family and the things they do together are common concepts taught in the primary grades.  Early depictions of mother and child were religious in nature. Very few artists painted the everyday mother and child until the Impressionists came along. The American Impressionist artist, Mary Cassatt, painted a lot of mother and child images. Lets face it, she was a single woman in the late 19th century. She wasn’t visiting the Moulin Rouge every night and hanging out with her fellow painters. Women were held to a different standard. She painted what she knew: family, friends and the opera.

Some Cassatt Mother and Child Paintings:

 “Emmie and Her Child”


“Breakfast in Bed”


“Mere et L’enfant” (Translation: “Mother and Child”)

Cassatt paintings of family doing things together:


“The Bath”

Cassatt's The Crochet Lesson

“The Crochet Lesson”


“The Banjo Lesson”

“Young Mother Sewing”


“The Boating Party”

Learn more about Mary Cassatt and this painting at NGA ’s An Eye For Art:

In my last post, I talked about four sources of quick ways to integrate your lessons. Here are two more great sites:

Picturing America:

NGA’s Art Babble:

A Cassatt related project for kids can be found here:

Happy Mother’s Day!


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