Mother’s portrait by James Whistler

Mothers portrait by James Whistler

An American from Paris, who received his first skills in fine arts in Russia, and for the most part lived in England, is all James Whistler. The founder of the Tonalism, which was the forerunner of Impressionism, the great talent and the great original, Whistler remembered his contemporaries with epatage and antics, but the descendants could already appreciate the whole power of his talent, through the prism of his extraordinary deeds.

“Portrait of a mother” – one of the most famous works of Whistler. The picture has long become a kind of symbol, along with the “Daugavpils” of Da Vinci, “The Memory Permanence” of Dalí and the “Black Square” by Malevich.

The canvas depicts the mother of the artist, who was called Anna McNeil. Although today the masterpiece is considered almost the symbol-banner of the “cult of the mother”, some researchers believe that the artist’s mother appeared here by chance – the model could not come to the artist that day. Others are inclined to argue that the idea of the picture Whistler hatched for a long time, and it was in this form it represented.

Minimal details, lack of color diversity, and a simple, almost flat composition, for which many critics and critics gathered around the shop to criticize. The mother is depicted in profile and sitting on a chair, which is the same explanation – the woman in the picture is already in old age, and Whistler, knowing that the mother will not easily stand the entire long tedious posing session, sat her on a chair.

Color interpretation completely corresponds to the position of the tonicism – the dominant colors are black and white, from which the entire plot develops. A bright white spot is a picture on the wall in the style of a passepartout.

James Whistler’s canvas today is much lobbied by movies, animated films, musicals – it’s enough to recall “Mr. Bean”, the second part of the comedy film “The Naked Gun” and the legendary “The Simpsons.” However, the master himself is unlikely to like it – the painter was in favor of pure art, devoid of credibility, entourage and other things that interfered with understanding the formal value of this or that picture. Eventually, he fell prey to these very human prejudices: his contemporaries were hampered by his talent of outrageous Whistler behavior. “Portrait of the mother” the artist presented to the court of the British Art Academy, and she was resolutely rejected. This was the last picture Whistler recommended for approval to the learned community of the art world.

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