Mother and Child (The Oval Mirror)
and child themes were extensively explored by both Cassatt and Morisot
throughout their artist careers.
This intimate moment represented contemporary life rather than
the idealized "madonna and child" depiction favored by the
Mother and Child shows the bond between mother and son by them
embracing each other rather than by gazing into each other's eyes. Cassatt's boldness in bringing the nude child as a boy rather
than as a baby Jesus, talks more about the love between parent and
baby rather than a stiff religious painting.
painting is a portrait of her cousin and her child. Her composition is traditional, but
her painterly brushstrokes belie her allegiance to the Impressionists
by conferring to this piece a sense of impermanence. Unlike Cassatt's painting, the two figures look at the viewer
in more of a posed perspective.
The oval mirror,
on the other hand, plays symbolically like a halo, which is rounded.
The scene, though reverent, doesn't seem to be imbued with heavy religious
overtones, rather it is more a scene of daily intimacy.
Little Girl in a Blue Armchair,
two paintings show radically different perspectives on children
Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, prominently focuses on
the little girl, lit in the foreground as she sprawls with a carefree
attitude on the sofa. Her
little dog, a prized posession of French women, accompanies her. Her arms akimbo, the girl is in her
private world with petulant boredom.
The unusual perspective may have been influenced by her
recent friendship with Degas.
The sofas are treated in a painterly blue with pattern,
and unlike the Salon,which portrayed children with sweetness,
this child is allowed to be herself. Cassatt wrote, "I love to paint children. They are so natural and truthful."
(Pollock, Griselda; Mary
Little Girls in the Garden blends the children so that they
are one with the background. The girl in the foreground looks longingly
as if to be on the other side of the gate. The study seems more to be about the
play of light on landscape and children rather than about the kids
and Cassatt distinguish themselves from the Salon by focusing their
composition on children at play, lost in their environment.