Madonna and child through the ages

Art portfolio- my work

“Mother is the name of God on the lips of all children”

The above line was said in the movie ‘The Crow’ I think it was in the second one and not completely sure that I quoted it correctly, but it made a huge impact on me, even before I had children.  I used to think how amazing it must feel to be seen like that, but now I think how impossibly difficult it can be.

I was raised in a very patriarchal version of Christianity, and although my religious views have gone through a lot of different metamorphic stages, I am very much intrigued by the catholic matriarchal version.  Apparently there are a number of apocryphal texts, (the infancy Gospels) which elaborates on His early years, but why is it left out in the canonical gospels? Is the following maybe the reason?

There is nothing particularly Christian about the stories attributed to Jesus; rather, the stories elaborate on the missing years of Jesus with reference to Hellenistic legend and pious imagination.

I wonder what happened in and after the stable.

Was the birth difficult as promised to be after the fall?  Was there complications? Was Joseph present? Did the baby miraculously slide out of the uterus like the way he made is appearance inside it?

Did the baby Jesus have problems teething?  Did he suffer from diaper rash?

Did the Mother Mary suffer from prenatal depression?

I suspect that I am not the only one asking these questions.

In all the depictions I have seen of the Madonna and child she always looks so serene.  Not a worry in the world.  I presume it is because the church commissioned those works and wanted it so, or maybe it is the same reason why family photographs are almost always portrayed as happy go lucky even though they might have had a quarrel just before the shutter went off.

After the birth, did Joseph and Mary finally manage to find a home to raise their child?  Did he ever fall and hurt his knees?  Did he have friends?

“XI. 1 Now when he was six years old, his mother sendeth him to draw water and bear it into the house, and gave him a pitcher: but in the press he struck it against another and the pitcher was broken. 2 But Jesus spread out the garment which was upon him and filled it with water and brought it to his mother. And when his mother saw what was done she kissed him; and she kept within herself the mysteries which she saw him do.” -(

What was it like to be a mother in those days?

If I knew more about it, would it change my perception of the Madonna and Child, or even motherhood?

Maybe it’s just another fairytale, but then again in fairytales the mother doesn’t really make an appearance.

I have read somewhere that

“Madonna’s are a common idiom in Renaissance painting.  There was hardly an artist who did not attempt this great theme.  We can understand why.  The wonderful thing about the Madonna and Child theme is that it appeals both to the specifics of Christianity (where the humanity of Christ is a central mystery) and to the human values on which all religion is based, through out the world.  Every painter had a mother.  Every psyche has been affected by this fact.”

The painters of that time were mostly men, and I wonder if women where allowed to paint, would that  have changed the ‘image’ of the Madonna and child we so often see?

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