Maternal Admiration has certain elements of neoclassicism, a school of thought that had long been bypassed by time when Bouguereau was born.
He sets his characters against a natural background, consisting of trees and grass, and has them clad in simple conservative clothing.
Consequently, what would have been an ordinary picture with a woman and her child, now assumes mythical dimensions as it makes the observers try to decipher if it is much more than just a mother admiring the gift of her womb.
Maternal Admiration is one of the greatest and most famous works of William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Seemingly a simple picture depicting a mother and her child, but has deeper meaning which only a keen observer may unravel.
The artist seeks to draw attention to the motherly love that children receive from their parents, and the importance of children in the society.
The love for Mother Nature
A look at the background of this painting will reveal Bouguereau’s affinity for Mother Nature. The trees and the general greenery in the picture show that the artist preferred nature in its pure state.
This impression is also common in most of his other paintings. Bouguereau must have been a romanticist, finding beauty in the environment and women. It is also possible that this artist painted the picture against the backdrop of the industrial revolution in Europe when urbanization had not spread that far.
An insight into Bouguereau’s fascination with female human beings
Maternal Admiration is one of Bouguereau’s greatest works of art, and as expected, it showcases two female human beings.
The title, Maternal Admiration, points to the fact that the lady in the painting is a mother, while the new-born is her child. It is truly a bundle of joy to her, as can be seen from the expression on the mother’s face.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau was a French painter born on November 30, 1825. He is famous for his depiction of mythological themes in his paintings, which often portray his classical inclinations.
Most of his paintings also display the artist’s subtle fascination with the female human body. Consequently, most of Bouguereau’s artworks feature female people, either as adults or children.
Maternal Admiration is one such painting, and it depicts a mother and a newborn, possibly a girl.