Maria Lactans

Collection presentation

Maria Lactans

08.03.2022 - 31.03.2024
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A mother breastfeeding her child – an intimate moment that since time immemorial has been depicted in various ways. Including as sculpture. In 2021, the 13th-century 'Maria Lactans' by Italian sculptor Brioloto de Balneo enriched the collection of M. An international masterpiece on a topical theme – now with its own focus room.

Evolution

From a rather wooden Mary on her throne to the baby Jesus who falls asleep from pure contentment – over the years, the iconography of the 'Maria Lactans' has undergone a true evolution. Where one artist chose a rather distant representation, another went for an intimate moment between mother and child. In the focus room, confronting the work of Brioloto de Balneo with a 16th-century painting by Joos van Cleve and a 19th-century sculpture by Constantin Meunier – a transhistorical representation of a theme with works from M's collection – makes this this evolution clear.

Universal

The theme of mother and child was too universal to disappear from art. Some works say something about religion, others about changing attitudes or the bond between mother and child. Even today, the topic is more than ever topical: just think of the discussions around public breastfeeding. Perhaps Brioloto, van Cleve and Meunier has something to teach us.

 

The masterpiece 'Maria Lactans' belongs to the collection of the Flemish Community and was purchased via the Masterpiece Fund.

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