Mother’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Not just because I love my Mother and Mother-In-law, or because my wife is an incredible Mother, but because it elicits a flood of competing emotions that all work together to celebrate a mother’s beautiful gift of self to her children. The essence of charity. The greatest of all virtues.
William Bouguereau’s 1878 masterpiece “Charity,” beautifully captures the heart of Motherhood, as it shows a radiant young woman caring for and protecting five children (picture at bottom of post). She gives her love fully to them through guidance, nurturing, sustenance, comfort, knowledge, poverty, and protection. Her guidance is represented by the child in her right arm staring into her eyes in anticipation of mother’s direction. Nurturing and sustenance are captured by her bared breast and willingness to give herself for the needs of the child on her right leg. Comfort is represented by the child peacefully sleeping in her left arm amidst the chaos. The boy by her right foot leans upon two books and a piece of paper, displaying her intent to offer education and knowledge. Underneath her left foot is an overturned jug of coins, indicating her willingness to impoverish herself by giving all she has for her children. The coins appear to be spilled intentionally so that she can raise her leg and offer a more comfortable resting place for the child in her arms. To her, the money is of little consequence compared to the wellbeing of her children. The child nestled on her cloak by her left leg takes refuge in the guard of mother’s protection.
Every element of this painting is made evident by the mothers in my life. It is no wonder that this painting sold for $3.6 million in 2000 and currently holds the record for a Bouguereau painting sold at auction.
Mother’s Day is more than a celebration of the joys of raising children, but a time to reflect and express our appreciation for every aspect of a Mother’s charity. For me this means spending time enjoying the presence of my mother, wife, and children. It means reflecting on the mothers and grandmothers who cannot share the day with me. It is a time to share with my wife in the memory of our children that are in Heaven. It is even a time of empathy and prayer for those who long to be mothers but are experiencing difficulty having children. The charity of mothers pulls families and communities together.
God bless mothers.
- Article contributed from Personal-Prints. For a limited time in anticipation of Mother’s Day, Personal-Prints.com is offering $20 off their full line of personalized Mother's Day gifts and art with coupon code: TAKE20 .