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Art That Will Make Your Mom Cry: 12 Memories With Mom, Captured by the Masters

The relationship between mother and child has been the subject of some of the greatest artists in history.

In celebration of Mother’s Day, we have curated a list of works of that capture precious memories with mom.

From fleeting everyday moments to images that convey the strength of womanhood, this list encompasses works as diverse and unique as the mother-child relationship itself. overstockArt.com based their selections on the subject matter of and stories behind the works, as well as some that sparked personal memories.

Here are 12 works of art that will make Mom (and her children) a little teary on Mother’s Day:

1. Gabrielle and Jean, Pierre Auguste Renoir

Our mothers are our first teachers, and this masterpiece by Renoir captures that relationship. Renoir was a doting father and created many works of his young son Jean at play. The mother figure in this work is the family servant, Jean. You can sense their affection in her encircling left arm, as young Jean attempts to imitate his teacher’s movements in grasping the toy.

2. Mother and Child, Frederic Leighton

Though the setting of this Pre-Raphaelite work is Victorian, the tender interaction between mother and daughter is timeless. This fleeting shared moment is the kind of simple pleasure that can’t be matched. You can imagine these same expressions—the girl’s delighted little smile, the mother’s tender and attentive patience—at a modern mother and daughter’s pretend tea party.

3. The Sick Child, Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch, the famed Norwegian psychological painter, lost first his mother and then his sister Sophie to tuberculosis at a young age. He created several different versions of this masterpiece, which depicts Sophie in her last days, with a woman believed to be her aunt keeping vigil. The tightly gripped hands at the exact center of the work communicate their deep bond, while the woman’s bowed head and clear distress show a mother (or mother-figure’s) burden.

4. Hope for the Future, Unknown Artist

This painting is an illustration of hope, focusing on the mother cradling her son, as her husband embraces his family. While the artist is unknown, there is no mistaking the warm love, pride and protectiveness in the mother’s expression.

5. Woman and Child Seated in a Garden, Mary Cassatt

How many of us experienced our first discoveries of the world in the garden or backyard, with our mother by our side? That experience is beautifully portrayed here by Mary Cassatt, whose skill at capturing the natural attitudes of children was extraordinary.

6. Mother and Child XI, Mary Cassatt

Cassatt’s skill at portraying the intimate bond between mother and child is on full display in this masterpiece. The pose of the sleepy child communicates absolute trust, while the mother’s expression and encircling arms show a quiet tenderness.

7. Breakfast in Bed, Mary Cassatt
For any mother who was served a well-meaning “breakfast in bed” on Mother’s Day (far before she was ready to get up!) this charming painting is instantly relatable. Cassatt perfectly captures this precious moment and adds a deep level of emotion to her painting.

8. Summertime, Mary Cassatt

For all of those who remember their mother taking them to feed the ducks, this painting will spark a warm memory. This beautiful scene is believed to have been created while Cassatt resided at her cottage in the in the Mesnil-Théribus countryside outside Paris.

9. At the Beach, Edward Henry Potthast

This vivacious Impressionist painting captures the attentive care of a mother as she guides her children to explore a new world. Lara Hooker of overstockArt.com chose this painting for the list, noting that it brought back happy childhood memories of family time at the beach.

10. Portrait of Madame X, John Singer Sargent

While perhaps an unconventional choice for a collection about motherhood, this painting of a glamorous woman is a reminder that a mother is a woman outside of her relationship with her children. Also, to a little girl, her mother is often the most glamorous person imaginable. Watching her get ready for work or an evening out is an almost magical ritual. This painting might spark a memory of a mother through that young daughter’s eyes.

11. The Monet Family in the Garden, Édouard Manet

Claude Monet joins his wife and child for a leisurely depiction by his friend and fellow Impressionist Manet. The lounging mother and child, enveloped by nature’s beauty, lends this painting a comfortable and loving atmosphere.

12. Bouquet of Pink Peonies, Camille Pissarro

For many, memories of Mom are indelibly entwined with images of the flowers she grew in her garden. This gorgeous 1873 painting depicts peonies in a simple vase. Peonies are prized not only for their beauty but for their strength and resilience through the toughest conditions—just like a mother.

Hand painted oil reproductions of all 12 selections are available at overstockArt.com. A painting is such a personal and unique gift—and it serves as a reminder of your affection every day. Giving one of these paintings isn’t guaranteed to make your mom teary, but there’s a good chance it will.

Amitai Sasson

About the Author

Amitai Sasson of overstockArt.com is an art world traveler on a mission to seek out the beauty and passion of the art world. As an avid enthusiast of art and oil paintings, he contributes to ArtCorner.com as Chief editor and writer.