I recently discovered the artist Kate Hansen, and her Madonna & Child Project, and I really wanted to share it with you. Although I no longer consider myself a “Christian” in the traditional sense, I have always felt a strong affinity for the image of the Madonna and infant Christ, most famously portrayed by Raphael and da Vinci (below, left and right, respectively). This is especially true since I have given birth to my two children.
Kate Hansen has re-created this iconic image using contemporary mothers and their children, and accompanied the portraits with compelling birth stories. Her materials are conte crayon accented with gold leaf. For the patterned halos, she used paper snowflakes as templates. All images copyright Kate Hansen.
In Kate’s own words:
After the birth of my son in 2007 I felt an incredible energy and drive to make art. Contrary to the popular belief that art making is one of the things that fall to the wayside after the birth of children, in my case I felt inspired and compelled by my experience of childbirth and motherhood. It was almost as though the creative act of making another human being awoke a creative drive in me…After my daughter was born in 2008 I had determined to form a series of mother and child portraits and accompany them with birth stories written by each subject. I wished to express simultaneously the imperfection and fallibility of the mothers but capture an element of the divine in the mother/child bond. Each mother also shares a birth story, be it life changing, beautiful, or a harrowing experience, and these common stories serve to unify a very diverse group with a common theme- of love, of self sacrifice, and transcendence. I owe this inspiration to my children- for their beauty, for their challenges and for the unique bond of motherhood that I hope to capture here.
I highly recommend you check out Kate’s web site to see more of her Madonna & Child portraits, as well as her other works.