“Mother with a sleeping baby,” Juan Batista Martinez del Maso – overview of the painting

“Mother with a sleeping baby,” Juan Batista Martinez del Maso – overview of the painting
“Mother with a sleeping baby,” Juan Batista Martinez del Maso - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo
  • Museum: Hermitage
  • Year: Around 1660

Overview of the painting :

Mother with a sleeping baby is Juan Batista Martinez del Maso. Around 1660. Oil on canvas. 69 x 57 cm.

   This picture is very different from the artist’s ceremonial portraits and gives out his true skill. There are no lush folds and lace in the outfits, abundant gold embroidery and rich jewelry. But the love of the master, the special tenderness that he put into this picture, is fully felt.

   The canvas is filled with soft, dim golden light. He does not fill the whole scene, but delicately highlights its individual fragments – the face and upper body of a sleeping child, the face, neck and shoulders of the woman we see in the profile, from the back. And in this the picture differs from the front paintings – there are no memorized and worked out static poses, it looks natural, as in real life. The artist simply captured a fragment reflecting the daily life of the family, and this is the value of the picture.

   In the image do not find a single bright and catchy paint. All of it is written in a very warm and soft color scheme, with a predominance of golden and brown tones. Only a white scarf on the open shoulders of a woman and a white lead of a baby stand out faintly. Everything else is written in delicate colors that allow the outlines of the figures to literally merge with the background.

   The details of the clothes are minimally worked out, only large folds forming the figure are underlined. But the faces of the characters are given a lot of attention, they are written out with special love. The woman’s dark hair is neatly collected in a simple, non-literary daily hairstyle, and in a sleeping child they are neatly combed and lie on their forehead. The baby sleeps serenely, and the mother looks at him with love and tenderness.

   This picture perfectly complements the artist’s work, showing that he was not only a talented court artist, a master of the ceremonial portrait, but also perfectly knew how to convey subtle, subtle feelings. Such a canvas is the best proof of this.