Melanie Stegemann

Mehr Mütter - More Mothers

An artist residency in Moscow in 2012 has inspired me to the series ‚Mothers’ and further on ‚More Mothers’.
Due to about 4500 chronologically displayed icons in the Tretjakow gallery I was able to trace the depiction of Maria with Jesus from the last 1000 years. What I found was how graphic and illustrated Maria was back in the days. She seemed like a symbol, an ideal, unapproachable for human kind. Over time though her facial features became softer, the pale skin more lively, the face more personal. She became more and more human up to the point of a moment of identification for me. I suddenly saw a mother with her child.
What I was missing within the process of humanization was one of the most human characteristics of all, the smile as an impression of joy. I just couldn’t believe that Maria, despite or even due to her knowledge of her son’s destiny, didn’t seem to have had a happy moment with her child and I liked the thought of transforming the sadness and heaviness with a digital smile. It also worried me to think about the impact an icon like this could have when it operates as a role model. After the first five mothers I found in Russia, it was a natural consequence for me to look at the rest of art history as well. I instantly came across more ‘sad’ mothers and I worked my way through it. This is how about 90 more smiling mothers generated within this 2014 series ‚More Mothers’ No_6_Albrecht Altdorfer Maria mit Kind in der Glorie 1522,25_20x30_web.jpg No_7_Bellini Madonna mit Heiligen 1505_27x42 19_45_26_web.jpg No_8_Correggio Die heilige Nacht um 1530_23x32_web.jpg No_9_Correggio Die Madonna des hl_ Franziskus 1514,15_25x30_web.jpg No_15_Grünewald Stuppacher Madona 1519_31,5x40_web.jpg No_16_Holbein d_Jüngere Madonna mit Kind und d Familie d Bürgermeisters Meyer, 1528_25x35_web.jpg No_17_Ikone Lindere meinen Kummer Rus_ 19Jh_20x25_web_1.jpg No_18_Lochner Madonna im Rosenhag 1440_18x25_web.jpg No_19_Lucas Cranach Madonna auf der Mondsichel vor 1523_30x41,5_web.jpg No_20_Madonna in den Erdbeeren 1425 Oberrheinischer Meister_16x26,5_web.jpg No_22_Parmigianino Die Madonna mit dem langen Hals 1534-40_21x34_web.jpg No_23_Pfarrkirche St_ Martin 19Jh_13x25_web.jpg No_26_Raffael Sixt_ Madonna 1512,13_30x41_web.jpg No_28_De meester van de Madonna van de abdij van Beuron-Moeder Gods_36,5x48,5_web.jpg No_29_Dirk Bouts-Maria mit Kind_24x35_web.jpg No_30_Dürer2_30x36,5_web.jpg No_31_EPSON036_1_24x35_web.jpg No_32_EPSON037_1_23x26,5_web.jpg No_33_Fra Frilippo Lippi-Maria vereert het Kind_40x46_web.jpg No_34_EDITION_Francesco Raibolini-bijgen_il Francia-Madonna met schutsmantel (omstreeks 1501)_40,5x56_web.jpg No_35_Gentile da Fabriano Tronende Moeder Gods me de H_Catharina en de H_Nicolaas_40x46_web.jpg No_36_Gerard David-Maria mit essendem Kind_24x29,5_web.jpg No_37_Hans Memling-Maria mit dem Apfel_25x34_web.jpg No_38_Hugo van der Goes-Kopf der Maria (Ausschnitt aus der Anbetung der Könige aus Manforte)_24,5x37_web.jpg No_40_Jan van Eyck Moeder Gods in de kerk_23x51_web.jpg No_41_Jan van Eyck-Lucca-Madonna (Detail) um 1437-38_17,5x35_web.jpg No_42_Masolino da Panivale-Moeder Gods_31x49,5_web.jpg No_43_Meester van Keulen-Centraal tafereel van een vleugelaltaar (omstreeks 1420)_41x48_web.jpg No_44_Meister von Flémalle - Maria mit dem Kinde (Ausschnitt)_21,5x36,5_web.jpg No_45_Raffaelo Sanzio_29,37,5_web.jpg No_46_Roger van der Weyden-Medici-Madonna_20,5x37_web.jpg No_48_Schönstatt_10x14,5_web.jpg No_53_unbek_7_27,5x17,5 19_49_58_web.jpg No_63_antonio allegri corregio_maria_mit_dem_kind_6x7_web.jpg No_64_bellini-madonna-and-child1_23x18_web.jpg No_69_SCUOLA DEL XVIII SECOLO_28x21_web.jpg No_70_7_8,5x6_72.jpg No_71_Giovan Battista Salvi Il Sassoferrato Our Blessed Mother Mary Picture_14x11_web.jpg No_72_Marianne_Stokes_Madonna_and_Child_Bellini_17x13_web.jpg no_73_LAURENT DE LA HYRE (PARIGI 1606-1656), AMBITO DI_28x22_web.jpg No_74_madonna_mit_kind-passauer gnadenbild-lucas cranach_7x5_web.jpg No_75 Giovan Battista Salvi detto il Sassoferrato_10x8_web.jpg No_76 Giovan Battista Salvi Called Il Sassoferrato 1609 Picture_6x7,5_web.jpg No_82 SCUOLA LOMBARDA DEL XVII SECOLO_30x34,5_web.jpg No_84 Giovanni_Bellini_Madonna_with_Child_19x24_web.jpg No_85 Jesuskind und Jungfrau Wilton-Dyptichon 1395_18x12_web.jpg No_87 madonna-and-child-Bellini1490_14x18_web.jpg no_89 Rogier_van_der_Weyden_22x45_web.jpg No_90 Madonna-mit-Kind-33904-von-Fra-Filippo-Lippi-18x12,5.jpg No_91 Schongauer_8,5x11,5_web.jpg