Mama’s Boy, 1913

For the skill of this painter who in a small painting shows the real relationship of a mother to her adult son.

 The dash of white for the cuff of his right shirt sleeve so that you see how he is leaning for support on the balustrade.  The shadow cast over his face by his straw boater.  His mother’s face is, of course, in full light.

 The curve of both of his shoulders and arms which calls on our sympathy in face of his mother’s martial bearing:  the arch of her back, the buttons of her suit like those on a military jacket, the tension of her shoulder.  Her black bag wielded like a possible weapon.

And most of all the feather of her hat whose victorious angle brooks no nonsense!  A woman so dominant that a feather is sufficient for her to assert her authority. 

Poor man!  Even the background denotes that there is no short-term end to this domination: there are clouds in the background just below their shoulders to denote a landscape of forever……..

 

 

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Mother’s Darling, and detail, 1913, oil on canvas. Guy Pene du Bois, 1884-1958, American.  Delaware Art Museum

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