From April 3 to May 18, 2013 the Mūkusala Art Salon will be showing “Madonnas”, an exhibition from the gallery collection, dedicated to the image of mother - Mother-of-God - woman. Visitors will be able to explore the breadth of reflections and interpretations of the subject of the Madonna in Latvian art - starting from paintings and prints from the 19th and 20th centuries and up to a 2011 musical composition by Jēkabs Nīmanis - “Hear me, mother!”
The exposition, on display between Easter and Mother’s Day, not only offers an opportunity to admire the ideal image of mother and child and the special closeness of their relationship (Auseklis Baušķenieks, Edvards Grūbe, Zenta Logina, Rita Valnere, Hilda Vīka), but also draws attention to the relation of this subject to the cult of Virgin Mary as Mother of God, widespread in Catholicism, allowing to explore works of religious content (the icon from 1928, Boriss Bērziņš, Biruta Delle, Johans Jūliuss Dērings, Artēmijs Gruzdiņš, Māris Subačs, Voldemārs Irbe) that directly refer to iconographic systems of the church or texts from the Bible and the Apocrypha. It also has to be remarked that the contemporaneity of Mother’s Day and the veneration of the Mother of God is not a coincidence, as May is the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the calendar of Roman Catholic Church - a time when special prayers and services are dedicated to her.
At the same time, next to the idealized images of Madonnas, there is a contrasting image of woman, one that appeared in Latvian art during World War I - the suffering mother, who, having lost her children, relatives and home, turns from the guardian of the family hearth to a resigned solitary, plagued by grief (Aleksandra Beļcova, Jāzeps Grosvalds, Kārlis Padegs). Finally, the outlook of Latvian women-artists of the late 20th century reveals that becoming a mother comes with self-sacrifice, physical pain and encounters with existential angst (Ieva Caruka-Markēviča, Helēna Heinrihsone, Rasa Jansone, Aija Zariņa).
“Madonnas” is presented in collaboration with the Latvian Radio Choir, Latvijas Radio 3 Klasika, VSIA “Latvijas Koncerti”.
Sniedze Kāle, art historian
Image caption: Auseklis Baušķenieks. In the Yard. 1938. Oil on canvas. 130 x 93 cm. Photo: Normunds Brasliņš