I discovered Kate Hansen’s artwork via Jasmine at Doula Right Thing (she’s pretty popular in my world these days it seems!). Hansen created an exquisite series titled the Madonna and Child Project. About these portraits in Kate’s words:
Each portrait is done in conte crayon and accented with a gold leaf halo. These were made with reference to portraits of the Virgin with child from the 15th century, as well as an early 20th century revival of the practice by such artists as William Adolphe Bouguereau….
A common theme throughout many of the birth stories was a sense of inadequacy. Many women felt they did not live up to their ideal of what a mother should be, what a birth should be. There was sometimes a sense of loneliness, … [f]or some women it was elating, as they gave birth naturally after a previous c section, and proved to themselves that they were capable of giving birth. For everyone it was a rite of passage, a moment in our lives right before motherhood, when everything changes, even ones sense of self. I wanted to draw some parallels between our own ideals of what a mother should be, and the cultural ideal of motherhood, symbolized by the Virgin Mary. I wanted simultaneously to honour motherhood, in all the glory of it’s imperfection.
HT of course to Doula Right Thing.