From Today’s Notebook, The Dead Mother

As David and I have very little time together, just the weekend, we try to find ways of integrating our interests. Lately David has been joining me in the workroom on Saturday evening , I paint, he chats,  drinks wine, but sometimes he reads an analytic article that piques his interest. This weekend the theme was the Dead Mother by the French psychoanalyst Andre Green.

I will not pretend  that I comprehend much of  the complexities  David found so thrilling ; but it did strike a chord- like many folks I have issues.

My instinct was to create a painting around this archetype. After discussing the Dead Mother with my own psychologist, I was determined to at least get some idea on paper. Ultimately I would like to  create a small secular, analytic icon, gilded ground with glowing green figures; but for now, this sketch will suffice.

For David, The Barren Breast.


The Barren Breast

graphite and watercolor on paper

Until next time, take care,


Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

3 thoughts on “From Today’s Notebook, The Dead Mother”

  1. Have you ever heard of the Victorian photographic tradition of photographing a child with the mother’s figure present, though shrouded in black veiling? It’s not entirely understood why this was done. There are some interesting theories, including the notion that when a mother was dead, a veiled surrogate stood in for her in mother/child photographs, but there are rare examples where the child is clearly dead and being supported by a shrouded mother. Whatever is behind the images, they’re both eery and compelling. You can see examples here:

    Thought this might fit in with the current debate in your studio on the subject of ‘the dead mother’.

  2. Dear Clive,
    I just love you, let’s just be clear!

    I am vaguely aware of ghost mothers but always assumed that they were alive, holding squirming infants; this introduction to dead children with veiled, dead or not ,mothers is fascinating. Thank you for the link(s).
    I have a long standing love of post-mortems, my Nana had an antique shop, daguerreotypes and early photographs weren’t that valued and I was given free access to them. Post-mortem images would pop up and they thrilled me, ACTUAL dead people!
    I have an image of a dead man propped up on a stand, fascinating image, one in which I made a quick painting of several years ago- will need to dust off and post for you.
    I have in fact been working on a larger painting of Dead Mother, I like the way she is progressing. i have taken your advice and I am working quickly or as quickly as I can.
    As always, thank you,

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