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Published: Saturday, 5/8/2010

Celebrate Mother's Day at the Toledo Museum of Art

Feeding the Ducks, Mary Cassatt
(American), about 1895
Feeding the Ducks, Mary Cassatt (American), about 1895

Looking for an easy com pliment for mom this Moth er's Day? Tell her she's as pretty as a picture. Want to prove your sincerity? Make one of her.

The idea of celebrating mothers through art is nothing new. Examples go all the way back to ancient times, well before a national observance for moms was established here in 1914. As Marc Gerstein, an art history professor at the University of Toledo, explains: ‘‘Mothers and children are something that goes back to prehistoric art.''

The results cover the spectrum, from the colorful characters of religion and mythology to the drab Ar rangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 (popularly known as Whistler's Mother) by James McNeill Whistler. If you want to get creative about it, you could even include some thing like Mary Cassatt's Feeding the Ducks. The color etching from about 1895, on display at the Toledo Muse um of Art, shows two women in a boat with a little girl and represents a sort of collec tive mothering, Mr. Gerstein says.

For every kind of mother, it seems there's an artist to represent her. Here are a few favorites at the Toledo museum worth pointing out this Mothers' Day, thanks to some insight from assorted museum officials and the book, Toledo Museum of Art Masterworks.

Contact Ryan E. Smith at: ryansmith@theblade.com or 419-724-6103

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