Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Famous matriarchs inspire this Mother’s Day quiz


James Whistler's "Portrait of the Artist's Mother" originally had a different title.


From primitive cave drawings and classical sculpture to Cubist paintings and modern sitcoms, the subject of mothers has played a central role in the history of art.

Most of us know our own mothers, but what about matriarchs who have inspired untold artists through the ages? Test your knowledge with our Mother’s Day Culture Quiz.

1. What title did the artist give the painting popularly known as Whistler’s Mother?

2. The most famous mother-and-son sculpture in history resides behind bulletproof glass at the Vatican. What is it?

3. What was the name of the women in Dorothea Lange’s iconic 1936 portrait Migrant Mother, which brought the Dust Bowl home to millions of Americans?

4. What is the name of the mother of the 101 Dalmatians?

5. Some scholars insist the subject of this masterpiece was pregnant when Leonardo da Vinci painted her between 1503 and 1506, hence the subtle smile.

6. Which 1936 literary character had a daughter named Ella Lorena Kennedy Eugenie Victoria? Hint: She joined mom on the big screen in 1939.

7. She shepherded her Dust Bowl brood from Oklahoma to California in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

8. What celebrated classical composer wrote The Mother Goose Suite?

9. This 1976 horror movie mom drove her daughter out of her mind, literally.

10. This Shakespearean mom married her brother-in-law after her husband’s death, sending her melancholy son into a tizzy.

11. What was the choice Sophie Zawistowski had to make in William Styron’s bestselling 1979 novel?

12. Who is the longest-running TV sitcom mom in TV history?

13. The obsessive mother character of Amanda Wingfield propelled which playwright from obscurity to fame?

14. The mother of this 1960 Hitchcock character is central to his story yet never appears on camera while alive.

15. Which Best Actress Oscar winner had parents who both received Academy Awards?

16. What 19th century American writer known for horror and suspense penned these opening lines to a poem: Because I feel that, in the Heavens above/ The angels, whispering to one another/ Can find, among their burning terms of love,/ None so devotional as that of “Mother.”

17. Who wrote: “There’s a story behind everything … but behind all your stories is always your mother’s story… because hers is where yours begins.”


1. Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1

2. Michelangelo’s Pieta

3. Florence Owens Thompson

4. Perdita

5. The Mona Lisa

6. Scarlett O’Hara

7. Ma Joad

8. Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

9. Carrie White’s mother, Margaret

10. Hamlet’s Mother Gertrude

11. She had to decide which of her two children to give up upon entering a concentration camp

12. Marge Simpson

13. Tennessee Williams

14. Norman Bates in Psycho

15. Liza Minnelli won in 1972. Her mother, Judy Garland, won a Juvenile Oscar in 1940 for The Wizard of Oz, while her father, Vincent Minnelli won in 1958 for directing Gigi.

16. Edgar Allen Poe

17. Mitch Albom, For One More Day

Contact Mike Pearson at: or 419-724-6159.

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