Sculpture Father Mother & Child Walnut Heartwood Sapwood



A small 15cm., 6" high biomorphic two-tone wooden sculpture of a father and mother in a seated pose holding a child. The sculptor has selected a piece of walnut with both heartwood and sapwood to create a two-one effect between the front and the back which creates contrast and depth and this is accentuated further by traces of white paint on the sculpture. Beautifully and crisply carved from all aspects. Mid-20th century. Artist unknown. Private Collection. Measures: length 15cm., 6" depth 7.5cm., 3" height 15cm. 6"

This sculpture reflects the universal theme of the cycle of life and the evolution of humanity, while expressing the tenderness and care felt by human beings for each other. The distinctive pared down, soft form of the parents holding their child creates a rhythmic fluidity in the composition and represents the different cycles of life.

The body of the parents are physically fused with the child and their intimate bond is illustrated by the way they are holding each other and the child as their loving and nurturing gazes are directed at each other. The artist has reduced the figures to their essential form, removing all features and paring down the form creating a feeling of eternity which is also reinforced by using stone which comes from the earth. The simplicity alludes to divine paternity and maternity, although the father, mother and child are accessible and human, in monumental broad and simple form.

Mother & Child - It is particularly beautiful that the artist has included the father in this grouping as so often he is omitted which constricts and reduces the symbolism of parenthood and love.

The mother and child is a 'subject so consecrated by its antiquity, so hallowed by its profound significance, so endeared by its associations with the softest and deepest of our human sympathies, that our mind has never wearied of its repetition, nor the eye become saturated with its beauty'. (The Legends of the Madonna Anna Jameson)

The image of a mother and child summons feelings of warmth, love and protection and is used as a powerful symbolic motif of fecundity, maternity and creativity throughout the history of art. From the fertility goddess figures of the Paleolithic period to the twentieth century, the mother and child theme has recurringly emerged as an empowering, symbolic theme in art used to define a subject's inner reality while presenting it in a new form that illuminates new meanings (Susanne Langer).

Changes in beliefs and society are reflected through different portrayal of the mother and child image over time. From the fertility goddess of ancient culture to the symbol of Christianity as the Madonna and Child and, as religious influence on society, declined becoming a secular conception. In the 19th century Mary Cassatt's paintings reflected these changes as the mother and child became a symbol of importance and influence in society and Kathe Kollwitz explored the horrors of human existence through the voice of motherhood. In the 20th century Henry Moore sees the mother and child as the epitome of creativity and allied himself with the mother as a creative force in bringing about form.

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Height 15 cm / 6"
Width 15 cm / 6"
Depth 7.5 cm / 3 "

20th Century


circa 1950





Collectors / Designers



Mid-Century Modern (Of the period)




GOOD. Wear consistent with age and use.