Mother & Child

Mother & Child 1977

Reynaldo Fonseca (b.1925, Brazil)

Oil on canvas, 29″ x 23″

I may have as many as 1,000 works in my art collection. This is one of my favorites.

As you can see it’s a painting of a mother and child. The mother holds the child in one arm, fist clenched and looks beyond a bird that is perched on her finger. The child seems to be looking shyly to the side. The different visual references give the portrait drama.

How did the bird get there?

What is she looking at?

What is her child looking at?

The figures themselves are statuesque rather than naturalistic. The figures stand in front of some sort of wall or wooden frame on which the artist has signed and dated the painting.

This gives the representation a modern, metta-painting sense. It is as if the artist is challenging you to decide where the painting begins and ends. The positioning of the figures in the foreground and the landscape in the background also remind me of the classicism of the Mona Lisa. I like these contrasts of the old and new.

Other painters I admire, such as Balthus and Ceracchini, compose their figures in a similar manner.

“Scena Campestre” – Gisberto Ceracchini


Beyond all that I like the muted colors, the orange garment on the child, the bland brown of her shirt and the grey blue in the background.



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by Gisberto Ceracchini (Italian 1899-1982)
Oil on canvas, 44″ x 65″

This is one of my favorite paintings. It hangs in the entry room to my art gallery. It is also one of the few paintings in my gallery that is not from Latin America.

I fell in love with Ceracchini when I saw several of his larger paintings in the MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea). Several years later I was walking by a small art gallery (a gallery of real art) on a little street not far from the Spanish steps when I saw this piece in the front window. After validating the provenance I bought it the next day.

There are so many things I like about this painting. I like the scene itself. I like the way the background is painted. But what I like best is something I’d like to call its’ “sculptural effect”. The figures look like they are statues, frozen in time. One of my favorite painters, Balthus, does the same thing with his figures and it is beautiful. I’ve included a smaller copy of his so you can see what I mean.

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