Maternity Exhibition For Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

A new exhibition based on images of the mother and child from the collections of the National Galleries of Scotland will open at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday 10 November.  Comprising a selection of eleven very different images, Maternity will explore the theme of motherhood in art, and consider how it has been interpreted and re-interpreted by artists over the past 500 years.  The works on show will range from the early Renaissance to the present day, and will include works by Sandro Botticelli, George Romney, William Quiller Orchardson, and Pablo Picasso.
The image of mother and child is iconic in European culture.  A central theme in Christian imagery, it signifies the birth of Jesus as saviour of the world and the selfless love of his mother Mary.  It also celebrates and underlines the importance of the family in Western society, and has parallels in other and earlier cultures. 

Maternity will feature one of the most touching examples of the theme in Western painting, Botticelli’s fifteenth-century masterpiece The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child.  Acquired by the National Gallery of Scotland in 2000, this celebrated painting, which is the earliest work in the display, combines a complex theological narrative with a very human depiction of a young mother and her baby.  In contrast, the most recent work on show, Moyna Flannigan’s challenging painting Just like Daddy, subverts tradition by replacing the mother with the father in the composition.  Other highlights of Maternity will include Domenichino’s Adoration of the Shepherds of 1606-8; a Mother and Child from Picasso’s pre-Cubist ‘Blue Period’; and Christine Borland’s Twin, Hand-Made, Child-Birth Demonstration Model of 1997.

Maternity is presented in partnership with Highland 2007 and The Highland Council and reflects the National Galleries of Scotland’s active involvement with art and culture in the Highland region.  This partnership underlines one of the Galleries’ core aims – making the national art collection accessible to the widest possible number of visitors.

James Holloway, Head of Partnership at the National Galleries of Scotland, said of the show: “Maternity will include some of Scotland’s greatest works of art shown in an intriguing context.  The National Galleries are delighted to participate in Highland 2007, and we are also pleased to be able to bring our collections closer to the people of the Highlands”.

Fiona Hampton, director of Highland 2007, added: “We are delighted with the support the National Galleries of Scotland have given Highland 2007 throughout the year.  Working in partnership we have been able to bring some amazing works from the national art collection to the area for a wider audience to enjoy and appreciate.  It is fantastic that the Maternity exhibition will be in the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery throughout the new Inverness Winter Festival, it will help to round of the year that Scotland celebrates Highland culture wonderfully.”

Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee, Councillor Bill Fernie said: “We are delighted that our partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland enables artwork of such international importance to be seen in the Highlands.  At this time of year, people from right across the Highlands travel to Inverness for their Christmas shopping, so the timing of the exhibition couldn’t be better.  I am sure it will attract a wide appreciative audience who would normally have to travel outwith the Highlands to see such quality art collections.”

Maternity will run until 12 January and admission is free.  Opening times are 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.

30 Oct 2007