Skip to main content
Maternal Affection
Louis Jean François Lagrenée
/

In this exquisite small painting on copper, three women are looking after two infants in a grand neoclassical setting. One woman breastfeeds an infant, while another holds up a second baby for a kiss. A woman to the left is busy arranging bedding in a wooden cradle. The open loggia and warm light suggest that the scene takes place in a southern climate. To an eighteenth-century audience, the women’s clothing would have been understood as antique Roman dress.

The painting shares similarities with a series of eight paintings by Lagrenée at Stourhead in Wiltshire. It may be Lagrenée’s painting formerly at Stourhead, described as ‘Maternal Affection – a beautiful group’. The subject was of special interest for a contemporary audience as motherhood, and particularly the practice of breastfeeding one’s own children rather than sending them out to a wet nurse, was much discussed in both France and England at the time.

Key facts
Artist Louis Jean François Lagrenée
Artist dates 1725 - 1805
Full title Maternal Affection
Date made 1775
Medium and support Oil on copper
Dimensions 43.5 × 34.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit A gift from the Estate of Brian Sewell, 2016
Inventory number NG6663
Location in Gallery Gallery A: Paintings after 1600
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo