Cassatt, 1978: Has any painting captured ennui as perfectly as Cassatt’s “Little Girl in a Blue Armchair”? This painting might as well be titled “Quarantine 2020” or “Virtual School.” While my children prefer Minecraft pajamas to frilly white dresses and fancy leather shoes for their daily scoffing, I assure you the facial expression defies time and history.
Hayez, “The Kiss,” 1859: I dare you to think of a sexier painting in all of art history. This is what a kiss should be. Dark, passionate, and just the slightest bit creepy, with mysterious shadows lurking in the background. It’s basically a painting of my morning farewells with my husband. But instead of feathers in his hair, he wears oatmeal, instead of being draped in satin, I’m covered in spit up, and that lurker in the background – those are my children, diverting my attention from what would otherwise, I’m convinced, be “il bacio” to rival this one. Though note to self: must get hubby a pair of those pointy medieval elf shoes.
Matisse, “Mother and Child,” 1950: I like to imagine that when I embrace my children they too are thinking to themselves, like the boy above must be, “where has mommy gone? She is just so darn skinny.”