Maman

There is not very much that seems maternal (at least to me) about Louise Bourgeois‘ gigantic bronze spider sculpture “Maman”. The statue inspires awe and possibly fear from all who pass beneath it and gape up at the marble eggs contained in the metal sac. I wasn’t sure which angle to draw this from but in the end the position of the sun dictated my spot. I would have loved to contrast the sculpture with the glass and granite structure of Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada as the background but that would have meant looking into the sun so instead I faced the Notre Dame Cathedral. Not as interesting as the Gallery but most certainly a lot easier to draw.

Maman


13 Comments on “Maman”

  1. Ross C says:

    I know why you haven’t received any comments on this one… it’s because the sculpture is so freaking scary!!! I don’t care whether it is a mother with eggs or not – I’m with all the other arachnophobic followers. This is nightmare stuff… finding it had to believe what Montrealers want to put in their public spaces. Hope you drew something friendlier today. : )

    • When I posted this I forgot to add that this was in Ottawa and I subsequently corrected it. And just so you don’t think that Canadians are the only ones with “Maman” in their public spaces, there are also versions of this in Bilbao, London, Russia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar.

  2. Mary says:

    Beautiful sketch Shari. I was there the day before, was most impressed with giant Maman standing in front of the National Gallery and wondered what Van Gogh would have thought of her! Did you notice where Joe Fafard’s fantastic horses were galloping straight towards her
    but I didn’t see her web 🙂

    • I didn’t see the Fafard horses. Are they on the same plaza?
      What do you think Van Gogh would have said? The spider seems to me the exact opposite and yet the same as the show. The Van Gogh paintings, many of them, are about the minutiae around us. This spider falls into that category but the treatment is so vastly different, so monumental and awe inspiring.

      • Mary says:

        Fafard’s horses are running towards Maman, across the front entrance to the Gallery.
        Now i realize why Ross C. was so freaked out with Maman…they have lots of big scary
        spiders in Australia!

  3. Louise Asselin says:

    Louise Bourgeois would be sooo happy to here from Mr Ross C. !
    She was a real provocative woman and during all her live she had wanted people having deep emotions in front of her Art. La Maman is such a strong metaphore. Bravo!
    Louise Asselin

    • I agree. It is too bad we could not be witness to the conversations between Ross and Louise Bourgeois. That sculpture cannot leave anyone indifferent. You either love it or hate it but it always provokes a reaction.

  4. Ross C says:

    OK, I feel the need to repair my damaged male reputation here…
    I do have a healthy fear of spiders… but I am not arachnophobic… my original comment was voicing the feelings of those who are arachnophobic, but were unable to type because they were curled up in embryonic positions on the floor after looking at the painting.
    And in my home I am the one charged with disposing of invasive spiders (usually in response to a shrieked “Daaaaddd!!!”)… my weapon of choice is a magazine, preferably Vogue, as the glossy cover is easier to wipe clean afterwards (yuk!)… and it is amusing to see the cover models draped in squashed spider!
    Yes, there are many scary spiders in Australia… the Redback and the Funnel Web are the most famous. The Redback even has a song… try Googling “redback song”… and we have Huntsman spiders that try to grab the magazine out of my hand! : )

    • Louise says:

      Touché!

      Louise

    • Ok, now I get it. Well thanks for speaking out on behalf of all arachnophobes. Our spiders here are pretty small but I did see a tarantula as big as a dinner plate in Punta Cana and that was pretty scary. And now I understand why no museums in Australia have purchased “Maman” for their collections.

  5. Anupama says:

    You have captured the place so well ..amazing!!


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