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Merry Christmas: 15 Striking Images of the Madonna and Child

In the spirit of Christmas, enjoy this series of paintings of the Madonna and Child aka, The First Breastfeeding Ad Campaign.

If you’ve been to churches in Europe, these images will be very familiar. They are everywhere, looming over the proceedings, reminding us of this very basic bond between mother and infant.

I recall taking a toddler to the Renaissance section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art once– he ran around on his wobbly legs pointing at the walls, crying out, “Mommy, baby, mommy, baby, mommy, baby…” Other gallery-goers chuckled. He had pretty summed it up.

What I love about these paintings is that there are so many strikingly familiar moments– a baby reaching for the boob, a mom relieved to see a baby sated and asleep on her lap. It’s also hard to believe, looking at these beautiful and iconic images, that so many people in America find public breastfeeding obscene.

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  • Joos Van Cleve, 1525-30 1 of 15
    Joos Van Cleve, 1525-30
  • Jean Fouquet, 1452-55 2 of 15
    Jean Fouquet, 1452-55
  • Rogier van der Weyden, 1500s 3 of 15
    Rogier van der Weyden, 1500s
  • Artemisia, 1609 4 of 15
    Artemisia, 1609
  • Raffaello Sanzio Raphael, year unknown 5 of 15
    Raffaello Sanzio Raphael, year unknown
    (Any breastfeeding mother knows this move all too well!)
  • Chilcarlo Dolci, 1600s 6 of 15
    Chilcarlo Dolci, 1600s
  • Jan Van Eyck, 1435 7 of 15
    Jan Van Eyck, 1435
  • Morales, 1520 8 of 15
    Morales, 1520
  • Reni Guido, 1575-1642 9 of 15
    Reni Guido, 1575-1642
  • School of Adriaen, Isenbrandt 10 of 15
    School of Adriaen, Isenbrandt
  • Leonardo da Vinci, 1600s 11 of 15
    Leonardo da Vinci, 1600s
  • Jan (Mabuse) Gossaert, 1530 12 of 15
    Jan (Mabuse) Gossaert, 1530
  • El Greco, 1600s 13 of 15
    El Greco, 1600s
  • Michelangelo, 1500s 14 of 15
    Michelangelo, 1500s
  • Ferrari, 1500s 15 of 15
    Ferrari, 1500s

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