The art of breastfeeding in the Louvre

Before 1793, the Louvre was a royal palace housing kings and emperors of France. Nowadays, the Louvre has turned into a museum and exhibits one of the world’s most stunning artwork collections. Our minds were blown away by paintings dated back to the 15th century, celebrating breastfeeding and the bond between the mother and baby.

Photo credit: Musée du Louvre

Charity, Andrea Del Sarto, 1518

“The painting, complex in its iconography, is a reflection of the refined milieu which gravitated around the king of France. This is without doubt an allegory of the royal family: it celebrates in particular the birth of the Dauphin, the long-awaited successor to the throne. The nursing baby is an allusion to the recent maternity of Claude of France, while the face of Charity bears certain similarities to that of the queen. The infant who presents a cluster of hazelnuts is meant to be a girl – one of the daughters of the royal couple, probably Charlotte. The figure in the foreground is a symbol of “joyous France reposing in peace”.”

Photo credit: Musée du Louvre

La vierge et l’enfant, Ludovico Carracci, about 1616 – 1619

Photo credit: Musée du Louvre

The Virgin of the Green Cushion, Andrea Solario, about 1507 – 1510

“Madonna with the Green Cushion, a devotional image of the Virgin nursing Jesus, has been so called since the 17th century due to the motif of the green cushion placed on a marble plinth in the foreground. This detail, perfectly integrated here within the holy group, is indeed remarkable; with its soft, padded comfort it truly accompanies this scene of family tenderness and well-being.”

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Virgin and Child Surrounded by Two Angels St. Rose and St. Catherine, Pietro Perugino, about 1490 – 1495

Photo credit: Musée du Louvre

Venus and Cupid, Lambert Sustris, about 1548 – 1552

“Cupid watches Venus as she strokes doves whiles waiting for her lover, Mars, approaching in the background. Lambert Sustris, a Dutch artist active in Venice, accompanied his master Titian in 1548 and 1550 to Augsburg (modern-day Germany), where he probably painted this scene for the Fugger family of bankers.”

Photo credit: Musée du Louvre

Daphnis and Chloé, François Gérard, 1824

The painting is based on the novel by the Greek author Longus. On the left, Daphnis is seated on a tree trunk, weaving a flower wreath. Chloe is sleeping with her head resting on Daphnis’s knees. This artwork is believed to be a counterpart to Psyche and Cupid, a painting created also by Gérard.