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Exhibitions / The Great Mother / Overview

Palazzo Reale, Milan
August 26 - November 15, 2015

Through the work of more than a hundred international artists, the exhibition The Great Mother analyzes the iconography of motherhood in the art and visual culture of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, from early avant-garde movements to the present.

Whether as a symbol of creativity or as a metaphor for art itself, the archetype of the mother has been a central figure in the history of art, from the Venuses of the Stone Age to the "bad girls" of the postfeminist era and through centuries of religious works depicting innumerable maternity scenes. The more familiar version of “Mamma” has also become a stereotype closely tied to the image of Italy.

In undertaking an analysis of the representation of motherhood, the exhibition The Great Mother traces a history of women's empowerment, chronicling gender struggles, sexual politics, and clashes between tradition and emancipation.

With an exhibition layout that covers more than 2000 square meters (20,000 square feet) on the piano nobile of Palazzo Reale – a neoclassical building which preserves many of its original decorations and period details – The Great Mother brings contemporary art into the heart of the Expo in città program, linking art history to the most pressing issues of our time. The Great Mother mixes past and present, juxtaposing contemporary art, historical works, and artifacts from the world of film and literature, and weaving a rich tapestry of associations and images. 

The Great Mother is an exhibition promoted by the Cultural Office of the City of Milan, conceived and produced by the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in partnership with Palazzo Reale for Expo in città 2015 

BNL BNP Paribas Group is main sponsor of the exhibition.