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 Maternity by Antonietta Raphael Mafa

Maternity by Antonietta Raphael Mafa

Maternity by Antonietta Raphael Mafai

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For Florence, the mother of all artists. After the Florence flood, Lithuanian sculptor Raphael Mafai donated her almost life-size bronze Maternity (1968) to Florence's Civic Museums. It is now on show in the Museo Novecento's first-floor outdoor loggia. The piece represents a mother standing protectively over her toddler, but the artist's title is more than just literal. "By maternity, I mean the beginning of the world," she once wrote, "…the beginning of things…of all things." Co-founder of the Scuola di Via Cavour, her movement was an offshoot of the more all-encompassing Scuola Romana. She turned to sculpture in 1930 after painting turned into a source of strain in her marriage: "It is difficult for two painters to live together," Raphael Mafai admitted. Critic Cesare Brandi believed the artist had made the right decision and christened her "Italy's sole female sculptor".

'Figurative' loyalty

Raphael Mafai was a maverick artist at a time when Abstractionism was all the rage in Italy.

'Creating' motherhood

Raphael Mafai loved "Maternity" as a theme, but how did she see motherhood in practical terms?

"Living memory"

Relatives celebrate the Maternity restoration with us.