The Uniqueness of Motherhood
The Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting) is valued as priceless because it is unique. It can be argued that it is the most studied and appreciated piece of artwork ever. In a way, the painting was a unique mother’s day gift. The woman in the painting is Lisa Gherardini. Lisa was from a well-known family known through Tuscany and Florence and married to Francesco Del Giocondo who was a very wealthy silk merchant. It was her husband who commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to complete the work just after the turn of the 16th century. (c. 1504-1519) The work was to celebrate the completion of their new home and the birth of their second son. (Of course, Mother’s Day is unique to the US and was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia)
The Mona Lisa is unique for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons, of course, is the artist himself. Leonardo da Vinci is perhaps the most recognized artist in the world. Not only was Da Vinci an artist, but he was also a scientist, inventor, and a doctor. Another reason for its uniqueness is the medium used to create the work. The Mona Lisa is an oil painting, with a cottonwood panel as the surface. It is unique in that most paintings are commissioned as oil on canvas, but the cottonwood panel is part of what has attributed to the fame of the painting. Because of the medium used for the image, the Mona Lisa has survived for six centuries without ever having been restored. The last unique feature I’ll mention about the Mona Lisa is the detail with which Leonardo da Vinci painted her hands, eyes, and lips. These anatomically correct features are one of the identifiable marks of this period of history in art.
The Mona Lisa is not without her enemies. Twice in the 20th century alone she was attacked. Once, in 1956, she sustained severe damage when attacked with acid by a vandal. That same year, another vandal threw a rock at her, removing a chip of paint from near her elbow. It was later painted over. The Mona Lisa now rests safely in the Louvre in Paris, France under bulletproof glass as a means of protection.
By now you may be asking, “What do all these facts about art have to do with Mother’s Day?” Well, in an even greater act of creation than Leonardo painting the Mona Lisa, God created mother Eve. Just like the Mona Lisa, Eve’s value and uniqueness, like ALL mothers, is derived from her creator. She is unique in that God selected just the proper medium with which to create. And create He did! What beauty! What value! The details in her hands, eyes, and lips not only surpass the Mona Lisa, but they become more defined, beautiful, and valuable as the years pass.
Motherhood, like the Mona Lisa, is not without her enemies. Popular culture is doing its best to throw acid and rocks at God’s masterpiece. Motherhood, like the Mona Lisa, must be protected. There is no need to change even a single brush stroke of the Master’s hand. Motherhood was created on purpose, for a purpose. It is unique. It is priceless.