100 Days of Art History Jinjins


Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Whistler's Mother)

I first saw this painting on America's Next Top Model. I was 15 and they were doing a challenge where models had to pose as famous paintings. I just looked it up, and wow......I did not remember the bonkers result at all, but the original Whistler's Mother painting itself stuck with me.

Part of why I set out on this project was to learn more about composition. Doing this one made me realize how important the two picture frames in the background are for making everything feel balanced, even though they're barely noticeable as important parts of the painting when you first look at it. I was translating a slightly rectangular painting into an Instagram-friendly perfect square, and had to nudge those around to get the same stable feeling. It was a good lesson.

This New Yorker article does a better job than I ever could at explaining more about this image and why it's so iconic.

My last 10 entries were redos of paintings I'd attempted at the beginning so that I could compare progress and give the original artworks their proper due. You can see my first swing at Whistler's Mother at entry 3.

Reference image is from Wikipedia. This painting is now in the Musée D'Orsay.

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