Mothers are the source of comfort and support. Of course, not all mothers are the epitome of sacrifice and love. Everyone has their own memory and image of their own mothers. Anna Ancher, a Danish artist, frequently created paintings of a mother reading. Her own mother loved books all her life. What did books mean to the mother?
Born in Skagen, a fishing village in the northern part of Denmark, Anna Ancher’s career as a renowned artist was possible thanks to her mother’s undivided support. Anna’s mother married a inn owner and had seven children, but she was particularly fond and committed to Anna, her youngest daughter. In an age where formal art training had not been permitted to women, Anna’s mother sent her daughter to a private art school and Anna was able to study in Paris, just as male artists did at that time. Anna, however, was faced with challenge after she married her colleague Michael Ancher. Even her mentor advised her to do away with art and focus on her family. Anna became even more active as a painter after giving birth, however, and made greater achievements via overseas exhibitions. This had been possible due to her mother’s support in housekeeping and baby-sitting. Ancher’s mother had her daughter eat meals at her inn to save time for painting and took care of her granddaughter as well. After her husband’s death, she ran the inn with her son until the age of 70, remaining socially active, looking after her children, praying and reading. Anna painted this picture of her mother. The old woman in the painting sits in a blue room in sunlight, focused on her book. Despite her age at 83, the mother appears strong and solid.
Anna’s mother, who had lived in a fishing village throughout her life, might have dreamed of an entirely different world. She sacrificed her own life for the sake of her family in the hope for a better life for their children. She watched and supported her daughter and her granddaughter’s career as an artist and passed away at the age of 90.