Mary Cassatt, sleepy baby, 191o, pastel on paper (source)
Mary Cassatt, The child's bath, 1893 (source)
Mary Cassatt was a well-known, well-exhibited female artist (perhaps this is so because of her relationship with Degas), but she was unique in her portrayal of women and mothers. Women tending children is one of her most popular subjects. I find these paintings reassuring now- and complex and deep- in a way that I largely ignored in school. I remember twigging onto how interesting it was that a woman was representing women like this- but then putting it aside and writing papers on different artists.
I'm not sure what that shows- that my interests have changed I guess- or perhaps that the idea of motherhood is so couched in our society's subconscious that until one actually becomes a mother, the plight of mothers is kind of secondary. All I know is that it didn't seem pertinent to me at the time, or like something I could have explored- and I want to explore it now.
Maybe that's one of the biggest drawbacks to art school- because it takes so much time you're not really living while you're there (or at least I wasn't)- so the subject matter you focus on while you have all this time to dedicate to researching and exploring isn't necessarily based on anything that you feel is important. You're just so busy trying to get a grade that you don't actually evolve personally, except for your skills.