This painting is composed around a contrast between blue and red. The mother and child both have the same pale yellow hair, while the green of the flower petals and the violet of the mother’s dress mediate the contrasts: that is the art of painting. Blue is the unending, the yearning for a happy afterlife that brings together life and death, that allows the mother to share in her dead child’s fate; it is the afterlife that will also take in the mother.
The child’s face is outlined in a white contour. The mother’s eyes are white – colorless like death – as are the child’s closed eyelids, the wreath in her hair and the modeling of her burial gown: life has been extinguished. The white in the mother’s eyes is broken with blue; it has a shimmer of life in which the afterlife is also reflected. The mother’s mouth is red, living; the child is without a mouth, dead.