170 x 190 cm in oil on linen

Maria Theresa as an exemplary loan "emu" mother at the centre of my artistic attention.

Painted on 170 x 190 cm in oil on linen, "POWERHOUSE MT" shows the great, in attitude and certain deeds quite contentious, yet dignified quasi "Empress" Maria Theresa.

She gave birth to 16 children, and along the way she guided the fortunes of the Habsburgs and Austria. Maria Theresa innovated, restructured, ruled hard, showed more mercy than many others in her place, nationalised, set a courageous example for her people and always stood her ground with discipline, even in the hardest of times.

One of her 11 daughters, "Maria Karolina" (1752-1814), even gave birth to 18 children during her own lifetime. However, "Maria Karolina" did not have to take care of an entire empire.

I am still impressed how a single body can bring so many children into the world. The physical strains alone, uncontrollably circulating diseases, the medical state of the art at that time leave one speechless.

Maria Theresa has my sincere admiration from woman to woman - from mother to mother.

I like to imagine how my homage to her royal highness MT and her "16 children", brings a smile to the faces of all 17 of them.

With this work, I want to convey this incredible achievement of Maria Theresa to the people of today in an unusual way - I want to make them marvel and count the 16 emu children!
I have arranged Maria Theresa's children in a circle, starting at the top left, counter-clockwise, in chronological birth order. Within the beaks I have inconspicuously noted their respective names. This gives the viewer the opportunity to also experience their concrete identities and to experience this unusual mother-child portrait on several sensory levels.

At the latest, when you search for "Marie Antoinette" AKA "Maria Antonia" and then learn that she was already the 15th child of Maria Theresa, you will probably not forget your encounter with this work so quickly. Just as I experienced the painting of this work as emotionally very intense - when I painted the last-born child, for example, I thought to myself: "Now you've just painted a portrait of a Cologne archbishop!", and when I painted little "Maria Karoline" (born 1748), who did not survive the day of her birth, I was particularly moved, because this child never had the opportunity to experience the security of human affection or love, could not discover any talents or passions within herself. In all likelihood, Maria Karoline was never given any further attention later, let alone portrayed or depicted in any other way, or could ever be considered equal to her siblings in a worldly manner. But thanks be to art, in this painting every child, regardless of achievement or status, is the "number 1" of their famous mother: it is an artistic tribute to these 16 children and their mother, and possibly also a welcome learning aid for children in history classes.

Fiona Hernuss 2021

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