The 'handwriting ' of Géricault's manner in the folds of the mother's garment, as well as in the hatchings of the shaded areas, prompt us to suggest for Mère et enfant a date around 1816-1817. A related motif is to be found in a drawing of Croyants à l'entrée d'une église (Paris, Ecole des Beaux Arts, published by L. Eitner, Géricault. His Life and Work, London, 1983, p. 114). There is a striking similarity between the present sheet and the Raphaelesque group of a mother and children at the lower right of that major composition, which Eitner considers 'an advanced design, clearly the end-product of considerable preparatory work' (ibid., p. 115) and praises it as the remnant of an ambitious project of Géricault's Roman stay.
We are grateful to Professor Eitner for his assistance in cataloguing this drawing.