I know everyone has seen this movie, but if you haven’t heard Hughes talk about the movie then you are sorely missing out. There is so much depth and beauty in the movie and in this scene in particular that it’s staggering. Wonderful film and director.
"There are two principal interpretations of the picture. Most critics see it as an image of a wife offering the child to her husband, an interpretation supported by the sacred symbolism and by the fact that Brown depicted his own wife and their new son. Some commentators, however, interpret it as more confrontational image, in which an abandoned mistress presents her baby to its father.
The art historian Marcia Pointon has argued that the painting is deliberately paradoxical, playing on the conflict between new life and death. She suggests that the portrayal of the baby is influenced by medical images of fetuses surrounded by viscera within the body of woman, and that the woman’s glazed, white and emaciated features suggest death.” - As taken from the painting’s wikipedia article, so grain of salt