Allegorical Portrait of the van Risamburgh Family

Object Details

Title:

Allegorical Portrait of the van Risamburgh Family

Artist/Maker(s):

Joseph Chinard (French, 1756 - 1813)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

France (Place created)

Date:

1790

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

112.4 cm (44 1/4 in.)

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Carved out of a single block of gleaming white marble, this allegorical portrait represents the Van Risamburgh family in a sweet and affectionate commemorative portrait. Lovingly looking down, Madame van Risamburgh, dressed as Minerva, goddess of wisdom and war in ancient mythology, raises her shield as a canopy over her languidly slumbering young son. He is improbably perched on a pile of military equipment and holds a sword or dagger that is clearly too large for him in his right hand. Monsieur van Risamburgh, a prominent Lyon merchant, is represented by his profile medallion portrait on a shield at the base. The medallion format, traditionally used for tomb monuments, implies that, although still living, he is absent from the family. Through the use of allegory, sculptor Joseph Chinard suggested that Madame van Risamburgh was protecting her son from current civil and military unrest while her husband was away, possibly engaged in military or civic duties.

A popular Neoclassical artist, Chinard drew on ancient mythology and used classical forms but imbued the work with a very contemporary emotional feeling, celebrating family life as the source of happiness.

Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

Neoclassicism Curriculum

Shaping Ideas

In this lesson plan students consider symbolic forms and sketch their own designs for a symbolic sculpture.

Visual Arts

9-12

Single Class Lesson

Shaping Ideas

In this lesson students evaluate their own sketches, choose a final design, and create their own symbolic sculpture.

Visual Arts

9-12

Three/Five-Part Lesson

Shaping Ideas

In this lesson Students participate in a class critique of the symbolic sculptures they created.

Visual Arts

9-12

Single Class Lesson

Related Media
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    Audio: Allegorical Portrait of the van Risamburgh Family