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The Artist with his Wife and Son Jan Kupecký (Johann Kupezky)

Artist

Jan Kupecký (Johann Kupezky) Pezinok, 1666 – Nuremberg, 1740

Culture Czech
Date ca. 1718–1719
Object type fresco
Medium, technique oil on canvas
Dimensions

113 × 91.2 cm
with frame: 135 x 114.5 x 10.5 cm

Inventory number 3922
Collection Old Master Paintings
On view Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1600–1700 and British Painting 1600–1800, Cabinet 2

In Kupecký’s family portrait, considered one of his key works, the artist – holding the attributes of his trade – appears as a father, while his wife performs the twin role of mother and muse. The woman’s bared breast, as a visual expression of the virtues of Charity, was a common motif in
depictions of Caritas. Standing between the couple is their son, Christoph Johann, who was intended to carry on his father’s profession, but died at a young age. Although painted in the period of the late baroque, which often tended towards self-indulgent decorativeness, this work clearly
reflects Kupecký’s resolutely bourgeois approach, his objective vision, and his ability of intense portrayal of character. As his fellow painter, friend and biographer, Johann Caspar Füssli wrote in 1758, “This is a work that shines among the others like a diamond”.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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