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Think of this triumphal arch as a gigantic military uniform, its jacket trimmed with medals extolling the exploits and virtues of its hero. The hero is James, First Earl Stanhope, who served England both as the army’s commander-in-chief and as secretary of state. The figures—both sculptural and living—symbolize aspects of Stanhope’s character. For example, the sculptures crowning the columns embody the hero’s “Virtuous Actions” (at left) and “Honor” (at right), while the seated female figure at its base embodies his life of “Victory.” Such complex symbolic images, called allegories, were a staple of art in the 1700s.

71.546

Details

  • Title: Memorial to James, First Earl of Stanhope
  • Creator: Giovanni Battista Pittoni
  • Date: 1726/1726
  • Location Created: Venice, Italy
  • Provenance: Lord March, Second Duke of Richmond, Goodwood, by 1727; Private collection, Germany; P. Reichenbach, Paris, 1955; Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., 1972.
  • Physical Dimensions: 87 x 56 in. (221 x 142.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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