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Johan Zoffany’s The Cope Family confronts the unknown through human relationships. As one of the greatest “conversation piece” painters of his time, Zoffany’s goal was to create images of interest to inspire viewers to discuss the piece. In The Cope Family, the family, though painted together, seems disjointed and each member seems to be alone rather than connected. There is a sense of unease, that is, a sense that no one truly knows where they stand in this family, or what the others think of them. The emotional distance between the subjects makes it seem almost as though the subjects were painted separately then simply placed on a theater stage. The Cope Family can cause us to consider our own relationships and if we connect or remove ourselves from others.

Details

  • Title: The Cope Family
  • Creator: Johan Zoffany (Frankfurt 1733 - London 1810)
  • Date Created: 1775
  • Physical Location: USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Holmes Fisher, EF:39
  • Physical Dimensions: 100 x 127 cm (39 1/2 x 50 in.)
  • Rights: Photography by Brian Forrest
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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