Allegorical Family Portrait (early 1650s)

Jordaens, Jacob (1593-1678)

Allegorical Family Portrait
early 1650s
Oil on canvas, 178.4 x 152.3 cm
Hermitage MuseumSaint Petersburg

This group portrait is an allegorical depiction of a scene of betrothal or marriage. That is confirmed by the inclusion in the composition of the god of love Cupid, who is pointing an arrow at the breast of the young woman in the centre, and a number of symbolic details. For example, the carnation is an ancient symbol of betrothal and a pot containing flowering carnations is placed in the background on the left. The fountain with a depiction of a cupid on a dolphin alludes to the source of love. The wreaths of flowers are a sign of purity and chastity. The twining grapevine (in the background on the right) stands for devotion between husband and wife, while the parrot on the hand of the bride in the centre of the composition represents marital fidelity. The young woman standing next to the bride is, judging by the facial resemblance, perhaps the sister of the main personage in the picture. (SHM)