Rococo motifs were focused on the carefree aristocratic life. Descendents of the family pictured could look back at this painting and converse about their elite ancestors.
For a brief moment in the s the conversation piece was popular among noble and even royal patrons. It eventually became the almost exclusive property of the gentry, people of good breeding or high social status who ranked just below the nobility.
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Walter Radcliffe and his wife Admonition were both members of the gentry. They had nine children, all featured in the painting. The surface on which the painting was made is actually sixteen separate pieces of canvas fitted together and glued onto another material. Thomas Hudson was required to make the painting in this way because canvas was not produced in such large pieces at the time. Some scholars think that Hudson sketched the overall composition and then had sittings with only a few of the family members at a time at their home in Devonshire.
Back in his studio in London, he worked on the hands and faces. There he employed a drapery painter to do the rest—drapery, background, and clothes. The family is posed in an almost triangle arrangement, with the father at the top showing his importance in the family hierarchy. All of the family members look directly at the viewer except for one boy, one girl, and the dog.
There are a number of details that suggest the people who live in this house are very important—the luxurious tasseled curtain; the elaborate garden pedestal and urn on the right; the Turkish carpet that the family is positioned on, which would have been quite exotic for the time; and the Ionic pilasters flat, rectangular forms based on round columns, used as an ornamental motif.
The accepted costume for men in the early s included a wig, breeches, a waistcoat, and a coat. Radcliffe conforms perfectly to the image of a country gentleman at ease. Radcliffe , a short train. During the s, boys and girls alike wore dresses until five or six years old. As they got older, boys were dressed in miniature versions of their father's clothes.
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Look at the way Jasper, who carries a drum, is dressed compared to his brother, Walter, who is handing a piece of fruit to the baby. Two of the four boys are wearing dresses and they all hold a piece of fruit. The lace and shiny fabrics were painted with loose brushstrokes that are easy to see.
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Up close they appear rough, but at a distance they magically create the look of fabric and lace. A highlight is an area or a spot in a drawing, painting, or photograph that is strongly illuminated. In this painting, highlights are represented by a dab of white or light-colored paint. Look for glints of light on the tips of noses, in the eyes, and on the lips of the figures. These glints and brushstrokes help to bring the figures to life.
Skip to main content. Tweet Like Pin Email. Lesson Materials Standards Related Lesson Students will examine the artistic characteristics of The Radcliffe Family , explore how artwork can lead to accurate, inaccurate, or incomplete historical conclusions, and explain why it is important for historians to obtain multiple perspectives and sources of information before drawing any conclusions.
Objectives Students will be able to: examine the artistic characteristics of The Radcliffe Family ; explore how an idealized or contrived artwork can lead to inaccurate or incomplete historical conclusions; and explain why it is important for historians to obtain multiple perspectives and sources of information before drawing any conclusions.
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Lesson Display The Radcliffe Family to the class. Invite the students to look carefully and share what they observe. Prompt them with the following questions: What do you notice about the painting? How would you describe the people in the painting? What are they wearing? What are they holding? Describe their facial expressions. How would you describe how they are arranged? How would you describe their poses? If Walls Could Talk ab 3. Following results are shown. You might want to adjust your search critera , activate filters or change the sorting order. Books with keywords like print on demand, facsimile are filtered excluded with this option.
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