For one thing, pay attention to the placement of people in the portraits. Are they placed in heirarchies by height or by sides of the portrait? Are they segregated by age or sex? How does each sitter relate to the others in the portrait? Secondly, pay attention to the props that the sitters have with them. What would they signify about the person using them? Do they indicate something about their talents, skills, identities, and importance? Finally, notice the demeanor of the sitters. Are they serious, glum, or cheerful? What can you determine about the affective (emotional) relationships between spouses, siblings, and families in these portraits?
Isaac Royall and His Family, painted by Robert Feke, 1741.|
A large and imposing group portrait of one of colonial Massachusetts' youngest and wealthiest men and his family.
The Reverend Ebenezer Devotion and Martha Devotion, painted by Winthrop Chandler, 1770.
Double portraits by a country artisan-artist of a rural Massachusetts minister and his wife.|
The Washington Family, painted by Edward Savage, 1804.|
Portrait of the Revolutionary general and his family.
Joseph Moore and His Family, painted by Erastus Salisbury Field, 1839.|
Portrait of a rural Massachusetts dentist/hatter/preacher and his family in their parlor.
Mother and Son, Anonymous Daguerreotypist, n.d.|
A new technology--the daguerreotype--for early photographic family portraits.
The Four Seasons of Life--Middle Age: The Season of Strength, Currier & Ives, 1868.|
Famous lithograph of mid-nineteenth-century Romantic family life in a suburban village.
Currier and Ives, Printmakers to the American People.--Museum of the City of New York.
Prepared by Professor Catherine Lavender for History 286 (American Women's History), The Department of History, The College of Staten Island of The City University of New York. Send email to email@example.com
Fall Semester 1997. Last modified: Sunday 28 September 1997