Carl Frederik Stanley (c. 1738-1813), Amor patriae. Allegory symbolizing patriotism, 1777

Carl Frederik Stanley (c. 1738-1813), Amor patriae. Allegory symbolising patriotism, 1777. 112,5x45,7x39 cm. kms6017
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In 1776 the Danish King Christian 7. introduced the nationality laws, which meant that Government posts and other public offices would usually be reserved for persons who had been born in Denmark.

The following year C.F. Stanley was appointed professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. The nationality laws reflected a growing awareness of national identity and history, as did Stanley’s sculpture, created the same year that he obtained Danish citizenship.

Love of one's country

The title can be translated as Love of one’s country. This establishes a kinship with the king’s motto Honour through love of one’s country, and the picture symbolically presents honour as the result of patriotic deeds.

The allegorical figure is shown standing by his armour, shield, sword, and arrow, quite literally trampling another sword underfoot. In reward of deeds suggested, he bears two laurel wreaths, the symbol of honour.

An idealised patriotic citizen
The figure can, however, both be read as a symbol of patriotism and as an idealised patriotic citizen. During the 1760s Stanley spent some time in Rome where he followed discussions of the latest ideas concerning the correlation between the ideal physique and the ideal structure of society. Judging by the figure’s classical pose, heroic musculature and studied ideal proportions, the late absolute monarchy must have created a new breed of ideal subjects.

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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