aallegory - When the literal content of a work stands for abstract ideas, suggesting a parallel, deeper, symbolic sense.

The adjectival form of this term can be either allegorical or allegoric.


Examples of allegorical paintings:


Francesco Pesellino (Francesco di Stefano) (Italian), Allegory of Rome, from De Secundo Bello Punico Poema by Silius Italicus, 1447-1457, gouache, gold leaf, pen and ink, watercolor on parchment 28.7 x 20.2 cm, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.




see thumbnail to rightSandro Botticelli (Italian, 1445-1510), Allegory of Spring (La Primavera), 1477-78, 10 feet 4 inches x 6 feet 9 inches (315 x 205 cm), painted for the villa of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici at Castello, now in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence. See Renaissance.



Hieronymus Van Aeken Bosch (Flemish, 1450-1516)



Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio (Italian, c. 1489-1534), Allegory of Vices, c. 1529-1530, tempera on canvas, 1.42 x 0.85 m, Louvre. See Renaissance.



see thumbnail to rightDosso Dossi (Italian, about 1490-1542), Allegory of Fortune, about 1530, oil on canvas, 70 1/2 x 85 1/2 inches (178 x 216.5 cm), J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA.



Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo di Guasparre) (Italian, Florence, 1494-1540), Allegory of Salvation with the Virgin, the Christ Child, Saint Elizabeth, the Young Saint John, and Two Angels, c. 1521, oil on panel, 63 1/2 x 47 inches (161.3 x 119.4 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.



Pieter Brueghel the Elder (Flemish, 1525/30-1569), The Triumph of Death, 1562, wood, (117 x 162 cm), Prado Museum, Madrid. See death.



Giuseppe Arcimboldo (Italian, Milan, 1527-1593), Summer, 1563, oil on limewood, 67 x 50.8 cm, Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna. See wood.



Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640), The Apotheosis of Henry IV and the Proclamation of the Regency of Marie de Médicis (May 14, 1610), 1622-1625, oil on canvas, 3.94 x 7.27 m, Louvre.



Imitator of Anthony Van Dyck (Flemish, 1599-1641, active in Italy and England), Andromeda Chained to the Rock, 1637-38, oil on canvas, 84 3/4 x 52 inches (215.3 x 132.1 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.



Diego Velázquez de Silva (Spanish, 1599-1660), The Luncheon (Three Men at a Table), c. 1617/18, oil on canvas, 43 x 40 inches (108.5 x 102 cm), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. The young man on the far right is thought to be a self-portrait of Velazquez. See Baroque.



see thumbnail to rightJan Miense Molenaer (Dutch, about 1610-1668), The Dentist, 1629, oil on panel, 23 1/8 x 31 9/16 inches (58.8 x 80.1 cm), North Carolina Art Museum, Raleigh.



see thumbnail to leftLubin Baugin (French, c. 1612 - 1663), Still Life with Chessboard, oil on canvas, 55 x 73 cm, Louvre. This still life might be interpreted as either an allegory of the five senses or of the sacred and the profane.





see thumbnail to rightAttributed to Michiel van Musscher (Dutch, 1645-1705), Allegorical Portrait of an Artist, about 1680-85, oil on canvas, 44 15/16 x 35 7/8 inches (114.2 x 91.0 cm), North Carolina Art Museum, Raleigh. See attribute, easel, and patron.



Massimiliano Soldani (Italian, 1656-1740), Virtue Triumphant over Vice, bronze, height 11 3/4 inches (29.8 cm), Frick Collection, NY.



Giambattista Tiepolo (Italian, 1696-1770), Maecenas Presenting the Liberal Arts to Emperor Augustus, c. 1745, oil on canvas, 27 x 35 inches (69.5 x 89 cm), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.




see thumbnail to rightFrançois Boucher (French, 1703-1770), Allegory of Music, 1752, oil on canvas, 26 1/2 x 30 inches (67.3 x 76.2 cm), North Carolina Art Museum, Raleigh. See music and Rococo.



Benjamin West (American, 1738-1820, active in England), Cymon and Iphigenia, 1773, oil on canvas, 50 x 63 1/8 inches (127 x 160.3 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


see thumbnail to leftEdward Hicks (American, 1780-1849), The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1833, oil on canvas, Worcester Art Museum, MA. See folk art.



Thomas Cole (English, 1801-48, active in the US), L'Allegro, 1845, oil on canvas, 32 1/8 x 47 7/8 inches (81.6 x 121.6 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


Oscar Rejlander (Swedish-English, 1813-1875), Hard Times, 1860, albumen print,13.9 x 19.9 cm, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY. Rejlander was an innovator in creating allegorical multiphoto compositions beginning in 1857.



see thumbnail to rightGustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877), The Painter's Studio, A Real Allegory, 1855, oil on canvas, 11 feet 10 1/4 inches x 19 feet 7 1/2 inches (361 x 598 cm), Musée d'Orsay, Paris.


see thumbnail to leftJames Ensor (Belgian, Ostend, 1860-1949), Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889, 1888, oil on canvas, 99 1/2 x 169 1/2 inches (252.5 x 430.5 cm), J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA. See Expressionism.







Also see mirror, narrative art, and statue.





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