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A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Francesco de Mura
Italian, 1696-1782

About this artwork

This painting presents an allegory of the virtue of charity through images of maternal love and sacrifice: a mother nurtures several young children and a pelican feeds her young by drawing blood from her own breast. This work was one of a set of allegories of five virtues intended as decorations set above doors in a palace belonging to the king of Savoy, a region in northwest Italy. Francesco de Mura spent most of his career in Naples but also worked for the king of Savoy in the 1740s, producing paintings in a style that combined grand, calm figures with active drapery. Although it is now rectangular, the canvas shows signs of an earlier curved shape appropriate to a Rococo room decoration.


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Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Francesco de Mura




Italy (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


139.5 × 134.6 cm (54 15/16 × 53 in.); Framed: 159.4 × 159.4 cm (62 3/4 × 62 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Preston O. Morton Memorial Fund for Older Paintings

Reference Number


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