Angelica Kauffmann, Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, 1785
The scene takes place in the second century BCE in the republican era of Rome. A visitor shows Cornelia her jewels and then requests to see those of her hostess. In response, Cornelia shows her daughter and two sons and responds that her children are her most precious jewels. Cornelia depicts the good mother, a popular subject among eighteenth-century history painters who, in the spirit of the Enlightenment, depict subjects who teach the viewer about virtue. Her sons, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus become powerful political reformers in their adulthood (Marilyn Stokstad, Art History, Volume Two. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2008, 965-66).