At almost five feet square, the effect of this imposing portrait would have been a powerful statement in the face of death, but of what-love? memory? defiance? Each of the three figures gazes in a different direction; only the child confronts the viewer. Although the woman is shown as a living being, she is a shadow. There is a palpable sense of disengagement in the representation of this wife and mother; she has already moved on. In acceptance of this transition, the husband stretches out his hand to receive the rose that his wife drops upside down into his open palm. The flower-embroidered slippers on his feet echo the blossoms in the vase on the table and hint at the nimbleness of fingers that once plied needle and thread in such an expression of affection for a husband. Her left arm wraps protectively around their small son, who hugs a dog and tugs at its ear. Mother and child remain united through their hands that touch the dog on either side of his head. The dog, a symbol of faithfulness even unto death, thus functions as an intermediary between the realms of life and death. The strong, saturated palette of red, black, white, and green further identifies this painting with the posthumous genre. A curtain has been pulled aside to reveal a small portrait on the wall, perhaps a semblance of another family member who had died. This group portrait was painted in 1834, the year of Calvin Balis's earliest known works, when he was only seventeen years old. The family has not been identified but was most probably living in the vicinity of Utica, New York, the region where Balis concentrated his efforts until at least 1856, the year of his last known portrait.