In 1776 the Danish King Christian 7 introduced nationality laws, which meant that Government posts and other public offices should be reserved exclusively for people 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.
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 the deeds suggested, he bears two laurel wreaths, the symbol of honour.
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 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.