Venice in 1500 was a dynamic, wealthy city at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East. During this century, representations of Black Africans began to appear in a range of paintings, sculptures, drawings, books, and prints. The figures are depicted in varying roles; as high-level diplomats, as exotic adornments to the elite, as gondoliers or musicians in street scenes, or as actors in the Magi story. Despite being increasingly conspicuous, they have had very little art historical attention paid to them throughout the centuries. In this lecture we will examine these forgotten figures and learn about who they were and how they impacted the visual landscape of the Golden Age of Venetian Art.
Fiona Garland earned a master’s degree in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and wrote her dissertation on 16th century Venetian art. Her passion for art history has enabled her to lecture and lead tours of museums across the U.S. and Europe.