Art of the Month

This month we will start to exam history of whose origins have background in the African Continent. These stories were absent in many of my history books, but I find it refreshing to see people who look like me doing marvelous things.

We are examining the world during the 1500s. People of color were living and doing incredible things. The Slave was in full force, but not all Africans were slaves. And those who were managed to do great things despite it.

Nzingha Mbande was born in 1583 and was Queen of Ambunde Kingdoms of Ndongo. She was born into a ruling  family of Ndongo. She received military and political training as a child. She served as an ambassador to the Portuguese.  Later she became ruler of her kingdom after her father and brother passed. She ruled for 37 years. She died in 1663.

Juan de Sesa or Juan Latino was an African Hispanic poet in Spain. He was brought to Spain as a slave with his mother to Dona Eliva.  He was allowed to go to school with Eliva’s son. He eventually gain a bachelor’s degree from the University of Granada in 1546.  He became a lecturer at the Cathedral School. He published three volumes of Latin poems between 1573 to 1585.  He died after 1594.

Portrait of an African woman holding a clock
This is from a portrait of an elegant woman who was in a black dress. It is a fragment of a painting which originally may have been twice as large, but was damaged and cut down (Tomasso). It was painted around 1583 or 1585 and is attributed to Italian artist Annibale Carracci; if true, then he would have painted this in his early twenties. He came from an artistic family and was born in and worked in the city of Bologna until 1595. His early work consists of genre paintings and portraits like this one. (Barton).

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