The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume I: From the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Roman Empire

Overview

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

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Overview

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

The new edition of From the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Roman Empire offers a comprehensive look at the fascinating and controversial subject of the representation of black people in the ancient world. Classic essays by distinguished scholars are aptly contextualized by Jeremy Tanner’s new introduction, which guides the reader through enormous changes in the field in the wake of the “Black Athena” story.

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Editorial Reviews

Spectator

The volumes so far are a treasury of paintings and sculptures of people down the ages, taking in many strands of ritual, classicism, artlessness and humanity.
— William Feaver

The Art Newspaper

A sumptuous new edition with much additional material and copious color pictures....The books are a wonderful resource: a glitteringly decorated window into the Du Bois Institute's unrivalled archive of relevant images. The accompanying essays, which are models of erudition, are inescapable reading for anyone interested in the subject.
— Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Choice

In his fresh introduction for volume 1, Jeremy Tanner, Greek and Roman art/archaeology specialist, recontextualizes the text and images in the original volume of this work in light of the explosion of scholarship examining the notions of race and identity as constructed historically and in the present. Tanner's well-researched, critical essay offers a rich bibliography of the literature on the subject of race and representation in ancient art...The high-quality color images that have replaced black-and-white images, and the more richly textured black-and-white images, all printed on good quality art stock paper, help to reinforce arguments where color symbolism is deemed critically important.
— K. Mason

Times Literary Supplement

Monumental and groundbreaking volumes...[with] beautifully reproduced and thought-provoking images…A vast array of different "Images of the Black" appear in these volumes, from statues of black saints such as St. Maurice or St. Benedict the Moor, to portraits of notable African ambassadors and kings, poets and musicians, or drawings of literary characters such as Shakespeare's Othello, Aphra Behn's Oroonoko, or Yarico from George Colman's Inkle and Yarico...Africans have been painted and sculpted by some of the most eminent artists in the Western tradition, including Titian, Tiepolo, Rubens, Rembrandt,Van Dyck, Reynolds, Hogarth, Watteau and Gainsborough. More importantly, they have not been caricatured, but sensitively portrayed by these masters, their humanity captured on canvas for all to see...In placing such a vast variety of different images together, both positive and negative, these volumes show that the "Image of the Black" was not at all homogenous but rather reflected the wide range of the Western response to the "other."...Seen through the prism of "Western Art," these "Images of the Black" often tell us more about the Europeans and their agendas than the Africans they portray. Nonetheless, the cumulative effect of the images is to demonstrate a continuous black presence in the Western imagination and experience…This series will pose new questions to scholars of art, history and literature and provoke us all to reconsider the role of "the Black" in Western civilization.
— Miranda Kaufmann

Kwame Anthony Appiah
A fascinating story of the changing image of Africa's people in Western art. The images are simply extraordinary and the scholarship inspiring. Anyone who cares about Western art or about Africa and her diaspora ought to know these magnificent volumes.
Paul Gilroy
In addition to being an indispensable guide to the evolving meanings of racial difference, these dazzling volumes filled with extraordinary images and rich arguments contribute to an alternative history of the Western world. An invaluable gift for both specialists and general readers.
Spectator - William Feaver
The volumes so far are a treasury of paintings and sculptures of people down the ages, taking in many strands of ritual, classicism, artlessness and humanity.
The Art Newspaper - Felipe Fernández-Armesto
A sumptuous new edition with much additional material and copious color pictures....The books are a wonderful resource: a glitteringly decorated window into the Du Bois Institute's unrivalled archive of relevant images. The accompanying essays, which are models of erudition, are inescapable reading for anyone interested in the subject.
Choice - K. Mason
In his fresh introduction for volume 1, Jeremy Tanner, Greek and Roman art/archaeology specialist, recontextualizes the text and images in the original volume of this work in light of the explosion of scholarship examining the notions of race and identity as constructed historically and in the present. Tanner's well-researched, critical essay offers a rich bibliography of the literature on the subject of race and representation in ancient art...The high-quality color images that have replaced black-and-white images, and the more richly textured black-and-white images, all printed on good quality art stock paper, help to reinforce arguments where color symbolism is deemed critically important.
Times Literary Supplement - Miranda Kaufmann
Monumental and groundbreaking volumes...[with] beautifully reproduced and thought-provoking images…A vast array of different "Images of the Black" appear in these volumes, from statues of black saints such as St. Maurice or St. Benedict the Moor, to portraits of notable African ambassadors and kings, poets and musicians, or drawings of literary characters such as Shakespeare's Othello, Aphra Behn's Oroonoko, or Yarico from George Colman's Inkle and Yarico...Africans have been painted and sculpted by some of the most eminent artists in the Western tradition, including Titian, Tiepolo, Rubens, Rembrandt,Van Dyck, Reynolds, Hogarth, Watteau and Gainsborough. More importantly, they have not been caricatured, but sensitively portrayed by these masters, their humanity captured on canvas for all to see...In placing such a vast variety of different images together, both positive and negative, these volumes show that the "Image of the Black" was not at all homogenous but rather reflected the wide range of the Western response to the "other."...Seen through the prism of "Western Art," these "Images of the Black" often tell us more about the Europeans and their agendas than the Africans they portray. Nonetheless, the cumulative effect of the images is to demonstrate a continuous black presence in the Western imagination and experience…This series will pose new questions to scholars of art, history and literature and provoke us all to reconsider the role of "the Black" in Western civilization.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674052710
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 475,348
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David Bindman is Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at University College London.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and is the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

Frank M. Snowden Jr., was Professor of Classics, Howard University.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Image of the Black in Western Art Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.

Acknowledgments

Introduction to the New Edition: Race and Representation in Ancient Art: Black Athena and After Jeremy Tanner Tanner, Jeremy 1

1 The Iconography of the Black in Ancient Egypt: From the Beginnings to the Twenty-fifth Dynasty Jean Vercoutter Vercoutter, Jean 41

2 Cushites and Meroites: Iconography of the African Rulers in the Ancient Upper Nile Jean Leclant Leclant, Jean 95

3 Iconographical Evidence on the Black Populations in Greco-Roman Antiquity Frank M. Snowden Snowden, Frank M. 141

4 The Iconography of the Black in Ancient North Africa Jehan Desanges Desanges, Jehan 251

5 Egypt, Land of Africa, in the Greco-Roman World Jean Leclant Leclant, Jean 275

Appendix

Acknowledgments and Perspectives to the First Edition Dominique De Menil De Menil, Dominique 291

Preface to the First Edition Ladislas Bugner Bugner, Ladislas 293

Introduction to the First Edition Ladislas Bugner Bugner, Ladislas 299

Abbreviations 315

Notes 317

Illustrations 361

Maps 377

Index 385

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