Inscribed, in plate, across bottom: ADMODVM ILLVSTRI ET GENEROSO VIRO DOMINO LUCAE VAN VFFELE / PATORNO SVO AETERNVM COLENDO OPVS HOC A SACRAE CAESAREAE / MAIESTATIS SCVLPTORE AEGIDIO SADELER / Cum privil S. C. Mtis. / Marco Sadeler excudit
In this engraving, Egidius Sadeler II draws our attention to the intricate dynamics of colonialism and racial hierarchies depicted through the body language and orientation of two figures. Laura Dianti, a woman of privilege and daughter of a hat-maker from Ferrara, commands the composition. Her richly adorned black dress, glistening with light, symbolizes her elevated status. Adjacent to her, we see Laura’s accompanying Black attendant, whose body language conveys both subordination and deference. With lowered eyes and a position slightly behind Laura, the attendant exemplifies the power dynamics inherent in European colonial societies, where racial hierarchies were firmly entrenched. By engaging with this engraving, we delve into the complex historical context of colonialism, highlighting the enduring legacies of racial inequality and the importance of critically examining such visual narratives.
Written by Miel Wewerka, ’26
From the 2023 exhibition Faith and Empire: The Legacy of Conversion and Commerce in the Early Modern World, curated by students of ARTH 20.04, "Faith and Empire: Art in the Early Modern World" taught by Elizabeth Rice Mattison, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Curator of Academic Programming
Art History 20.04, Faith and Empire, Beth Mattison, Spring 2023
A Space for Dialogue 51, The Quest for Printed Tone, Alex Vespoli, Class of 2009, Class of 1954 Senior Curatorial Intern, Main Lobby, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 4-August 16, 2009.
Faith and Empire: The Legacy of Conversion and Commerce in the Early Modern World, Class of 1967 Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 12-December 23, 2023.
James A. Bergquist, Boston, Massachusetts; sold to present collection, 1997.
Nagler Kunstlerlexikon 67; Wurzbach 171; Hollstein 148, IV/IV
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