Art Discovery! Medieval POC

Art Discovery! Medieval POC

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Medieval POC is a neat blog featuring people of color in European (and sometimes Asian) art.

Queen of Sheba (c. 1405) from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic)
Queen of Sheba (c. 1405) from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic)

It’s easy to forget that people of color – Africans, Moors, Arabs, Asians, and many more – have lived in Europe since at least the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The Medieval POC blog reminds you every day! There is also a Tumblr.
from Italy (1600s)
from Italy (1600s)

Many of the artworks are portraits and self-portraits of real people, or characters from myth and literature, such as the Queen of Sheba and Balthazar, the Wise Man who is traditionally depicted as black. Sometimes the people don’t have names, or just show up in the background as part of crowds.

The author helpfully tags certain images with “Orientalism” to let us know when the artist has painted/drawn people from the Middle East, Northern Africa, and East Asia in idealized/sexualized ways, and that we can’t trust everything we see in such an image.

Below are some of my favorite artworks – click on them to go to the blog page:

Empress XiaoSheng Xian by Giuseppe Castiglione (1751)
Empress XiaoSheng Xian by Giuseppe Castiglione (1751)

Portrait of a Young Black Man by Alessandro Longhi (c. 1760s)
Portrait of a Young Black Man by Alessandro Longhi (c. 1760s)
Dido Elizabeth Belle (Scottish aristocrat) by unknown artist (1779)
Dido Elizabeth Belle (Scottish aristocrat) by unknown artist (1779)
Portrait of the Model Joseph by  Jean Louis André Théodore Gericault (1818)
Portrait of the Model Joseph by Jean Louis André Théodore Gericault (1818)
Capresse des Colonies by Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier (1861) - this is awesome!
Capresse des Colonies by Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier (1861) – this is awesome!
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