A provocative study of a freedman painter that recognizes the labor of enslaved artists and artisans in seventeenth-century Spain
Diego Velázquez’s portrait of Juan de Pareja (ca. 1608–1670) has long been a landmark of European art, but this provocative study focuses on its subject: an enslaved man who went on to build his own successful career as an artist. This catalogue—the first scholarly monograph on Pareja— discusses the painter’s ties to the Madrid School of the 1660s and revises our understanding of artistic production during Spain’s Golden Age, with a focus on enslaved artists and artisans. The authors illuminate the highly skilled labor within Seville’s multiracial society; the role of Black saints and confraternities in the promotion of Catholicism among enslaved populations; and early twentieth-century scholar Arturo Schomburg’s project to recover Pareja’s legacy. The book also includes the first illustrated and annotated list of known works attributed to Pareja.
Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (April 3–July 16, 2023)
David Pullins is associate curator in the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Vanessa K. Valdés is associate provost for community engagement at the City University of New York.