People of Color in European Art History


  1. Stefano Della Bella
Ethiopie (Ethiopia)
Italy (c. 1625)
Print;  Jeu de la géographie.
Harvard Art Museums

    Stefano Della Bella

    Ethiopie (Ethiopia)

    Italy (c. 1625)

    Print; Jeu de la géographie.

    Harvard Art Museums

  2. If you, like me, ever find yourself feeling guilty or ashamed about being a disabled student, doubting whether you really need or deserve accommodations, I encourage you to think back to the 504 protests. If you ever feel society tugging at you to “get by” without accommodations, “toughen up,” “suck it up,” “stick it out,” because “the whole world doesn’t cater to you,” remember that you are part of a community that has spent enough time living in an inaccessible world. If you feel tempted to do an ableist society’s work by torturing yourself for being disabled, remember that over a hundred protestors (and an infestation of crabs) stayed in a building for nearly a month without the comforts of home or any accommodations or accessible structures. Remember that all the discomfort and indignities they faced as protestors were so that you wouldn’t have to go through the same thing. You’re relieved of any duty to feel guilty or ashamed about being a disabled student.

    Fighting Shame with History

    Longmore Institute student assistant Katie offers a bit of advice, history, and humor to help her fellow disabled students fight back against the internalized ableism that crops up at the start of the semester.

    (via longmoreinstituteondisability)

    (via imnotevilimjustwrittenthatway)

  3. More thought-provoking and challenging displays from the Swedish Historical Museum. Submitted by xanthy-m.

  4. Anonymous (Paris)
Missale ad usum ecclesie Sarisburiensis: Adoration of the Magi
France (1528)
Woodcut/Print
Harvard Art Museums

    Anonymous (Paris)

    Missale ad usum ecclesie Sarisburiensis: Adoration of the Magi

    France (1528)

    Woodcut/Print

    Harvard Art Museums

  5. gut-jar wrote...

    i emailed this blog to my art history teacher and she replied back gushing about how its one of her favorites!! just think its neat one of my professors was following you already :Y

    That’s really awesome to hear! I’m genuinely tickled pink that it seems like both educators and students seem to enjoy the art I post here, and hopefully come away with some cool new thoughts to mull over. I know that I personally have done a lot of research and reading I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t started medievalpoc!

  6. harryhenry1 wrote...

    Wow, you've shown me so many examples of people of color in medieval art, that i'm suprised that even professers of history seem to deny the there were POC in medieval europe! My question though, is this: has there been any research done as to when this white-washing of medieval europe began?

    medievalpoc:

    Actually, my next queued post addresses that in detail, particularly in regards to Art Education.

    Quick-n-Dirty Version: it began during “The Enlightenment”, during colonization and the beginnings of chattel slavery. The idea of “White People” had just been invented, along with the idea of White supremacy. Basically, all the leading “scientific minds” directly benefited from genocide, kidnapping people an enslaving them, and stealing their land, resources, and skills.

    And in order to justify this, it was very important to create this idea not just that “these people are in a subordinate position now”, it had to be retroactive. As in, “these people have never had any accomplishments, their culture is primitive, worthless, ugly, uninteresting, therefore whatever we do to them is okay/for their own good/helping them/better than leaving them to their own depravity” et cetera.

    The amount of “science” devoted to proving that people of color were inherently inferior to white people was like…pretty much the ENTIRETY of “science” from the late 1700s to….well. 

    For example:

    This asshat got his degree from Harvard on the premise that “Hispanics have lower IQs than American Whites” IN 2009.

    And coincidentally, Arizona banned “Ethnic Studies”, specifically a Mexican-American Studies Curriculum, upheld by a judge as “constitutional” in March. 2013.

    And the consistent disenfranchisement of specifically Mestiz@  and other “not white” Mexican Americans has been documented by sociologist Richard Shingles, who says:

    Shingles concludes it is an American problem brought on by the history of the nation’s oldest and largest Mexican American communities, a history that started with conquest and has excluded generations from the benefits of development. “Our past cannot be separated from our future.”


    See how that works?

    No past, no history, no context, just a huge group of people that are somehow “inherently inferior”, and coincidentally not historically f*cked over for hundreds of years. It’s about blaming the victims of racism for suffering from the results of racism.

    That’s why they teach whitewashed history.

  7. tempoprestissimo wrote...

    Hey there MPOC! I was having a discussion with a friend the other day and was wondering if you or your followers could give me some input, because we're not really qualified to know what the heck we're talking about.We were talking about people of color populations in the UK in medieval times, and about how London probably had tons of races living in it because of how huge it was but someplace like Edinburgh which had a much smaller population and presumably less trade would result in less POC?

    I’m a little confused because the way you’ve worded your question, it reads like so: “Bigger cities have more people, and smaller cities have fewer people, right?” Trade doesn’t really come into that.

    As for the UK specifically, trade isn’t going to be as relevant because people of color had already been living there since it was part of the Roman Empire. For example, York isn’t especially massive but it’s estimated the population in the 3rd century A.D. was about 20% of African descent. There’s also the fact that the Roman government often sent military personnel into retirement in provinces that they were not originally from, presumably to cut down on trained military forces deciding to take back their homelands and what have you.

    So if you consider “medieval times” to begin after the fall of the Roman Empire, you’re actually starting out with a fairly mixed population. If you’re looking at trade being a factor in creating a more racially diverse population, this is something a lot more relevant for medieval Italy. If you’re looking at warfare and occupation being a factor for creating a more diverse population, medieval Spain is going to be more of an example of that. That’s of course in addition to the whole part-of-an-Empire starting population as well.

    Classical demography is an inexact science at best, but it does exist. And I am quite sure people won’t stop asking me to somehow make a definitive statement on how many people of color were present in “medieval Europe”, as if there CAN be an answer to such a question! But don’t fall prey to assuming that there is only one factor in thinking about these things-there are many different factors that affect historical populations in any place, at any point during history, just as is the case today.

  8. polkadottree wrote...

    I don't know if you've ever been asked this, but what's your "learning history". You know so much and I can tell you're passionate about your work, which is so awesome! I'd be interested in hearing about your path to learn and educate yourself about so much from history and the present. I find your dedication to education admirable and inspiring. :) I always learn a lot from your blog and I'm glad I have it as a resource.

    Thanks. I’ve actually written about it quite a lot.

    http://medievalpoc.tumblr.com/search/gender+studies

    http://medievalpoc.tumblr.com/search/interdisciplinary+studies

    http://medievalpoc.tumblr.com/search/personal

    http://medievalpoc.tumblr.com/post/95643139693/what-i-do-for-a-living

  9. fandabydozey:

This is a fragment of a ceiling painting at the Painted Hall at Greenwich University in London (formerly known as Old Naval College). I don’t know if it was already on your blog but when I saw it I immediately thought of you and amazing work you do to educate us on your blog. Therefore thought I’ll let you know about this medievalpoc

No, I didn’t know about it! It’s almost certainly an Allegory of Africa, similar to this one by Claudio Francesco Beaumont:

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    fandabydozey:

    This is a fragment of a ceiling painting at the Painted Hall at Greenwich University in London (formerly known as Old Naval College). I don’t know if it was already on your blog but when I saw it I immediately thought of you and amazing work you do to educate us on your blog. Therefore thought I’ll let you know about this medievalpoc

    No, I didn’t know about it! It’s almost certainly an Allegory of Africa, similar to this one by Claudio Francesco Beaumont:

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  10. aseantoo submitted to medievalpoc:

Unknown English painter
Ambassador Admiral Abdelkader Pérez
England (1737)
[x]
Wikipedia says:
Haj Abdelkader Pérez was a Moroccan Admiral and an ambassador to England in 1723 and again in 1737. On 29 August 1724, he met with king George II and the Prince of Wales. His Spanish family name indicates his descent from morisco refugees.

    aseantoo submitted to medievalpoc:

    Unknown English painter

    Ambassador Admiral Abdelkader Pérez

    England (1737)

    [x]

    Wikipedia says:

    Haj Abdelkader Pérez was a Moroccan Admiral and an ambassador to England in 1723 and again in 1737. On 29 August 1724, he met with king George II and the Prince of Wales. His Spanish family name indicates his descent from morisco refugees.