Don Miguel De Castro, Ambassador from Kongo to Dutch Brazil
Dutch (colonized) Brazil (c. 1637)
oil on wood
This portrait of D. Miguel shows the titular man clothed in impeccable contemporaneous Dutch fashion. Whether or not many of the paintings done by Eckhout depicting very sensationalized “Indios” from the series were made in Brazil or spun from whole cloth, so to speak, is a hotly debated issue. This, however, is almost certainly a portrait of the man it claims to be of; portraits of his entourage are part of the series as well (and will probably be featured on this blog at some point). During the 1600s many ambassadors were sent by Queen Jinga (Nzinga Mbandi) Soba on various diplomatic missions, including one to the Pope in Rome (Don Antonio Manuele de Funta [x] [x]).
For some reason, attempts to erase these portraits’ existence from the series have been made by various Brazilian historiographers; attempts to discredit the artist and the art as entirely from imagination and mis-attributed to other painters and locations continue. When considered in context of the many missions sent from Kongo in the age of exploration, it seems as though retroactive erasure continues to be an issue in art history.
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