People of Color in European Art History

  1. Pedro de la Cuadra

    St. Peter Nolasco Ransoming Captives

    Spain (1499)

    Polychrome Wood, 165 x 116 cm.

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    I meant to add here that this scene is the ransoming of Christian prisoners of war in the 13th century. 600-odd years of crusades, invasions, and territorial disputes between Europe and North Africa and the Middle East resulted in a massive amount of human movement between the continents during those centuries. For every invading army in either direction, a large percentage were never ransomed, and/or just lived there forever.

    Also of note: Egypt and Ethiopia had large Christian populations, and many of them may have been in conflict with larger Islamic forces in the area and so accompanied these kind of parties back to Spain, Italy, and other countries (Saint Peter Nolasco was born in France). It worked the other way as well.