How a Black Queen Conceived a White BabyBy: Image of the Black in Western Art ArchivePosted: March 12, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Image of the Week: This Dutch painting from the 1640s tells the complicated origin story of an ancient Greek priestess.
(The Root) — This image is part of a weekly series that The Rootis presenting in conjunction with the Image of the Black in Western Art Archive at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.
The image is the first in a series of 10 large canvases by the Dutch artist Karel van Mander depicting a remarkable tale of love, misadventure and reconciliation. The paintings illustrate the complex narrative related in The Aethiopica, a late antique novel written by Heliodorus of Emesa in Syria.
The epic became popular in the 16th century when it was rediscovered and translated from the original Greek. The Aethiopica flashed across the skies of the European visual imagination amid an energetic burst of interest in the story for about 50 years and then mysteriously declined.
The story begins in the middle with an encounter with pirates by the two protagonists: Theagenes, a descendant of Achilles, and Chariclea, a priestess of Artemis at Delphi. Only at this point is an amazing backstory revealed: Chariclea turns out to be the daughter of King Hydaspes and Queen Persina of Ethiopia.
During conception, which is about to take place in the picture here, her mother had looked at a painting of the mythical Greek figure Andromeda. In accordance with the theory of maternal impression, still current when this image was painted, this gaze caused her child to be born white. Fearing an accusation of adultery, Persina abandoned her daughter, who was eventually adopted by Charicles, a Greek priest. After many adventures, she and Theagenes arrive in Meroe, the capital of Ethiopia. Chariclea is reunited with her parents, and the couple weds.
Of the many depictions of The Aethiopica, van Mander was the only one to unambiguously embrace this distinction of black and white. He treated the whole course of the narrative, not just the episodes taking place outside of Ethiopia, while most of his contemporaries significantly downplayed the blackness of Hydaspes and Persina.
He brings this ancient tale to life through a vigorous, unrestrained treatment of action and facial expression, and a lively portrayal of the black protagonists. In fact, there is evidence that at least some of the figures were based on actual models — that is, black people living in northern Europe, most likely Denmark, where Van Mander was serving as court painter when the series was created.
To a modern audience, the story of Theagenes and Chariclea, with its seamless connections among the people and cultures of Greece, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa, may offer a corrective to the more one-sided view of classical civilization that subsequently developed in the European consciousness. Martin Bernal, in his insightful study Black Athena, critiques this received tradition and argues for the essential role of Africa in the development of Western civilization. We can see a precocious foreshadowing of his point of view in the freshness of van Mander’s presentation of the royal court of Ethiopia.
The Image of the Black in Western Art Archive resides at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. The director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute is Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is also The Root’s editor-in-chief. The archive and Harvard University Press collaborated to create The Image of the Black in Western Art book series, eight volumes of which were edited by Gates and David Bindman and published by Harvard University Press. Text for each Image of the Week is written by Sheldon Cheek.
★ Who is your favourite villain?
THE SHADE OF IT ALL
DAAAAAAAAAMN JOHN CHO.
oh my god
edit: ….so here’s the thing. apart from being khan i don’t know anything about Montalban. looked him up just now. um…is he actually a MOC tho? all i’ve seen points to him being Spanish :/ …
Disney Pixar wants to trademark the famous Mexican celebration because it’s the theme for a new animated movie to come out in 2015.
no comment b/c i know ya’ll got this one
how in the holy … what the…
how can you trademark an entire culture’s sacred time?
this has got to be a joke. like the dude who wants to own water. it’s gotta be a joke, right? all of it.
On Display for its Aesthetic Beauty: How Western Institutions Fabricate Knowledge about Aboriginal Cultural Heritage; Sonia Smallacombe (Maramanindji)
- The Maids of Havana by Pedro Perez Sarduy
- Hija de Mi Madre; Odas De La Mujer De Miel, both by Ynanna Djehuty (note: author’s former name is listed as Carmen Mojica)
- Unbecoming Blackness by Antonio Lopez
- Racism Without Racists by Eduardo Bonilla Silva (ch. 8)
- Mama’s Girl; Marisol & Magdalena; Quinceanera Means Sweet 15; and Celia Cruz Queen of Salsa, all by Veronica Chambers
- Afro-Latin Americans Today: No Longer Invisible edited by Minority Rights Group
- Pichon: Race and Revolution in Castro’s Cuba, A Memoir; Castro, The Blacks, and Africa, both by Carlos Moore
- The AfroLatin@ Reader edited by Miriam Jimenez Roman and Juan Flores
- An Old Woman Remembers: The Recollected History of West Indians in Panama, 1855-1955; Miss Anna’s Son Remembers both by Carlos E. Russell
- De Barbados a Panama-From Barbados to Panama by Melva Lowe de Goodin
- Women Warriors of the AfroLatina-Diaspora edited by Marta Moreno Vega, Yvette Modestin, & Marinieves Alba
as most grad students of color know, Kaya Williams is not alone in feeling this way. this is a persistent problem on university campuses nationwide.
at Washington State University, for example, where a Native faculty member was recently brutally beaten within an inch of his life and three Asian undergraduate women were sexually harassed in racially targeted violence in the same weekend, the university has responded poorly at best; they never issued an emergency alert to students in the wake of the attacks, it took several days for administration to even acknowledge the events, and the only concrete thing they’ve promised is yet another inquiry & commission on the matter. these actions obviously don’t make a dent in patterns of violence on campus, considering the same response was given a few years ago when a Black student had his teeth kicked in, a trans student was severely beaten, & neo-Nazi propaganda was posted all over campus—no changes in campus climate have occurred. the university’s disappointing response to this violence isn’t all that surprising when you remember that they have terrible enrollment and retention rates for underrepresented students of color, an even worse rate of recruitment of faculty of color, no substantive requirements for curricula that addresses issues of race, and have recently consolidated their Women Studies, Queer Studies, & Ethnic Studies programs into one “minority studies” department (which is headed by a cis-hetero white male). moreover, there is a serious problem with sexual harassment and assault on campus, that’s occurring even at the faculty level.
is it any surprise so many students of color drop out, go on extended leave, and/or take way longer to earn their degrees? these universities are unsafe on every level, and things need to change.
man, I am honestly so exhausted with this stuff at uchicago and I’m only a damn second year undergrad. I’m honestly at the point where I’m no longer really interested in being a hugely active part of trying to fix anything here, I’m just trying to survive.
This line: “And as much as I would love to serve on an Advisory Council on Diversity with several highly paid staffers, most of the work I do here is already unpaid and I quite literally can’t afford to give you more time.” GOD YES. I have had at least four offers in the past two weeks of university people asking me to come be on some diversity council or help formulate a statement or whatever. Last year I would have been so down for that, but now I’m just tired. It shouldn’t be the job of the students to fix this crap, I’m a little busy trying to eke out an education among the substantial amount of crap I take at this university.
This bizarre looking thing is “Ata the humanoid”, a mummified corpse found in the Atacama Desert ten years ago. It’s strange appearance led to many calling it an “alien”, claiming it as proof that extraterrestrials have visited Earth.
Well, it’s finally been submitted to a battery of tests and the results show it to be fully human. DNA analysis has even managed to pinpoint the location and nationality of its mother. The results do suggest that it was once alive and human, not a hoax, and so asks more questions than they answer.
The bone analysis suggests that this is not a fetus, but a child between the ages of 6-8. The specimen has just ten ribs (as opposed to 12), is just six inches long and has severe facial deformities. These symptoms do not match up to any known genetic disorder and experts have no idea how such a severely deformed and tiny child could have lived to age six.
More info here.
The feminist movement is generally periodized into the so-called first, second and third waves of feminism. In the United States, the first wave is characterized by the suffragette movement; the second wave is characterized by the formation of the National Organization for Women, abortion rights politics, and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendments. Suddenly, during the third wave of feminism, women of colour make an appearance to transform feminism into a multicultural movement.
This periodization situates white middle-class women as the central historical agents to which women of colour attach themselves. However, if we were to recognize the agency of indigenous women in an account of feminist history, we might begin with 1492 when Native women collectively resisted colonization. This would allow us to see that there are multiple feminist histories emerging from multiple communities of colour which intersect at points and diverge in others. This would not negate the contributions made by white feminists, but would de-center them from our historicizing and analysis.
Indigenous feminism thus centers anti-colonial practice within its organizing. This is critical today when you have mainstream feminist groups supporting, for example, the US bombing of Afghanistan with the claim that this bombing will free women from the Taliban (apparently bombing women somehow liberates them).
Indigenous Feminism Without Apology - Andrea Smith (via ellesugars)
A Profile of Americans’ Media Use and Political Socialization Effects: television and the Internet’s relationship to social connectedness in the USA ― Daniel German & Caitlin Lally
There are more “non-humans” on TV than women. Talk about unequal gender representation in the media.
and please tell me what percentage of those women are women of color
I will be comparing Anna and Rapunzel. I will break their designs down, so I can compare different features. Now keep in mind that I am a straight guy who loves Disney, so if my opinions, or descriptions aren’t that good then I apologize.
Number 1 - The Eyes:
As you can see, Rapunzel and Anna have surprisingly different eyes. Rapunzel’s eyes and more round, and have a pointed finish, whereas Anna has more square-shaped eyes. Anna has bigger and darker eyelashes than Rapunzel as well, and the color is obviously different. Rapunzel’s eyes are more suddle, and Anna’s are striking.
Number 2 - The Eyebrows:
Now the eyebrows are a bit harder to talk about; the image I chose is not the best, but Rapunzel’s eye brows are (usually) thinner than Anna’s. Anna has thicker eyebrows.
Number 3 - The nose, mouth, and face:
Anna’s nose is a very circular, button-type nose. Rapunzel’s is more realistic looking, it is pointier compared to Anna. The mouths are also a big difference. Anna has thin, most likely painted lips, and Rapunzel has bigger lips. The skin tone is different too; Rapunzel has a more tanned color and Anna is more pale (which is odd, considering Anna has been in the sun way more than Rapunzel, but then again, Rapunzel was born from the sun…technically) Anyway, back on topic! While Rapunzel has a few freckles along the nose, Anna has many more, making her, well, a ginger!
Number 4 - the chin, and face shape
As you can tell, Rapunzel and Anna’s faces end in a different way. Rapunzel has a more pointed chin, her face is longer, but still more round than most Disney female characters. Anna has a rounder face than Rapunzel. Her face is more like a circle (like Merida from Brave)
Number 5 - Clothing
This is not what people compare between the two characters, but I thought I should talk about it anyway, since it is part of their design. Rapunzel is in light colors, such as Purple and Pink. Her dress is in the German style (since Tangled takes place in Germany) It is very similar to the style of Snow Whites dress, since that movie too, took place in Germany. There is puffy shoulders, a corset, and elbow length sleeves. The dress is also covered in flower designs. Anna’s dress is completely different! Anna has on Purple, blue, black, and pink. Her dress is another more detailed design like Rapunzels, because in CGI why not? Anna’s dress is in a Norwegian/Scandinavian style, since that’s where the movie takes place. There is a cape, mittens, a white under shirt, black boots, and a black top. Anna also appears to have flowery designs, but only on the bottom of the dress.
Number 6 - Hair, and overall appearance
Rapunzel and Anna obviously have different hair. Rapunzel has 70 feet of blonde, magical hair. She has a signature “hair swoop” which is reminiscent of Ariel gravity defying bangs. Anna has a significantly less amount of hair, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Anna has two braids, of strawberry blonde hair. She has four hair strands that separate on the right side of her head. Fun fact is that Anna and Belle are the only Disney Princesses two have hair that is not super long or super short (Cinderella being on the super short side, because she is marketed with her hair being short and up)
Overall, Rapunzel and Anna have similarities for sure, but they are not exactly the same! Rapunzel has a suddle look to her, her hair is obviously the best part of her design, but everything else is still amazing. Anna has a more striking appearance with her eyes, and eyelashes. Anna has less hair than Rapunzel, and possibly being of step down from this crazy CGI hair (Rapunzel and Merida) but her hair is still pretty cool and unique.
Hope this helped you see how they are not exactly the same! I think that Anna will be a great new addition to the Disney family! And keep in mind, that at one point people said Ariel and Rapunzel looked exactly alike!
This is a joke, right? You aren’t serious, are you?
Please tell me you’re not serious. I haven’t had enough sleep to be able to weather my loss of desire to live if you’re actually serious.
oh my fucking god.