The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume II, Part 1 — Some Images
As I vaguely promised when I first laid my (entirely washed and un-grubby) hands on The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume II: From the Early Christian Era to the “Age of Discovery”, Part 1: From the Demonic Threat to the Incarnation of Sainthood (eds. David Bindman, Henry Louis Gates, Karen C. C. Dalton), photoblogging! In all whiny-ness, photographing high-gloss art books is similar to photographing museum art through glass, with the extra thrill of “How far can I flatten this page without breaking many euros of book spine?”
Before I got to That Section, the one the cover gives away, there were scores of other works. Several by Yahya ibn Mahmud al-Wasiti (go and read about him. And for an aside follow-up, read about Islam meeting Northern Indigenous Australians long before Europeans arrived), sculptures, works on paper, murals, altarpieces, in any and every form of art in the mediæval age, there were black people. I skimped on photographing most of that, otherwise I’d have ended up snapping every work, and there’s 185 in this volume.
That Section. Volume II, Part 1 is substantially dedicated to Our St. Maurice. I say, “Our” in the same way I would as an Australian say, “Our Kylie” or “Our Mark Webber.” It’s slightly tongue-in-cheek, and slightly proud. The “Our” here denoting Germany because Germany should be fucking proud of its adoration for St. Maurice—this part of Germany even, Sachsen-Anhalt, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. For whatever reasons I’m still learning, the town of Magdeburg were and are the home of both St. Maurice and Mechthild; there’s a strong presence in nearby Halle and many small towns, and through Austria, Denmark, France, as far north-east as Riga.
One thing I noticed particularly with St. Maurice, is the relative lack of former Eastern European works, works which I saw some of in Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary earlier this year. This I think because the original volumes were published in the ’80s and early ’90s, (republished in the last few years) so being Cold War era, and possibly not having easy access to many works which are now in museums like Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu.