Slave Portraiture in the Atlantic World is the first book to focus on the individualized portrayal of enslaved people from the time of Europe's full engagement with plantation slavery in the late sixteenth century to its final official abolition in Brazil in 1888. While this period saw the emergence of portraiture as a major field of representation in Western art, 'slave' and 'portraiture' as categories appear to be mutually exclusive. On the one hand, the logic of chattel slavery sought to render the slave's body as an instrument for production, as the site of a non-subject. Portraiture, on the contrary, privileged the face as the primary visual matrix for the representation of a distinct individuality. Essays address this apparent paradox of 'slave portraits' from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, probing the historical conditions that made the creation of such rare and enigmatic objects possible and exploring their implications for a more complex understanding of power relations under slavery.
Agnes Lugo-Ortiz is Associate Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Identidades Imaginadas: Biografia y Nacionalidad en el Horizonte de la Guerra and co-editor of Herencia: The Anthology of US Hispanic Writing, En Otra Voz: Antologia de la Literatura Hispana de los Estados Unidos and Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage, Volume V. Angela Rosenthal was Associate Professor of Art History at Dartmouth College. She was the author of Angelika Kauffmann: Bildnismalerei im 18. Jahrhundert and Angelica Kauffman: Art and Sensibility, which won the 2007 Historians of British Art Book Award in the pre-1800 category. She also was co-editor of The Other Hogarth: Aesthetics of Difference.
Introduction: envisioning slave portraiture Angela Rosenthal and Agnes Lugo-Ortiz; Part I. Visibility and Invisibility: 1. Slavery and the possibilities of portraiture Marcia Pointon; 2. Subjectivity and slavery in portraiture: from courtly to commercial societies David Bindman; 3. Looking for Scipio Moorhead: on the portrayal of an 'African painter' in revolutionary North America Eric Slauter; Part II. Slave Portraiture, Colonialism, and Modern Imperial Culture: 4. Three gentlemen from Esmeralda: a portrait fit for a king Tom Cummins; 5. Metamorphoses of the self: slave portraiture and the case of Juan de Pareja in imperial Spain Carmen Fracchia; 6. Of sailors and slaves: portraiture, property, and the trials of circum-Atlantic subjectivities, c.1750-1830 Geoff Quilley; 7. Between violence and redemption: slave portraiture in early plantation Cuba Agnes Lugo-Ortiz; Part III. Subjects to Scientific and Ethnographic Knowledge: 8. Albert Eckhout's African Woman and Child (1641): ethnographic portraiture, slavery, and the New World subject Rebecca P. Brienen; 9. Embodying African knowledge in colonial Surinam: two William Blake engravings in Stedman's 1796 narrative Susan Scott Parrish; 10. Exquisite empty shells: sculpted slave portraits and the French ethnographic turn James Smalls; Part IV. Facing Abolition: 11. Who is the subject? Marie-Guilhelmine Benoist's Portrait d'une Negresse Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff; 12. The many faces of Toussaint Loverture Helen Weston; 13. Cinque: a heroic portrait for the abolitionist cause Toby Chieffo-Reidway; 14. The Intrepid Mariner Simao: visual histories of blackness in the Luso-Atlantic at the end of the slave trade Daryle Williams.