New Art Exhibitions: ‘Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter’, The New York Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter (April 3rd – July 16th, 2023) offers an unprecedented look at the life and artistic achievements of seventeenth-century Afro-Hispanic painter Juan de Pareja (ca. 1608–1670).

Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter - The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Largely known today as the subject of The Met’s iconic portrait by Diego Velázquez, Pareja—who was born in Antequera, Spain—was enslaved in Velázquez’s studio for over two decades before becoming an artist in his own right. This presentation is the first to tell his story and examine the ways in which enslaved artisanal labor and a multiracial society are inextricably linked with the art and material culture of Spain’s “Golden Age.”

Diego Velázquez’s portrait of Juan de Pareja (ca. 1608–1670) has long been a landmark of European art, but this provocative study focuses on its subject: an enslaved man who went on to build his own successful career as an artist. This catalogue—the first scholarly monograph on Pareja— discusses the painter’s ties to the Madrid School of the 1660s and revises our understanding of artistic production during Spain’s Golden Age, with a focus on enslaved artists and artisans.

The authors illuminate the highly skilled labor within Seville’s multiracial society; the role of Black saints and confraternities in the promotion of Catholicism among enslaved populations; and early twentieth-century scholar Arturo Schomburg’s project to recover Pareja’s legacy.

The book also includes the first illustrated and annotated list of known works attributed to Pareja. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press

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