Myles Franklin | June 13, 2021

While I wasn’t shocked to find that most Blacks were servants and slaves in the Netherlands, I was shocked at them being portrayed in dignified and elegant manner as the main subject of 16th and 17th century painting. Rembrandt’s “Two Negroes” is a perfect example with the painting depicting two Black men as the main subjects, and the men are dressed elegantly and don’t look like they’re beneath anyone. I’m accustomed to Blacks always being portrayed in a subhuman manner during that time period. In most other countries, paintings didn’t begin to portray Blacks with dignity until the 19th century. During its earliest period of slavery, the Netherlands did have a lot of paintings that portrayed Blacks in a subhuman manner, but the country made a transition to respectable portrayals much earlier than other countries.


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