Black in Rembrandt’s Time- Dani

I was most surprised by the images of the hidden or solitary Black people- the one with one Black man holding up a statue with a bunch of other people and the one of the Black person on the street with all of the other Dutch people. I think I find these surprising because the artist didn’t have to put them there at all. If the artist was actually looking at a street while painting a scene, and there was a Black person there, it would have been so easy to change the color of their skin or exclude them altogether. Seeing Black people in places of relative neutrality was interesting. I’m used to seeing Black people depicted as servants or enslaved or in African or Caribbean communities or as savages or inhuman. The Black people painted as noblemen or important was nice but it’s so easy to explain away those portraits as not normal, “Oh this person was rich or important so that’s why there’s a picture of them” but Black people interwoven into society or the couple portraits of Black people that look just like average Joes are very interesting.

It’s very nice that the Rembrandt House has exhibits like Black in Rembrandt’s world. It’s important to show every aspect of the Black experience- in the past and now. According to this article,, museums and the country are taking significant steps to decolonize their museums, which is great! I think the first big exhibit could maybe have not focused on slavery but *sigh*.

Your sustainability is not sustainable without equity. Racial equity, economic equity, power equity.


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