Black in Rembrandt's Time

An in-depth look at the depiction of black people by Rembrandt and his contemporaries

This exhibition catalogue from The Rembrandt House Museum tells the story of the black community in 17th century Dutch society and reveals how attitudes to race were expressed in the portrayal of black figures in Dutch art. Black people were present in 17th-century Holland, both in society and in art. This subject has long remained in the shadows, a situation this ground-breaking exhibition addresses. Rembrandt and many of his contemporaries made magnificent works of art that depict people of color. There was a small community of around 80 free black people of color living in the Jodenbreestraat neighborhood of Amsterdam during Rembrandt's lifetime. Painters during this period portrayed individual black models from life, and in a number of cases they formed the main subject of the art work. This book explores the conditions that gave rise to these remarkable works of art and the reasons the public image of black people changed from about 1660 onward. It tells the stories of the Dutch artists who aimed to capture their multi-racial world, and the impact of transatlantic slavery.

Written by Elmer Kolfin and Epco Runia
136 pages
Published by W Books, 2020
9.3 x 11 inches