Relevant categories: Bronzes,Architectural,Curios,Fountains and Garden
Blackamoors often appear in the form of paintings or carvings of highly stylized African males or non-European races. In these paintings or sculptures, the African males were presented in an exotic or subservient form. In addition to drawings and sculpture, these figures appeared in decorative art, jewelry, and furniture.
The term “moor” is thought to have originated in the Iberian Peninsula even though the original word must have been “moro”. In Portuguese, the word is “mouro”. Blackamoors were created as part of antique Venetian art. They can be spotted on brooches, cuff links, bracelets, and earrings. Today, the craft of making these pieces of art persists. It is not just an art style but an attempt to depict people with dark skins as decorative and exotic.
Typically, blackamoors were male Africans with head coverings, mostly a turban and an adornment of gold leaf and rich jewelry. In addition to being enameled, they are painted black or carved out of ebony to create a contrast with the bright embellishments. Sometimes, all there is to a blackamoor is the head. Other times, it is a head and shoulders. Always, the figure faces the beholder with a symmetrical pose.
When used to make decorative sculpture, the entire body is presented. In that case, the blackamoors are made to hold bronze sconces full of light fixtures or trays as servants to a master. Some of these sculptures are incorporated into andirons, tables or small stands. Most of the time, blackamoors are depicted in pairs. Some are made to stand in acrobatic positions that a real human being will not be able to pull off for long.
Blackamoors and Diamonds
To continue with the Venetian tradition of art, blackamoors continue to be sold in Venice’s best jewelry shops. However, critics have labeled this form of art as a sign of blatant racism. But the people of Venice have always produced this form of art. Whether it is on door handles or knockers, the city is full of expression of such art.
Besides making jewelry, blackamoors also featured as full-blown sculptures, some of which were kept in palaces. Even though very common in the city of Venice, these sculptures also featured in the Swedish Ulriksdal Palace. In Venice, they are a constant feature in hotels and other public places.
Blackamoors as Furniture
One of the ways that blackamoors were depicted by the Venetians was as an integral part of their furniture. Mostly, they were represented in traditional clothing or nude, handsome figurines. To bring out their blackness, they were carved from ebony wood. Furniture featuring these figurines were mostly made for European nobles. Some were carved out of armchairs, tables, and gueridons. Others are part and parcel of candelabras. Some were made to hold China vases or shown as helmeted warriors with weapons and a sacrificial animal dead on the ground.
These blackamoors hardly have threatening faces. They are mostly immobile or with smiling faces. Some are young, gentle, and mostly effeminate. In some cases, the figurines are chained, perhaps an indication that they were nothing but servants. While that might have been true, the figurines on Venetian furniture are mostly depicted as elegant, athletic, and with a sharp intellect.
One of the most well-known blackamoors is that of Lazzaro Zen. He came to Italy from Guinea as a slave only to be sent to the Catechumenical Institute to become a Christian. That was possible because Lazzaro was under the protection of Renier Zen a patrician. In 1770, Lazzaro was baptized and on the very day portrayed by Francesco Guardi. Renier had adopted the young moor and renamed him after one of his dead sons, Lazzaro. The portrait is immortalized in the Venetian Contirini Spiral Staircase Museum.
Bronze Blackamoor Statues - XL...
Marble Bust African Moor Statu...
Pair Italian Venetian Blackamo...
Are you looking for great gatekeeper statues for your garden?...
Are you looking to buy a piece of furniture designed and made by Thomas Chippendale?...
"Queen Anne" is one of the most significant furniture styles of the 18th century...