CIRCUS AFRICANUS: VIRGINIAN LUXURIES

 

Virginian Luxuries, unknown artist, circa 1810 – 1825.

“As if to mimic the tendency of most Americans, including the Founding Fathers, to say as little as possible about slavery, and either to deny or avoid discussing its brutality, the painting, Virginian Luxuries appears anonymously (undated and unsigned) on the back or unseen side of another painting.] This two-part picture is hidden on the back of another painting. Written in fairly large letters at the bottom of the painting is its title, Virginian Luxuries, suggesting the scene’s location as well as a critical perspective on slavery.”

Excerpted from Seeing Slavery: How Paintings Make Words Look Different, by Alex Bontemps.

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