European Perceptions of Blackness as Reflected in the Visual Arts
Joaneath Spicer, in his ‘European Perceptions of Blackness as Reflected in the Visual Arts’ piece of work, takes a keen look at blackness as complexion and form of identity through the standpoint of visual arts during the Renaissance period. This was considered a cultural, political, economic, and artistic rebirth in Europe from the 14th century to the 17th century. The essay discusses the different attitudes to skin color (present-day race) and how it changed over time. The color was used to describe Africans’ otherness’.
The author records how many notable figures from the past explain why Africans were black, from those based their arguments on climate, religion, and genetics. All this was due to Europeans trying to understand why Africans had a different complexion and other notable aesthetic features such as thick lips, rounded noses, and curly hair. He further states how this ‘otherness’ impacted how Africans were socially treated or valued and how this changed with time.