Off the Shelf: Bruce Boucher

November 30, 2011

Bruce Boucher, director of the U.Va. Art Museum and adjunct professor of Italian Renaissance and Baroque sculpture and architecture in the McIntire Department of Art, contributor, "The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III: From the 'Age of Discovery' to the Age of Abolition, Part 3: the Eighteenth Century." Harvard University Press.

November 29, 2011 — Boucher and co-authors David Bindman and Helen Weston contributed the first two chapters of this volume, "The Theater of Court and Church: Blacks as Figures of Fantasy" and "Between Court and City: Fantasies in Transition." The volume is part of a series edited by David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art over nearly 5,000 years. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector's items.

A half-century later, Harvard University Press and Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research is publishing new editions of the original four volumes and two additional ones.

"The Eighteenth Century" features a particularly rich collection of images of Africans representing slavery's apogee and the beginnings of abolition. Old visual tropes of a master with adoring black slave gave way to depictions of Africans as victims and individuals, while at the same time the intellectual foundations of scientific racism were established.

 

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