CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Out of the shadow and into the light

4 June 2021

Out of the shadow and into the light

Online event: 4 June 2021

Elmer Kolfin presents “Out of the shadow and into the light: Black figures in the art of Rembrandt’s time” for the 2021 Isabel and Alfred Bader Lecture in European Art organized by the Agnes Etherington Centre of Art at Queen’s University in Kingston.

Online, Friday 4 June, 1–2:30 pm (EST)
Sign up for this free lecture
ASL interpretation and live captioning available.

All major Dutch collections have paintings representing Black figures and the Bader Collection at Agnes Etherington Art Centre is no exception. For a long time, Black presence in Dutch seventeenth-century art went unaccounted for and scholarship around this was thus absent in academic texts and museum exhibitions. However, research of the past thirty years has drawn increased attention to the ubiquitous presence and varying roles of Black figures in Dutch art as well as Dutch art’s entangled relationship to colonialism and class. In this lecture, Dr Elmer Kolfin examines why Black figures recur so frequently in Dutch art, and whether and why Rembrandt’s approach differed from that of his contemporaries.

Elmer Kolfin teaches art history at the University of Amsterdam. He has published widely on Dutch art of the seventeenth century and has a special interest in images of Black figures. He recently co-curated the acclaimed exhibition Black in Rembrandt’s Time at the Rembrandt House Museum (Amsterdam 2020).