I’ve had the worst block ever, but I figured out that I’ve just gotta push through. With that I bring you my latest piece fresh out the oven.
I had this idea a while back about how cool it would be if there were a black Snow White. In the original fairy tale, her beauty is attributed to the strong contrast in her white skin against her black hair and eyes, so I thought hmm… What if it was her snowy hair and eyes that contrasted against her dark skin? I referenced a few things for this painting, I’m happy with the turnout, hope you guys are too.
1) Gentleman with Negro Attendant by Ralph Earl, 1785-88. New Britain Museum of American Art.
2) Jaavon with Unknown Gentleman by Titus Kaphar. New Britain Museum of American Art.
“Earl’s portrait depicts a large, well-dressed white man waited on by a young black boy. This kind of portrait – where a servant is portrayed only as a sign of the wealth of his master – was common in Colonial America. As Kaphar elaborates, ‘In the original painting, Gentleman with Negro Attendant the black child is stripped of all identity. He has no name, grotesquely articulated features and is bereft of human dignity. In Jaavon and the Unknown Gentleman, the black figure is replaced with a living and particular child – my young neighbor.’ In repainting Earl’s original work, Kaphar returns specificity to the figure of the black boy. The “gentleman”, however, becomes “unknown”, as Kaphar cuts holes in the canvas where the head and hands of the “gentleman” were once rendered. By changing the original title, Kaphar further shifts the underlying power structure in Earl’s portrait.”–NBMAA Blog