siena marble


Studio of Francis Harwood (in Italy)

Portrait Bust of a Black Man

England, Italy (1758)

Black Stone and Yellow Siena Marble, 2 ft. 3 ½ in. x 1 ft. 7 ¾ in. x 10 ½ in.

Info via Getty Museum:

With noble bearing, this man proudly holds his chin high above his powerful chest. Sculptor Francis Harwood chose a black stone to reproduce the sitter’s skin tone. Harwood also chose an unusual antique format for the bust, terminating it in a wide arc below the man’s pectoral muscles. Harwood was familiar with antique sculptures from time spent in Florence reproducing and copying them. He may have deliberately used this elegant, rounded termination, which includes the entire, unclothed chest and shoulders, to evoke associations with ancient busts of notable men. Although the identity of the sitter is unknown, the scar on his face suggests that this is a portrait of a specific individual. This work may be one of the earliest sculpted portraits of a Black individual by a European.*

* I think we should all know by now that this is definitely untrue.

PDF with information for educators from the Getty Museum