Black Women in Europe

The Black is Beautiful exhibit at Amsterdam’s De Nieuwe

In the summer of 2008 the Nieuwe Kerk will present a journey of discovery though the history of art. For the first time the attractiveness of the black person in the art of the Low Countries will receive attention. Many great masters turn out to have portrayed black people. The fascination with them will be illustrated in about 135 paintings, drawings and manuscripts from collections here and abroad. Black is beautiful presents a remarkable oil study by Rubens, an intimate drawing and etching by Rembrandt, paintings by Jordaens, Mostaert, Breitner, Jan Sluijters, Karl Appel and Marlene Dumas, and beautifully illustrated manuscripts from the late Middle Ages such as the famous Van Maerlant manuscript.

Together these works give an idea of the changing role of black people in Dutch art and culture. They show that for seven centuries black people have been part of Dutch art and history, in which they play an ever more important role. Striking images and new insights take us from the year 1300, via the great masters of the seventeenth century, to contemporary art. Iris Kensmil has made twelve memorial paintings especially for this exhibition; they pay homage to her predecessors in black emancipation. They will be temporarily added to the architecture of the imposing Nieuwe Kerk.

The exhibition is divided into three main sections: the Old World, the New World and the Modern World. These sections are further divided into subjects such as The black king, Strong men, Strong women, Africa and the Africans, (South) America and the slaves and Portraits.

For the first time Black is Beautiful presents a broad and coherent view of the beauty of black people in seven centuries of art in the Low Countries. The exhibition, which fills a gap in the study of Dutch art, is the result of years of research by guest curator Esther Schreuder and has been realised by the Nieuwe Kerk thanks to contributions from the VSBfonds, the Mondriaan Stichting and the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunsten. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with international contributions in a Dutch an English edition which was made possible by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

A 50-minute documentary about the exhibition will be shown on television. In October a broad programme of activities surrounding the subject of the exhibition will be organised.

For more information and visual material:

The Nieuwe Kerk
Communication & Education Dept.
Noepy Testa & Charlotte Oster
T 020 626 81 68
F 020 622 66 49
E pressoffice@nieuwekerk.nl
I www.nieuwekerk.nl/press

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6 Comments

  1. This is the place to be in Amsterdam. I was astonished by all these artworks and the scenography put in place by Niewe Kerk Art Director. Don’t miss it: this is a rare opportunity to see black people celebrated in a positive way. I recommend to buy the exhibition catalogue too to deepen the visit informations.
    Sandrine.

  2. admin says:

    I saw this exhibit on Tuesday and will make a post sharing my photos. I purchased the guidebook, a table top piece, and highy recommend that everyone see this exhibit! It is truly excellent.

    I will go back to the website to see if this exhibit will tour as I would like to see it again.

    And if you purchase the Iamsterdam card the exhibit is free!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. says:

    I was at the Nieuwe Kerk just a couple of weeks ago and managed to snap some photos with its “Black is beautiful” banners still up. If you'd like the photo to go with this post, let me know and i'll be more than happy to provide you with it.

    Although i never went inside the Nieuwe Kerk, i did notice that alot of others seemed really interested in it. After reading you r post, i kind of wish i had visited the exhibition.

  4. Dan, you should have gone into the exhibit! Take a look at the photos I was able to get:
    http://blog.blackwomenineurope.com/2008/08/19/m

  5. says:

    I was at the Nieuwe Kerk just a couple of weeks ago and managed to snap some photos with its “Black is beautiful” banners still up. If you'd like the photo to go with this post, let me know and i'll be more than happy to provide you with it.

    Although i never went inside the Nieuwe Kerk, i did notice that alot of others seemed really interested in it. After reading you r post, i kind of wish i had visited the exhibition.

  6. Dan, you should have gone into the exhibit! Take a look at the photos I was able to get:
    http://blog.blackwomenineurope.com/2008/08/19/m

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