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Afro-Hispanic Painter Juan de Pareja

November 5, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EST

The Baton Foundation will host a lecture about the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit, Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter (April 3 – July 16, 2023). This program is free to the public, but registration is required.

About the Program

Dr. David Pullins, associate curator in the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (pictured above), will talk about the exhibition he recently co-curated at the museum, Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter. The research inspired by this groundbreaking exhibit has offered an unprecedented look at the life and artistic achievements of Juan de Pareja (ca. 1608–1670). Largely known today as the subject of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s iconic portrait by Diego Velázquez (pictured above), Pareja was enslaved in Velázquez’s studio for more than two decades before becoming an artist in his own right. The exhibition was the first to tell his story and examine the ways in which enslaved artisanal labor and a multiracial society are inextricably linked with the art and material culture of Spain’s so-called Golden Age. The exhibit brought together approximately 40 paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts objects, as well as an array of books and historic documents from The Met’s holdings and other collections in the United States and Europe.

Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Met., said, “This exhibition takes us to the very heart of 17th-century Spanish painting to reveal Juan de Pareja’s incredible personal story. By reexamining the narrative around one of the most celebrated works in the history of western portraiture, the presentation challenges us to question existing notions about historical art and objects—and introduces a remarkable artist whose name may be familiar to many but whose work had not been explored in depth.”

About Juan de Pareja

Juan de Pareja was born around 1608 in Antequera, Spain–probably to an enslaved woman of African descent and a white Spaniard. Although no known documents from Pareja’s lifetime speculate on his family origins or skin color, ample evidence from seventeenth-century Spain provides the context of a highly multiracial society in which enslaved labor was widespread. Pareja is first mentioned in Madrid in 1634 as part of the circle of artist Diego Velázquez, who was then establishing himself as the foremost painter at the Spanish court. Between 1649 and 1650, the pair traveled to Italy, where Velázquez painted Pareja’s portrait and signed legal papers releasing him from slavery. Once back in Madrid, Pareja built a successful career as an independent artist.

Register Here for Zoom Lecture


November 5, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EST
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