Panel Discussion: “Overburen: Rembrandt en zijn zwarte buren” [Neighbors across the Street: Rembrandt and His Black Neighbors]
Panelists: Mark Ponte and Jörgen Tjon A Fong
Sunday, January 20, 2019, 3 pm
Amsterdam City Archives, Vijzelstraat 32, 1017 HL Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.
At least twenty of Rembrandt’s drawings and paintings contain individuals of African descent. Around 1650 there was already a small black community in and around Amsterdam’s Jodenbree Street; some were servants, but most of them were free citizens. They can be seen in drawings, prints and paintings by various artists of the seventeenth century, the Dutch Golden Age. How did they end up there from Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean? How did they live? What traces can one find of them in marriage certificates, baptismal registers, and church and notarial archives?
Historian Mark Ponte (Amsterdam City Archives) conducted archival research to describe this community. Jörgen Tjon A Fong (stage group Urban Myth) has curated the photo exhibition “Hollandse meesters her-zien” [Dutch Masters Seen Anew] to give visibility to Dutch men and women of color from Amsterdam’s past.
Source (in Dutch): https://www.amsterdam.nl/stadsarchief/agenda/gesprek-20-januari
Read a brief introduction (in English) to Mark Ponte’s research here http://voetnoot.org/research and watch two videos (in Dutch) of the opening of “Dutch Masters Seen Anew” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw_XPfIPJAY and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA-JXCWm0S0.