Friday, 12 September 2008
The Conclusion - ‘not one of us’
To conclude, this investigation set out to answer three questions: what was work’s function; how did its image reach England; how was that image viewed? On one level there are quite straight forward answers. The work was part of a Devon roodscreen as seen by comparisons with extant roodscreens. The movement of the image of the black Magus across Renaissance Europe is best explained by Burke’s ‘communicative events’ idea witnessed in twelfth century Holy Roman Empire’s encounter with Islamic Spain, and the Empire’s subsequent cultural, economic and artistic encounters between Germany, the Netherlands and England. The Adoration image spoke of the relationship between Church and State, Christ and Gentiles. There is however a fundamental paradox here as the only blacks known at the time were stereotypically slaves yet here was the image of a flamboyant, fashionably dressed black Magus/King at the physical and spiritual heart of the church, the epicentre of village life. Perhaps this image was how a definition of whiteness crystallised in Renaissance Europe as white Europe defined itself in terms of a white civilised Aristotelian taxonomy in direct contrast to the black barbarian , who even as king the black was different, exotic, ‘other’ – ‘not one of us’.
Posted by Paulo Veronese at 01:18