Sunday, 25 August 2013

An English Black Magus That Never Made The Short List

The Adoration of the Magi, England, 1450-1500
Alabaster with paint and gilding
Victoria and Albert Museum no. A.39-1946

Of the several potential candidates from the V&A collection for my essay on the black Magus, back in 2008,  this one never even made the short list a number of reasons.

It was certainly in the running as it  within the course time line c.1420-1520, the piece finally I picked only just made it at c1520. But vitally this Black Magus wore no earring, which at the time I was first considering works to write about the earring was an essential attribute for the piece to make it  to my short list. The second was he didn’t look black, his features were far too European.

Detail - The Black Magus 
The Adoration of the Magi, England, 1450-1500

Lastly, I just didn’t like the piece, it lacked aesthetic appeal to me. And to spend four months studying and 4,500 words writing  on something I didn't like was not a consideration. Now with the hindsight of five years of study of the Black Magus I’m going back to V&A to look at this piece again.

I’m booking an appointment to see it,  hopefully sometime in October so, I can report my findings as 'breaking news' as part of Image & Reality Black Africans in Renaissance England 2013 my contribution along with Dr Miranda Kaufmann for Black History Month 2013!

No comments: