This talk will address the only two extant oil portraits of enslaved women produced during the periods of emancipation in the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. By underscoring the conflictive political and ideological forces, affective dynamics, and aesthetic principles at work in their composition, it will focus on the conditions that made possible the visual configuration of black people as subjects of freedom and on its problematic re-articulation of the boundaries between the human and the animal.
Image Credit: Frédéric Bazille. Young Woman with Peonies, 1870. Oil on canvas, 23 5/8 x 29 1/2 in. Courtesy the National Gallery, Washington, DC