Acquisition of portrait miniature brings new narratives to the Allen’s Gallery of European Art

Acquisition of portrait miniature brings new narratives to the Allen’s Gallery of European Art

The Allen Memorial Art Museum’s gallery of 17th- and 18th-century European art has been reimagined to reveal global stories of encounter and exchange. Central to the new installation is a significant acquisition: a portrait of the Ethiopian traveler Zaga Christ by the Italian artist Giovanna Garzoni. Made in 1635, when the two met at the court of the Duke of Savoy in Turin, Italy, Portrait of Zaga Christ is the earliest known European portrait miniature to depict a Black sitter. “At a time when most European images of Africans reverted to stereotypes, it is striking for its sympathetic and individualized portrayal,” says Assistant Curator of European and American Alexandra Letvin. She curated the installation Mobility and Exchange, 1600–1800, which is on view through August 14, 2022. “The acquisition of this important miniature expands the Allen’s ability to tell vital stories about race, gender, and cultural exchange in the early modern period,” said
The Allen Memorial Art Museum’s gallery of 17th- and 18th-century European art has been reimagined to reveal global stories of encounter and exchange. Central to the new installation is a significant acquisition: a portrait of the Ethiopian traveler Zaga Christ by the Italian artist Giovanna Garzoni. Made in 1635, when the two met at the court of the Duke of Savoy in Turin, Italy, Portrait of Zaga Christ is the earliest known European portrait miniature to depict a Black sitter. “At a time when most European images of Africans reverted to stereotypes, it is striking for its sympathetic and individualized portrayal,” says Assistant Curator of European and American Alexandra Letvin. She curated the installation Mobility and Exchange, 1600–1800, which is on view through August 14, 2022. “The acquisition of this important miniature expands the Allen’s ability to tell vital stories about race, gender, and cultural exchange in the early modern period,” said