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Black Court Jester
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Black Court Jester


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Probably conceived for a collector associated with the court of the Medici family in Florence, where the artist was employed, this statuette is, for this period, an unusual tribute to athletic grace and physical power in a black man. The impact of his physique is muted by the traditional loose-fitting body suit and hood of the court jester–the court entertainer, black or white, enslaved or free, who amused the court, usually with acrobatic prowess or humor. However, this man is hardly in a "jesting" mood; his facial expression and hand on his head suggest a deep hurt. Previously to its acquisition by the Walters, the statuette was not recognized as representing a black man.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
9/12/2012ExaminationExamined for Exhibition
Exhibitions
  • Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton. 2012-2013.
Provenance Abbot Guggenheim Collection, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sale, Sotheby's, New York, January 27, 2011, lot 450; Walters Art Museum, January 27, 2011, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase, Renaissance & Baroque Fund, a generous grant, and individual donations through the Banner, Lewis, Tanner Circle, 2011

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Period
1600-1610
Medium
bronze, golden patina under a reddish-brown lacquer, later wood base
(Metal)
Accession Number
54.3083
Measurements
H of jester: 7 1/16 x W: 2 13/16 x D: 1 3/4 in. (17.9 x 7.1 x 4.5 cm) H with tang: 7 13/16 in. (19.9 cm)
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