‘Figures of Empire’
Figures of Empire is an exhibition of portraits from eighteenth-century Britain, which draws attention to figures such as such servants or slaves, who were rarely painted as subjects in their own right. The exhibition explores the histories of these figures in an age of British imperialism and transatlantic slavery. On an interactive site that accompanies the exhibition, scholars and curators have recorded audio of commentaries on some of the works on display. In his striking commentary on William Hogarth’s Portrait of a Family, Mark Aronson remarks on “a small figure with brown hands and dressed in green and red livery holds out a silver tray, on which rests an overturned teacup” in the far-left of the composition. An unusual feature of the exhibition is that many of the paintings are presented with new titles that describe all of the figures depicted in them.
For more information, visit britishart.yale.edu.
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