The Image of the Black in Western Art

In the 1960s, as a response to segregation in the United States, the influential art patron Dominique de Menil began a research project and photo archive called The Image of the Black in Western Art. Now, fifty years later, as the first American president of African American descent serves his historic term in office, her mission has been re-invigorated through the collaboration of Harvard University Press and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research to present new editions of the coveted five original books, as well as an additional five volumes.

Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.

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1.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume I: From the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Roman Empire: New Edition

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume I: From the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Roman Empire: New Edition

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

The new edition of From the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Roman Empire offers a comprehensive look at the fascinating and controversial subject of the representation of black people in the ancient world. Classic essays by distinguished scholars are aptly contextualized by Jeremy Tanner’s new introduction, which guides the reader through enormous changes in the field in the wake of the “Black Athena” story.

2.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume II: From the Early Christian Era to the

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume II: From the Early Christian Era to the "Age of Discovery", Part 1: From the Demonic Threat to the Incarnation of Sainthood: New Edition

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

From the Demonic Threat to the Incarnation of Sainthood, written largely by noted French scholar Jean Devisse, has established itself as a classic in the field of medieval art. It surveys as never before the presence of black people, mainly mythical, in art from the early Christian era to the fourteenth century. The extraordinary transformation of Saint Maurice into a black African saint, the subject of many noble and deeply touching images, is a highlight of this volume. The new introduction by Paul Kaplan provides a fresh perspective on the image of the black in medieval European art and contextualizes the classic essays on the subject.

3.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume II: From the Early Christian Era to the

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume II: From the Early Christian Era to the "Age of Discovery", Part 2: Africans in the Christian Ordinance of the World: New Edition

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

Africans in the Christian Ordinance of the World, written by a small team of French scholars, has established itself as a classic in the field of medieval art. The most striking development in this period was the gradual emergence of the black Magus, invariably a figure of great dignity, in the many representations of the Adoration of the Magi by the greatest masters of the time. The new introduction by Paul Kaplan provides a fresh perspective on the image of the black in medieval European art and contextualizes the classic essays on the subject.

4.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 1: Artists of the Renaissance and Baroque

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 1: Artists of the Renaissance and Baroque

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

The much-awaited Artists of the Renaissance and Baroque has been written by an international team of distinguished scholars, and covers the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The rise of slavery and the presence of black people in Europe irrevocably affected the works of the best artists of the time. Essays on the black Magus and the image of the black in Italy, Spain, and Britain, with detailed studies of Rembrandt and Heliodorus’s Aethiopica, all presented with superb color plates, make this new volume a worthy addition to this classic series.

5.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 2: Europe and the World Beyond

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 2: Europe and the World Beyond

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

Europe and the World Beyond focuses geographically on peoples of South America and the Mediterranean as well as Africa, but conceptually it emphasizes the ways that visual constructions of blacks mediated between Europe and a faraway African continent that was impinging ever more closely on daily life in cities and ports engaged in the slave trade.

6.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 3: The Eighteenth Century

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III: From the “Age of Discovery” to the Age of Abolition, Part 3: The Eighteenth Century

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

The Eighteenth Century features a rich collection of images of Africans representing slavery’s apogee and the beginnings of abolition. Old visual tropes of a master with adoring black slave gave way to depictions of Africans as victims and individuals, while at the same time the intellectual foundations of scientific racism were established.

7.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume IV: From the American Revolution to World War I, Part 1: Slaves and Liberators: New Edition

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume IV: From the American Revolution to World War I, Part 1: Slaves and Liberators: New Edition

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

Slaves and Liberators looks at the political implications of the representation of Africans, from the morality of slavery, through abolitionism, to European imperialism in Africa. Popular imagery and great works, like Turner’s Slave Ship, cast light on widely differing European responses to Africans and their descendants.

8.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume IV: From the American Revolution to World War I, Part 2: Black Models and White Myths: New Edition

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume IV: From the American Revolution to World War I, Part 2: Black Models and White Myths: New Edition

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

Black Models and White Myths examines the racial assumptions behind representations of Africans that emphasized the contrast between “civilization” and “savagery” and the development of so-called scientific and ethnographic racism. These works often depicted Africans’ allegedly natural behavior as a counterpoint to inhibited European conduct.

9.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The Twentieth Century, Part 1: The Impact of Africa

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The Twentieth Century, Part 1: The Impact of Africa

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

The Impact of Africa looks at changes in Western perspectives on African art and representations of Africans, and their paradoxical interpretation as both primitive and modern. Topics include photography, African influences on Picasso and Josephine Baker, and the contribution of artists from the Caribbean and Latin American diasporas.

10.Cover: The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The Twentieth Century, Part 2: The Rise of Black Artists

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The Twentieth Century, Part 2: The Rise of Black Artists

Bindman, David
Gates, Henry Louis

The last volume in The Image of the Black in Western Art marks a shift by focusing on representation of blacks by black artists in the West. It takes on migration in the U.S and globalization, Négritude and cultural hybridity, black artists’ relationship with European traditions and experimentation, as well as photography, jazz and activism.

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