Based on the painting’s signature, which reads “J. Schul...fec” we have now identified the artist as Jeremias Schultz. Schultz was born in 1722 or 23, perhaps in Berlin, and he built a successful career as a painter in Amsterdam, where he died in 1800. Schultz painted portraits of residents of Amsterdam and the nearby city of Deventer, leading us to believe that the subject of our painting lived in the capital city of a vast global network of trade and exchange.
While we still do not know the name of the painting’s subject, we are learning more through our collaborative research. Stay tuned for more updates on our ongoing project.
Very few portraits of people of colour by European artists survive from this period. In our collection, Black subjects appear in several paintings, where they are cast in positions of servitude and enslavement. Four examples appear below.