On Being Present: Recovering Blackness in the Uffizi Galleries

Detail from Justus Suttermans, Madonna Domenica delle Cascine, la Cecca di Pratolino e Pietro moro, c. 1634. Oil on canvas.

Image courtesy of the Uffizi Galleries.

On Being Present, a new virtual exhibition from the Uffizi Galleries, highlights the presence of Black figures in its momentous collection of 15th-17th century European art. The virtual show re-contextualizes depictions of Blackness that appear in the work of influential artists such as Vittore Carpaccio, Albrecht Dürer, Piero di Cosimo, among others. The project was carried out and curated by Justin Randolph Thompson, in collaboration with the Department of Digital Strategies and the Department of Cultural Mediation and Accessibility of the Uffizi Galleries.

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“There is no healing presence when the wounded past is erased from our cultural memory and archive. The void this erasure produces fills empty gestures with violence rather than the possibilities of relation.” - Nana Adusei-Poku