Highlights

Unknown Dutch artist (active c. 1627-47), Pedro Sunda, a Servant of Don Miguel de Castro, c. 1643

Unknown Dutch artist, Pedro Sunda,  a Servant of Don Miguel de Castro, c. 1643. Oil on wood. 75 x 62 cm. KMS8. 
Download the image in high resolution |Public Domain

Unusually, this painting shows its African figure dressed in European clothes, placing him on a par with the European colonial powers. He looks back over his shoulder as if communicating with someone outside the picture. An inscription on the back informs us that this is a portrait of Pedro Sunda, servant of Don Miguel de Castro, envoy in Congo.

Rare portraits
Portraits of named servants from Africa are rare in art history. Pedro Sunda was part of a delegation that set forth to resolve a territorial dispute in their home country. The delegation initially travelled to Dutch Brazil and then to the Netherlands in search of allies. The precious elephant tusk may have been one of the presents brought by the delegation. Tusks were costly and rare collectibles that any prince would love to display in his cabinet of curiosities.

Updated: 7.nov.2017
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