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Eeckhout, Albert van der active 1637-1664

New Releases. Categories: Art History Styles. Description Visions of Savage Paradise is the first major book-length study of the Dutch artist Albert Eckhout to be published since This book, which draws extensively on the author's doctoral dissertation, examines the fascinating works of art produced by Eckhout while he was court painter in Dutch Brazil to the German count Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen. Johan Maurits, who was colonial governor from of the Dutch West India Company's Brazilian colony, supported the study and representation of natural history as part of a program to document the different peoples and natural resources present in the colony.

As part of this project, Eckhout created life-size paintings of Amerindians, Africans, and peoples of mixed -racial background for display in Vrijburg, the governor's palace. He also made still-life paintings and hundreds of chalk sketches and oil studies on paper of the -savage peoples, plants, and animals of his new Brazilian home.


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In this study, the author provides a careful analysis of these works of art, framing them with a discussion of contemporary artistic practices in the Dutch Republic. Nonetheless, the primary focus of this book is the function of these works within their original colonial context. As the author makes clear, the creation, use, and display of the Brazilian paintings and drawings by Albert Eckhout strengthened Johan Maurits's position as a colonial and cultural leader.

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This work will not only be of interest to students and scholars of seventeenth-century Dutch art, but it will also be an important resource for those interested in visual anthropology and the history of the WIC. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x It provides a thorough and imaginative study[-]of Albert Eckhout's Brazilian paintings and oil studies; it tackles[-]several important questions pertaining to colonial art and empire; and[-]it explores such rich topics as "scientific" illustration, ethnographic[-]representation, and colonial display.

The white pearl double ropes and red coral beads that curve around her neck expose her breasts. This image's emphasis on sexuality, fecundity, and prosperity is reinforced by her cornucopia -like basket, which overflows with tropical fruit.


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At the bottom of his feet are shells laid out with an elephant's tusk on the ground, curving out of the picture plane to the right. This man's only piece of clothing, similar to the image of the African woman, is a piece of a blue and white striped cloth wrapped around his waist. By the sixteenth century, the term mulatto , also referred as mulacken, was used in Portugal, Spain, and their colonial possessions to classify various people, often slaves and those of mixed racial background, on the basis of the color of their skin. In Eckhout's image of the mulatto man, you can see the man carrying weapons as he stands in a three-quarter pose facing the viewer.

Eckhout placed the man in a coastal setting against a cloudy grey sky with three European ships that are visible on the horizon.


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  • The man stands on the sandy ground, framed by a tall sugar cane field to the right and a large papaya tree to the left. His skin is a light brown color which is much lighter than Eckhout's paintings of indigenous Americans and Africans. The term mameluco is one that used very little in Brazil, but like mulatto, mameluco can be traced back to Portuguese sources in the sixteenth century, following their establishment of a colonial outpost in Brazil.

    The first representation of a mameluco is in de Bry's version of Hans Staden's description of Brazil.

    Albert Eckhout - Rebecca Parker Brienen

    In Eckhout's painting of the mameluca woman, he presents a half-Brazilian and half-European woman holding a basket. Eckhout's depiction shows a woman in a flowing white dress balancing a basket of flowers in one hand. Her other hand is lifting her dress to reveal a small portion of her leg. This painting has many aspects that were characteristics of Eckhout's other paintings from his time in Brazil. The two guinea pigs at the woman's feet show his interest in the natural life of Brazil.

    In addition, the flowers she is carrying and the plant life around her were Eckhout's way of representing the fertility of Brazil, drawing attention to the successful production of crops there. In the painting, the woman stands with a direct glance and a playful expression as she engages the viewer's eyes. The lips are slightly turned up at the ends assuming that she will soon break into a more fuller inviting smile. She is fully bejeweled, with necklace and matching earrings. The jewels are complemented by her small green hat, that is decorated with pearls and a sprig of orange tree blossoms.

    Her simple but yet, slightly rumpled, white dress is a wonderful companion to this finery, although its plainness is relieved on the shoulders by epaulettes of embroidery. This image of the mameluca refers to the fertility of the colony and even to the highly intoxicating cashew fruit wine that is made every year by the ethnic group of the mameluca mother, Tupinamba.

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    In , through a major restoration campaign, all of the well known paintings by Eckhout, have been allowed to travel back to Brazil. This is the first time they were exhibited in the country where they were made since the early s. The show was presented at the Instituto Ricardo Brennand in Recife , a building that had been newly erected in the city where Maurits lived during the height of his career.

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    Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Visions of Savage Paradise is the first major book-length study of seventeenth-century Dutch artist Albert Eckhout to be published in nearly seventy years.

    Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published May 15th by Amsterdam University Press. More Details Original Title.

    Visions of Savage Paradise: Albert Eckhout, Court Painter in Colonial Dutch Brazil, 1637-1644

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