WBUR: "Were Those Black 'Servants' In Dutch Old Master Paintings Actually Slaves?"

“Slavery was technically illegal in the Netherlands at this time, as it was throughout Europe, but the situation was still porous,” explains Sheldon Cheek, assistant director of the Image of the Black Archive & Library at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center. “Often, Africans would be brought into the Netherlands by means of the Dutch slave trade, presented as ‘gifts’ to the wealthy.”

You are here