The Agrippine Sibyl
Netherlands (c. 1575)
Düsseldorf, Kunst Palast
Does anyone know the history/story behind this painting? Is it religious, classical, a portrait?
All I know is that Sibyls are female holy people…I believe there’s a “set” of Sibyls that are wise women that I thiiiiink represent certain religious/spiritual/moral aspects. Honestly, I know little about what this painting is but from my art history studies, this is what I can say:
1. This MAY be a portrait. Sometimes, people were painted as religious figures - this was not unusual for this period and location.
2. SYMBOLISM is highly important in this region and time (as it is in many others) - crown of thorns is visible, dressed in fineries, the scroll, the rod (which might also be a pen?) - all of these can be linked to the Christian religion.
3. After a Google Search, the text on the scroll “siccabitur ut(?) folium” means “wither as leaf” - I am sorry, I don’t know what this is referring to.
Unfortunately, I have always had a little trouble picking out Christian symbolism. This is what I can poop out for now!
The Sibyls were legendary prophetesses who were said to have foretold to the Gentiles,as the prophets has foretold them to the Jews, various aspects of the Advent and Sojourn upon earth of the Messiah. They were twelve in number: the Persian Sibyl, the Libyan, the Delvic, the Erithrean, the Cumean, the Samean, the Cimmerian, the Tiburtine, the Hellespontine, the Phrygian, the European, and the Agrippine.
The majority of the Sibyls were said to have pagan roots, and as is obvious from the list, only one is mentioned to have hailed from Europe, so we can assume these were almost all women of color.
As for the woman in this painting, it is very likely she was a woman hired by Janssens to sit for the portrait, on account of her beauty and regal bearing. During this era of Netherlandish painting, commissioned paintings of Black people in lavish dress and jewelry were common, since much of the arts were funded by wealthy patrons who were very invested in international trade. The Adoration was also a very popular contemporaneous choice of subject, as depictions of incredibly wealthy traders with dark skin were often showcased to foster goodwill with traders from afar.
Forty mug cakes later, you admit that you did in fact need a bucket cake.
Where I felt most conflicted. I definitely ended up in my feelings a little when getting to this aspect of the ‘Mamie Sphinx.’ Watching as non-people of color, gawked and giggled at this bodacious tribute to the mythical caricature of the black woman. Anyone else who saw it, I’d love to talk in-depth about your experience at some point. #karawalkerdomino #dominosugarfactorybk