Runic Stone: Crucified Christ in Interlace
Denmark (c. 940 A. D.)
Made for Harald Bluetooth:
"King Harald bade these memorials to be made after Gorm, his father, and Thyra, his mother. The Harald who won the whole of Denmark and Norway and turned the Danes to Christianity."
Denmark, East Jutland, Jelling
ArtSTOR/[x] [x] [x] [x]
It’s also interesting in a historical context as this was during a time when the Vikings were expanding and had a great deal of contact with peoples on other continents-which is how Harald Bluetooth ended up a Christian in the first place.
In fact, the only 100% confirmed pre-Columbian Viking Settlement in the Americas at L’Anse aux Meadows dates only 50 or so years later.
This Norsified version of Christ resembles Byzantine and Coptic Christian images moreso than those from other parts of the world.
But at this time, Jesus was more or less consistently depicted as a person of color regardless of where the art was made. Christs from Belgium were looking like this:
Lobbes Bible ms. 1 fol. 6 Genesis Initial (1064)
Psalter (fragment). whole page, Folio #: fol. 085r. (1025)
Christ in Majesty with symbols of the Evangelists, illumination from a Castilian Moralia in Job, fol. 2 (945)
Munster: St. Johann Int.: nave fresco: Scenes of the Life of Christ: det.: Christ and the children (800)
alright, lets address this nonsense in a little bit further detail, because i’m bored. anyone can see that these shitty little photos are terrible examples. the fact that this girl (surely not male) started off the post with a st. lukecaptioned, “Christs from Belgium were looking like this” should be enough to let everyone know she has no idea what she’s doing, and clearly just looks through old paintings until she finds something that might vaguely resemble a “person of color” (for her, anyone who isn’t obviously ivory-complected) and then bases outrageous and unfounded claims on them. she found 4 images from medieval europe which looked kinda sorta non-white to her, and so decided that “at this time, Jesus was more or less consistently depicted as a person of color regardless of where the art was made”. uh.
anyone who knows jack shit about medieval christian art should instantly know that that “belgian christ” is one of the evangelists. when has christ ever been depicted holding a pen? a look at the fuller image shows that he is inside an L initial. here is a christ from the same bible (which is actually the stavelot, not the lobbes), looking very white indeed.
that obscure psalter fragment and spanish illumination should be suspicious to anyone not completely blinded by his political agenda. the colors have obviously faded and changed a lot over the years. that’s what happens sometimes with medieval pigments over the course of a thousand years. they wash out and darken.
i didn’t do any research on the english psalter, but just from looking at the image you can see that particular pigment used for the skin was used quite a lot, and has over the years turned into a dull and unflattering greyish brown. it was probably originally a much bronzer hue. also consider st. joseph’s reddish hair. also, what the fuck,
11th centuryany century english art never depicted the holy family as black, what the fuck is wrong with you?
take a closer look at the spanish one. this one makes the pigment discoloration effectvery clear. look at st. matthew’s face in the lower left. do you think he has vitiligo? wait, they all have it, don’t they? yes, that’s probably it. the artist, whilst illuminating christ in majesty, decided to take the opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of pocs suffering from loss of skin pigmentation. if you’re still trying to figure out a way to make this particular jesus a poc, just look up the mozarabic style, of which this illumination is an example. what do you know, everyone looks about how you would expect an arabized iberian art style to depict them. that is, not black. but of course, the art style is so shitty and unrealistic anyway, it is pretty damn dumb to try and base your speculations of what people looked like back then on it.
and the german christ. i don’t even need to say anything about that one. just look at the rest of the art in the st. johann, or any other german art from the era, holy fucking shit
Alright, class! Let’s go over what we’ve learned from this post, which totally debunks everything I’ve ever said, all of my sources, ArtSTOR, JSTOR, most academic databases, and most scholarship in the field from the last ten to fifteen years.
1. I am a “girl”, who is surely not male, and therefore I have no idea what I’m doing.
2. I base my “assumptions” about who is and isn’t a person of color…on skin color. What the flip is wrong with my girlish and extremely feminine confusion. It must be the “hysteria” taking hold of my ditzy girlish brains. Gender nonwithstanding. Please note also that I am a “girl”, which is not to be confused with a “woman”, who also is “Surely not male”.
3. You can learn more about Belgian Art from the same blog you’re reading right now in order to argue any claims I make.
4. Any images that seem to be of brown-skinned people are due to age and pigments and other science that silly girls don’t know about. U R GIRL U DUN KNOW SCIENCES!!!!
5. Any English Psalters that seem to be of brown people are not actually English or do not exist because there were no brown-skinned people in English art, and we know this because any evidence of brown-skinned people in English art doesn’t exist! Circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works because circular reasoning….
6. Everyone knows that “Arabized” art style is that art style and art style not Black look like people not Black art people look like people of color!
7. Everyone knows Iberian art style brown people thing is brown people art style!
8. Everyone know that German Art style is art style German all brown people look like want do far as anyone could look as want to do more look like!!!!!
P.S. If anyone would like to know more about English Psalters that depict the holy family with brown skin, I hope you have access to ArtSTOR!
The wannabe debunker’s also completely talking out their butt about which pigments oxidize to turn brown.
As someone who as actually seen in person some very old manuscripts, maps, books et cetera…generally the colours used on light-skinned people’s faces were something like yellow ochre, sienna—stuff that doesn’t oxidize or discolour in the way our little wannabe likes to claim they ~just totally like aaaalllways doooo~. There ARE some pigments that do—certain oranges, for example—but it’s very apparent when they have. They turn a really spectacular brownish-greenish-greyish-purple. This is because they’re derived from/include cinnabar, which is derived from mercury. In all the stuff I’ve handled, that orange isn’t often used on people. It was KNOWN FOR A VERY LONGASS TIME that vermilion and cinnabar could do this. From yon Wikipedia: “The Renaissance painter and writer Cennino Cennini wrote of vermilion: “Bear in mind that it is not in its nature to be exposed to the air, but it stands up better on panel than on the wall; because, in the course of time, from exposure to air, it turns black when it is used and laid on the wall.” (their footnote source here is Cennino Cennini, The Craftsman’s Hanbook “Il Libro dell’Arte”, Translated by Daniel V. Thompson Jr. (1954), Dover Publications. p. 24.)”
As well, if our sceptic would scope out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminated_manuscripts#Paints they would see that their claims don’t hold up with regard to chemistry in any respect here.
Things don’t just turn ~dull and unflattering greyish brown teehee lookit me i’m a racist~, THEY TURN (I repeat) WEIRDLY PURPLE AND GREY AND BROWNISH-GREEN and people who actually have experience handling such works as use these pigments know when this has happened. Because they NEED TO. Why? Well, when certain pigments start to oxidize, they can EAT RIGHT THROUGH PAPER AND VELLUM AND PARCHMENT.
I am a nubsauce when it comes to restoration work, and even I know this. it is one of the first things I was told about, because if I’m handling something that’s been coloured with a particular green or blue, I need to be aware that the areas coloured are liable to be way more fragile. As an example, I once handled a map in which ITALY HAD FALLEN RIGHT OUT OF THE DAMN PAPER. BECAUSE IT WAS GREEN. AND THE BLACK INK HAPPENED ALSO TO BE INCLINED TO OXIDIZE, AND YEAH. CHEMISTRY HAPPENED AND ITALY TURNED BROWN AND FELL OUT.The map then had to be sent to another restorer, repaired and mounted on linen to be sure it would stay in one piece while I worked with it, and we wouldn’t randomly have Portugal or Hungary following Italy’s lead and taking a giant nosedive, since they were also green(ish brown).
anyway tl;dr yes cinnabar and vermilion turn funky colours but it’s obvious when they do, and either way from what I have personally seen they weren’t often used on the faces of figures. Generally, the pigment that IS used is something that’s been mixed with white—maybe rust, maybe burnt sienna with a little ochre, i’ll have to check with my employer—and thus it tends to go chalky. Often because the white IS chalk. (If it isn’t it’s white lead. Wheeeee. Did I mention that a lot of this stuff is poisonous? Because it is. So I can’t do one-for-one pigment restoration because I cannot get these pigments at all. Not from a regular supplier like DeSerres or Curry’s at any rate. Yay, mercury derived pigments.)
Medieval illuminators weren’t ignorant yokels. They knew what their paints could and would do over time. Books were made to last because books were a luxury item. They were expensive. They took skilled labour to make. Books would be kept, and so the people who made them and kept them would know what happened to pigments over time. (In the cases where THE GREEN FROM HELL was used, it was likely a case of “this will eventually turn weird colours, but it’ll look good until it does, and we can always fix it when Italy falls out lol”. This was a specialized profession, these guys (and a few ladies) were taught and apprenticed and etc. and they did know their way around basic chemistry because alchemy was a thing and yeah you get my point.)
So yeah the debunker wanna be hasn’t got a damn leg to stand on and while medievalpoc’s awesome proprietor has already hammered them into the dirt, I felt the need to stomp around on top of said dirt for a while because it annoys me when people spout off total lies and proclaim their racism to be good ol’ proper science.
Sorry, jerk, your ~science~ doesn’t even check out. Piss off.
-Your friendly neighbourhood nubsauce resto-nerd