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Noblewoman With Her Black Slave Analysis

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The Constructed Ecuadorian Society of Vicente Alban Vicente Alban’s Noblewoman with Her Black Slave (Sra. principal con su negra ensclava), currently on view in the Art of the Americas Building of LACMA, is an outstanding piece that attracts the viewer to observe the intricate details more closely. This 18th century painting, which hails from Ecuador, depicts racial types in a way that was common in depictions from Mexico but rarely seen outside of it. The subject matter being the connection of race and status of people in the New World, as a series of the paintings, Alban’s works are reminiscent of Mexican casta paintings. Noblewoman with Her Black Slave, while displaying the ethnic diversity of the New World, serves more as propaganda for the wealthy colonists who desired to characterize and maintain racial distinctions. The painting, with stereotypical depictions of certain objects and figures, remains more of a construct than a real manifestation of the social life and…show more content…
The contrast of the loose application of paint in the background to a more rigid foreground helps carry this illusion in the composition. The strategic arrangement of the figures also contributes to the breakdown of the social order. The fair-skinned woman is clearly placed in front; she occupies a larger space than her servant who’s placed behind her. This deliberate placement of figures substantiates the idea of racial hierarchy. We see a plate of inscription on the lower left corner of the painting that is elucidating the scene. There are several letters positioned near certain objects throughout the composition. The content of these objects are explained in text, which also supports the idea that the artist wishes the viewer to grasp a certain meaning from the work. These annotations aid the artist’s manifestation of the New World and an idealized social
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