A Slave Sale

Artist: José Jímenez Aranda (1837-1903)
Title: A Slave Sale/ Une esclave en vente
Signed on lower right
Medium: Oil on Canvas/ huile sur toile
Size: 100x82 cm
Spanish Orientalist

This image was provided by my Spanish artist friend Alejandro Cabeza. Please make sure to check out his beautiful paintings as well.

This painting touches me on different emotional levels. I do not like the degrading pose of this female, surrounded by not men, but men's shoes.

Yet, just because of this vantage point of us looking down on the slave girl, she is being stripped of any statues she might have. Naked women being usually stared at, she is being looked down on, as if she has the status of a mere street dog.

The artist is thus presenting us with a vantage point that is very poignant and powerful. Of course his handling of her posture is superb and even though I am shocked by the image, I am also in awe at the powerful presentation the artist has chosen.

There is another rather curious aspect about this painting. This young woman seems to have somewhat of a belly, pregnant perhaps? She looks overall well nourished, which seems at odds for having to endure travel to a slave market. She looks more like someone who has been tossed out on the street. Sort of demoted from whatever status she once might have enjoyed. I wonder what else the artist wanted to tell us that is not being said in words, but left for us to decipher. Of course these are only my assumptions and what we see is the result of wonderful observation by the artist as he captured the pose of his model.
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