Westport’s Fiona Garland will talk on “Forgotten Figures: Examining the African Presence in the Golden Age of Venetian Art” at noon on Tuesday, September 28. The hour-long virtual lecture is presented by Fairfield University’s Open Minds Institute.

“We’ll be looking at a couple of dozen different paintings from the golden age of Venetian art,” Garland explained. “What fascinates me is the variety of Black Africans depicted in these paintings.”

Venice in 1500 was a dynamic, wealthy city at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East. During this century, representations of Black Africans began to appear in a range of paintings, sculptures, drawings, books, and prints. The figures are depicted in varying roles; as high-level diplomats, as exotic adornments to the elite, as gondoliers or musicians in street scenes, or as actors in the Magi story. 

Despite being increasingly conspicuous, very little scholarship has been paid to them. In this lecture, Garland will examine these forgotten figures and explain who they were and the impact they had on the visual landscape.

Garland earned her MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London in 2011, specializing in the art of Venice. Garland’s passion for art and the stories its history reveals — about the artists, their patrons and society in general — has helped create an avid following for audiences in London and Connecticut. Teaching in a lively and engaging style, she has guided tours of art galleries and churches exploring London, Venice, and Ghent and across North America. Garland is a member of the Collections Committee for the Fairfield University Art Museum.

Admission is free, but registration is required.