Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe

It is the rare and wonderful museum exhibit that presents to you a piece of history-a real, thriving, fascinating world-that you have probably never thought about before and then fills it with so many interesting stories and perspectives that it will stay with you forever. This Walters exhibit, which tells the story of Africans in Renaissance Europe, is such an exhibit. Though relatively small, the show was filled with beautiful and relevant paintings and sculptures, each telling a story you've never heard and which you'll want to read every word of, such as "View of a Square with the Kings Fountain in Lisbon," which depicts four Africans, including a drunk, being carried away by Jewish policemen, and a nobleman on horseback, and the sculpture of St. Benedict of Palermo, an uneducated and illiterate son of Sicilian slaves who would become recognized as a great Christian thinker. At their best, museums should be this endlessly enlightening.

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