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Agostino Brunias - Planter and his Wife, with a Servant - ca. 1780

Agostino Brunias (c. 1730 – April 2, 1796) was a London-based Italian painter from Rome. Strongly associated with West Indian art, he left England at the height of his career to chronicle Dominica and the neighboring islands of the West Indies. Painted in the tradition of vérité ethnographique, his art was as escapist as it was romantic.

the-paintrist
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Agostino Brunias - Market Day, Roseau, Dominica - ca. 1780

Agostino Brunias (c. 1730 – April 2, 1796) was a London-based Italian painter from Rome. Strongly associated with West Indian art, he left England at the height of his career to chronicle Dominica and the neighboring islands of the West Indies. Painted in the tradition of vérité ethnographique, his art was as escapist as it was romantic.

Although Brunias was initially commissioned to depict upper-class plantation life, his works assumed what was considered to be a subversive political role in the Caribbean, endorsing a free, anti-slavery society, and exposing the artificiality of racial hierarchies in the West Indies. He was particularly adept at painting Negro festivals, dances, markets, and other related cultural traditions and producing paintings showing interaction between the natives and the wealthy colonial settlers. Considered to be in the tradition of verité ethnographique, his art was as escapist as it was romantic.

A prolific artist, Brunias’ collected works show him to be predominantly a figure painter who concentrated on the new culture of the mulatto in the West Indies by creating romanticized images depicting communities of color that obscured the realities of colonial domination and plantation slavery.

the-paintrist
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Agostino Brunias - The linen market at Saint-Domingue

Saint-Domingue (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃.dɔ.mɛ̃ɡ]) was a French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola from 1659 to 1804, in what is now Haiti.

The French had established themselves on the western portion of the islands of Hispaniola and Tortuga by 1659. In the Treaty of Ryswick of 1697, Spain formally recognized French control of Tortuga Island and the western third of the island of Hispaniola.

In 1791, enslaved Africans and some free people of color of Saint-Domingue began waging a rebellion against French authority. The rebels became reconciled to French rule following the abolition of slavery in the colony in 1793, although this alienated the island’s dominant slave-owning class. France controlled the entirety of Hispaniola from 1795 to 1802, when a renewed rebellion began. The last French troops withdrew from the western portion of the island in late 1803, and the colony later declared its independence as Haiti, its indigenous name, the following year.

Agostino Brunias (c. 1730 – April 2, 1796) was a London-based Italian painter from Rome. Strongly associated with West Indian art, he left England at the height of his career to chronicle Dominica and the neighboring islands of the West Indies. Painted in the tradition of vérité ethnographique, his art was as escapist as it was romantic.

the-paintrist
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Confinement 18 days … I begin to feel like a prisoner, or a lion in a cage, the sun outside has taken place erasing the 4 months of daily rain .. Sun !! But not allowed to go out .. I still don’t know how long I will be able to hold on .. And unfortunately that will not get better and may even get worse … I have no choice but to take patience … Like millions of us .. Courage to all and may god protect you ….🙏🙏🤘👍

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