Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator of Art Properties, recently represented Columbia University Libraries at Oxford University, where he was a speaker at the conference Pre-Raphaelitism: Past, Present and Future, held at the Ashmolean Museum and St. John’s College on September 13 and 14, 2013. The conference was a response to the exhibition Pre-Raphaelitism: Victorian Avant-Garde, which opened in London in 2012 and will have been shown in Washington, D.C., Moscow, and Tokyo when it closes in 2014.
Roberto’s paper, “Pre-Raphaelite Exotica: Fanny Eaton and Simeon Solomon’s Mother of Moses,” considered the Anglo-Jewish artist’s first Royal Academy exhibition painting from 1860, seen here, and addressed the role of his model for this painting, Fanny Eaton, a mixed-race woman born in Jamaica, the daughter of a former slave. By drawing on contemporaneous issues as diverse as exoticism, race relations, and Jewish history, Solomon’s painting of an Old Testament subject can be seen as a statement on the social politics of slavery and otherness in the artist's and model's day.
The Mother of Moses, 1860
Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)
Oil on canvas
24 x 19 7/8 in. (61 x 50.5 cm)
Delaware Art Museum, Bequest of Robert Louis Isaacson, 1999