Joseph Cinque, 1840
Painted in 1840 by Nathaniel Jocelyn. Painting held by New Haven Colony Historical Society.
This studio portrait was commissioned by Robert Purvis, a leading black abolitionist from Philadelphia; Jocelyn was an abolitionist sympathizer. Cinque is shown in a toga, rather than in traditional Mende clothing. His facial features seem to have been made less African than they actually appeared. For details on Cinque see, for example, John W. Barber, A History of the Amistad Captives (New Haven, Conn., 1840) and Mary Cable, Black Odyssey; the Case of the Slave Ship Amistad (New York, 1971). For details on this painting, see Eleanor Alexander, A Portrait of Cinque (Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin, 49 , pp. 31-51)and M. Harris, Colored Pictures (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2003), pp. 34-36. A slide of the image shown here was made from an unidentified secondary source; for a better reproduction, see Harris (above) and Hugh Honour, The Image of the Black in Western Art (Menil Foundation, Harvard University Press, 1989), vol. 4, pt. 1, p. 158, fig. 96.
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