The objective of the organized visits titled “The Slave in the Louvre: An Invisible Humanity (2012)” was to explore how slavery had contaminated Europeans’ tastes, ways of living, consuming, receiving, and representation of themselves. Looking at the paintings featuring men smoking; aristocratic women wearing cotton; and tables covered with china teapots, sugar bowls, coffeepots, or cowries was like pulling a series of threads to reveal the global network established by the mercantile economy of slavery and the ways its conditions of production were hidden. The paintings also exposed the intersection between bonded work, construction of gendered ways of being (tobacco associated with masculinity, sugar with femininity), accumulation of wealth, commerce, and European art.

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