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Jan Brueghel the Elder
Folkdance Before the Archdukes
Oil on Canvas, 130 x 266 cm.
Not only does this depiction of a folkdance performed by the common folk of the Netherlands for a visiting member of the nobility show us a diverse crowd, it also has an example of how disability was depicted in medieval and renaissance European art.
The young man in the foreground running to fetch water almost certainly has Trisomy 21, also known as Down Syndrome. Depictions of both children and adults with Down Syndrome are common and well-documented in early modern artworks, in everyday scenes like this one as well as religious paintings and portraiture. Andrea Mantegna is known to have depicted Jesus Christ as having Down Syndrome in at least three separate painting:
Disability as well as racial diversity is another marginalized narrative in the art history education we most commonly receive in the United States. You can read more about this in On the Antiquity of Trisomy 21: Moving Towards a Quantitative Diagnosis of Down Syndrome in Historic Material Culture by John M. Starbuck, from the Journal of Contemporary Anthropology. You can read a bit more on the Wikipedia page for Themes in Italian Renaissance Painting, and A History of Intelligence and “Intellectual Disability”: The Shaping of Psychology in Early Modern Europe by C. F. Goodey.
- Anubis: How do you feel about death?
- Atum: What are your greatest imperfections?
- Bastet: Do you have any cats?
- Hathor: What brings you joy?
- Horus: What is one thing you've had to fight for in your life?
- Osiris: Do you believe in the underworld?
- Ra: Do you have any major responsibilities or importance?
- Thoth: Do you like to read/write?
- Arawn: What is the most terrifying thing you've ever done?
- Bran: How is your health?
- Brighid: Tell us about your relationship with your father.
- Cernunnos: What is your favorite animal?
- Danu: What is your relationship with your mother?
- Morrigan: What do you think happens when we die?
- Olwen: What is your favorite flower?
- Rhiannon: Have you ever been betrayed?
- Bragi: What kind of music do you listen to?
- Freya: Have you ever been in love?
- Freyr: Do you have any children?
- Hœnir: Are you a silent or talkative person?
- Iounn: How old are you?
- Loki: What is the best trick you've ever pulled on someone?
- Odin: What is your family like?
- Thor: Would you consider yourself pretty powerful?
- Tree: What have you done with your life? What are you going to do with it?
- Aphrodite: What do you think of yourself?
- Ares: Are you an easy person to anger?
- Athena: Would you consider yourself an artist?
- Apollo: Do you play any instruments?
- Dionysus: Do you drink?
- Hades: Do you have a bad reputation?
- Hekate: Have you ever tried to communicate with the dead?
- Hermes: Have you ever stolen anything?
- Poseidon: Are you a moody person?
- Zeus: Are you a confident person?
- Jupiter: Would people say that you are intimidating or fairly approachable?
- Pluto: Where do you think we go when we die?
- Apollo & Dianna: Do you prefer to be up during the day or at night?
- Mars: Have you ever gotten into a fight?
- Minerva: Do you generally give good advice?
- Proserpine: Have you ever felt trapped?
- Plutus: Do you have a job?
- Venus: Have you ever had your heart broken?
- Vesta: Do you like being home or do you try to get out whenever you can?
- Morpheus: Do you daydream often? Of what?