This exceedingly rare subject matter appears to show a relatively expensively dressed man being paraded and beaten by a fairly partisan crowd with other onlookers from a shop. Could the unfortuante man be a slave or servant of a wealthy owner or do the gestures of the couple in the door of the shop suggest he may have stolen something from there? There appears to be no known precedent to this scene and such a subject at this early a date is also highly unusual. Mainland slaves were very rare in France at this date and depictions of black figures in art tended to be limited to Saint Balthazar making this an exceptionally rare and slightly mysterious panel.
We are very grateful to Professor David Geggus, Professir Susan Peabody, Professor Jean Michel Massing, Michael Ohajuru and Professor Elizabeth McGrath for their assistance with this painting.
Private collection, France