Belisario Sketches of Character A historical biography of a Jamaican artist
In this 398 pages publication author Jackie Ranston shows and tells the story of the Jamaican artist Isaac Mendes Belisario. Born in 1794, in Kingston, Jamaica Belisario was from a wealthy Jewish family and thus grew up a privileged boy. Ironically it was not only the lives and activities of the wealthy that Belisario preserved in his work but, also those of the negro population. In his sketches Belisario drew the Negroes as they were engaged in their daily activities. Prefacing the public viewing of his sketches Belisario wrote that his motive “… for having intruded on public attention, he unreservedly states to be firstly, the ambition to acquire repute in his favourite occupation- the Arts; secondly a desire to hand down faithful delineations of a people, whose habits, manners and costume, bear the stamp of originality, and in which changes are being daily reflected by the rapid strides of civilization…”
Belisario’s work flourished in the period just before emancipation of the slaves. It was during this period that he did his famous Sketches of Characters, in Illustration of the Habits, Occupation and Costume of the Negro Population, in the Island of Jamaica.
This large volume Belisario Sketches of Character A historical biography of a Jamaican artist is a work of art all onto itself. Filled with striking, lively images it will give anyone who peruses it a fresh and exhilarating look at 18th century Jamaica. This publication brings to life not only Belisario himself but also the various characters he drew and lithographed as well as of their surroundings.
Published in 2008 Belisario Sketches of Character A historical biography of a Jamaican artist is among the valuable books at the National Library of Jamaica. Some of the sketches of characters shown in the book are reproductions of Belisario’s prints found in the special collection of the National Library of Jamaica. Both the book and the prints are available for study and research.