Aponte’s erudition guided the wide-ranging historical, mythological, and artistic references that comprise the images in his “book of paintings.” He developed his creative vision, in part, through books he acquired and kept in his own library and through conversations with others in Havana’s community of free people of color. He also engaged with the visual culture of the city when crafting his work of art. Aponte’s myriad references, coupled with the many layers of the trial testimony as a historical document (discussed here), can make approaching the book a difficult task.

To that end, the list below contains some of the themes that Aponte treats throughout his book. There is overlap between some of the themes, and the list is by no means exhaustive. However, the aim is to provide a broad look at some of the themes of the book. For more details, see the subject matter list which includes specific people, places, and things per lámina.




Aponte’s family/militias of free people of color Láminas 18-19Lámina 31Láminas 32-33
Biblical episodes Lámina 1Láminas 2-3Láminas 4-5Láminas 16-17Lámina 43
Ethiopia Láminas 4-5Láminas 6-7Láminas 14-15Láminas 16-17Lámina 26Lámina 29Lámina 37Lámina 44aLáminas 44b-45Láminas 46-47
Europe/Spain Láminas 6-7Láminas 8-9Láminas 10-11Láminas 12-13Láminas 16-17Láminas 18-19Lámina 26Lámina 27Lámina 28Lámina 29Lámina 30Lámina 31Láminas 32-33Lámina 34Lámina 36Lámina 37Lámina 44aLáminas 44b-45
Greco-Roman gods, goddesses, muses Láminas 10-11Láminas 12-13Láminas 14-15Láminas 16-17Láminas 18-19Lámina 26Lámina 36Lámina 38Lámina 39Lámina 41Lámina 48Lámina 49Lámina 52Lámina 53Lámina 54Lámina 55Lámina 56Lámina 57Lámina 58Lámina 59Lámina 60aLámina 60bLámina 61aLámina 61bLámina 62Lámina 63Lámina 64Lámina 68aLámina 68bLámina 69Lámina 70Lámina 71Lámina 72
Havana Láminas 8-9Láminas 18-19Lámina 20Lámina 21Lámina 22Lámina 23Láminas 24-25Láminas 32-33Láminas 46-47