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The Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Medal: Call for Submissions, deadline 1 March 2021

sa&c_londres_color_ing_fileteTo encourage emerging scholars that are based in the UK, ARTES, in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain, awards an annual essay medal to the author of the best art-historical essay on a Hispanic theme, which must be submitted in competition and judged by a reading Sub-Committee. The medal is named after Juan Facundo Riaño (1829-1901), the distinguished art historian who was partly responsible for a growing interest in Spanish culture in late nineteenth-century Britain. The winner is also awarded a cash prize of £400, and the runner-up is awarded a certificate and prize of £100 – both prizes are generously sponsored by the Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Embassy of Spain. Prize-winners also receive a year’s free membership to ARTES, and the winning essays are considered for publication in the annual visual arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal. See the information about eligibility and rules of competition. The deadline is 1st March 2021. 

Entering the Essay Competition

The judges will be looking for evidence of originality of thought and high academic and literary quality. Essays must focus on the production or reception of the art, architecture or visual culture of the Hispanic world, defined in the broadest possible terms.

As a permanent reminder of the winner’s achievement, an essay medal is awarded, together with a cash prize of £400. The winning essay will be considered for publication in the annual visual arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal. The runner-up receives a prize of £100, and an essay so commended may also be considered for publication in Hispanic Research Journal. Both prize-winners also receive a year’s free membership to ARTES.

Essays are submitted by 1 March each year, and are read by the Essay Medal Committee, appointed by ARTES. The decision of the Committee shall be final. Presentation of the medal is usually made at a special ceremony in London in Summer of the same year, and the result is announced on the ARTES website.

Previous Winners

2020: 2020: Dr Simon Park, an early career scholar at the University of Oxford, for ‘Chasing Wild Men (in Silver)’.

2019: No award

2018: Javier Vicente Arenas, a Masters student at the Warburg Institute, for ‘Constructing a “Transmediterranean” Identity: Rodrigo de Borgia’s Italian Angels in Valencia Cathedral (1472-81)’.

2017: David Cambronero, a MA student at The Courtauld, for ‘Lighting the Great Mosque of Cordoba in the Caliphal Period’.

2016: Leah McBride, a PhD student at Glasgow University, for ‘‘The grave is only half full; who will help us fill it?’: The Politics of Trauma in Alfredo Jaar’s Rwanda Project‘.

2015: Rebekah Lee, a PhD student at the University of York, for ‘Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal and the Courtly Portrayal of Middle Age’.

2014: Lesley Thornton-Cronin, a first year PhD student at Glasgow University, for ‘Image-Making by Means of Metaphoric Transposition in the Work of Joan Miró’.

2013: Maite Usoz, a third year PhD student at King’s College, London, for  ‘Sex and the City: Urban Eroticism in Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester’s Manuel Series’.

Regulations for the Essay Medal

1. Entrants should ideally be resident or studying in the UK, but exceptions may be made if entrants can demonstrate sustained engagement with students, scholars, objects or materials in the UK.

2. There is no age limit for entrants, but the Essay Medal Committee reserves the right to give preference to entrants who have not previously published in the field of Hispanic visual arts. We welcome submissions from researchers in a variety of circumstances, but envisage that most essays will be submitted from early career scholars, post-graduate students or undergraduates with exceptionally good end-of-degree dissertations. Details of degrees or qualifications, as well as previous publications, must be submitted with the entrant’s real name and address.

3. The Hispanic world is defined in its broadest sense to include all Hispanic and Lusophone regions (including, for example, Latin America). Visual arts are defined in their broadest sense to include all material and visual culture, including film and photography.

4. The essay must not have been previously published and must not have been awarded any national or international prize. A note of any departmental prizes awarded to it should accompany the email by which the essay is sent.

5. Essays may be up to 8,000 words in length, including bibliography (though this is not not necessary if full footnotes are given), all notes and appendices. Entrants are encouraged to submit shorter pieces, however. Shorter submissions will not be penalised on grounds of length, but overlength essays will be refused. A word count and a summary of up to 250 words (additional to the work total) must be included.

6. The essay should demonstrate original thinking. It may be based on a dissertation, and may involve original research, although essays based on a survey of secondary material will also be considered if they are of suitable quality. However, the essay should be self-contained and especially prepared for this competition.

7. Entries must be written in English and double-spaced. Diagrams or illustrations should be included and captioned. Sources of information and images must be acknowledged.

8. The winning essay may be  considered for publication in the visual arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal, subject to the usual process of refereeing, and to acceptance by the Editors, whose decision on this is final. In the event of the essay being accepted for publication, some reworking may be required. Essays may not be offered for publication elsewhere while they are sub judice.

9. In the case of any dispute about the award, the decision of the ARTES Essay Medal Committee shall be final.

10. ARTES reserves the right to make no award if none of the entries is considered worthy.

11. The closing date for entries is 1st March each year. Essays received after this date will not be considered.

12. A PDF of the essay, including images, should be sent to tom.nickson@courtauld.ac.uk  To ensure anonymity please do not put your name on the essay.

13. Any queries should be directed to tom.nickson@courtauld.ac.uk

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MAIUS WORKSHOP: Programme: Histories, 19 January 2021, 5pm on Zoom

Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, ‘General History of the Things of New Spain’: The Florentine Codex, 1577, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana

This session will feature two presentations, focused on the functions and constructions of history in the wake of the conquest of Granada.

Please click here for more information.

To register: https://ucl.zoom.us/meeting/register

Ian Robertson – Hispanophile and Richard Ford Scholar

Ian Robertson, who has died aged 92, embarked on a lifetime’s scholarship on Spain and a prodigious production of travel guides inspired by an unlikely combination of the Duke of Wellington’s campaigns in the Peninsular War and Richard Ford’s accounts of his Spanish journeys. He became a leading authority on both.

His Spanish interests led to a commission to write the Blue Guide to Spain. A succession of further Blue Guides followed on France, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus, Austria and Switzerland, but his work on Spain, and especially Ford, remained his abiding passion and his crowning achievement.

In addition to several titles on Wellington’s campaigns, Robertson’s seminal work was the authoritative Los Curiosos Impertinentes about English travellers in Spain in the 18th and 19th centuries, which was published in Spanish in Madrid in 1977. Richard Ford, a major biography, was published in London in 2004. Along the way, he edited Ford’s Hand-Book for Travellers in Spain and Gatherings from Spain.

Richard Ford both inspired and informed him. “Time has not dimmed the scintillating perspicacity of Ford’s observations,” Robertson wrote.

Robertson’s own observations were equally masterful – combining waspish wit, artistic detail and encyclopedic knowledge – and even today it is a challenge to find a cloister or remote chapel that he had not visited and written about in his Blue Guide. The same is broadly true of all of his guides.

Robertson died in hospital from heart failure on 7 December 2020 in Arles which had been his home for the last 20 years.

Written by Gail Turner

ONLINE SEMINAR TONIGHT: The Cloister of Segovia Cathedral: Dislocation, Inheritance and Critique, 6-7:30 pm

Cloister door interior, image: https://www.sahgb.org.uk/whatson/seminar1

In tonight’s talk, Costanza Beltrami explores the long history of the cloister of Segovia cathedral. Shifting the analysis from the cloister’s construction to its conception and relocation, she will discuss such issues as collaboration, competition and conservation.

Please click here for more information and to register.

ARTES and the Zurbarán Centre at Durham University present a 12-week online seminar series, including the annual Glendinning Lecture

We are very pleased to announce that the Zurbarán Centre has teamed up with ARTES Iberian & Latin American Visual Culture Group to organise an exciting 12-week online Research Seminar Series starting on 13 January and running through to 31 March 2021. It provides a forum for engaging with the latest research by national and international scholars who specialise in Iberian and Latin American art and visual culture. The topics are rich and diverse, ranging from Nasrid architecture to twentieth-century art writing on Afro-Brazilian art.

The series also incorporates the prestigious annual Glendinning Lecture in honour of the eminent Hispanist Nigel Glendinning, organised by ARTES with the Instituto Cervantes. The lecture will be given by Professor Jesús Escobar (Northwestern University, Chicago), who will be speaking on ‘All Roads Lead to the Plaza de Palacio: Architecture and Ceremony in Habsburg Madrid’ (17 March).

Furthermore a special seminar (3 March) will be devoted to the collection of the new Spanish Gallery, due to open in Bishop Auckland in the summer of 2021. The series is free and open to anyone interested in the visual arts.

Please email the Zurbarán Centre (Zurbaran.centre@durham.ac.uk) to register and to receive a zoom link. Please note registration closes 24 hours before the seminar.closes 24 hours in advance of each seminar. Click here for

Text from the Zurbarán Centre newsletter and website

María del Carmen Garrido Pérez, former Prado conservator, 1947-2020

María del Carmen Garrido Pérez was one of Spain’s leading conservators who specialised in the technical research and conservation of Spanish paintings from the 15th through to the 20th century. Having studied Art History at the Autonomous University of Madrid, where she was awarded her doctorate in 1979 with a thesis on the physical and chemical analysis of Hispano-Flemish paintings of the Renaissance, she went on to work from 1980 until 2015 at the Prado Museum’s Technical Documentation Office, which she headed from 1982. The result of her research and technical studies are the numerous books, articles and monographs, including: a technical study of Picasso’s Guernica (1981, in collaboration with María José Cabrera), and one of many technical publications on Velazquez in 1999. Over the years she also contributed to and collaborated with others in many exhibitions and participated in many associated conferences. In 2006 she collaborated with Gabriele Finaldi (now Director of the National Gallery in London) in the Prado’s exhibition El trazo oculto. Underlying drawings in 15th and 16th century paintings.

Text courtesy of Xanthe Brooke


Reflections on the ARTES visit to ‘Artemisia’ at the National Gallery (by Susan Wilson)

We waited in Trafalgar Sq last Wednesday to go in at 9:30 for an ARTES private viewing of Artemisia. A cold grey London Morning with people out, hurrying through the handsome classical space, St Martins-in the Fields looking austere and fine. A grey day in winter suits the square.

Inside, empty rooms and the chance to take time to see the paintings. We all felt over-excited to be back in the National Gallery and were thankful to Letitzia Treves, the exhibition curator, and Lucy Chiswell, her assistant, for making the visit possible, as it was cancelled in November. We locked down, the very next day.

There was good discussion amongst the members, wide-ranging conversation, and reunions among friends after being isolated. Muffly chats in masks.

I am fond of the loan from Pozzuoli -St Januarius being taken to the coliseum in
Pozzuoli to be martyred with a huge wolf snarling, at his side, and giant bears/lions who look a bit sweet, sinking in homage at his feet, tamed by his presence, having come in to attack. It is for me, as a painter, a good example of how a commission is pieced together. Had Artemisia seen a lion? It is an excellent loan, tender, and compelling. A painting we mightn’t have seen, no matter how thoroughly we visit churches in the Bay of Naples.

Finest for me was Susanna and the Elders from Pommersfelden (detail included below). It is worth the visit alone, as is The Right Hand of Artemisia Gentileschi holding a Brush, a soft black and red chalk drawing on loan from the Prints and Drawings department of the the British Museum.

detail of ‘Susannah and the Elders’ (1610, Kunstsammlungen Graf von Schönborn, Pommersfelden), photographed by Susan Wilson

We do Plan more visits for the future!
Susan Wilson, ARTES

Zurbarán Doctoral Scholarship for the Study of Spanish Art, Durham University

The Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art at Durham University invites applications for a doctoral scholarship in Spanish art-historical studies, commencing in the academic year 2021/22. The scholarship has been created thanks to the generous support of the CEEH (Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica) in association with ARTES and The Auckland Project. It supports research projects on Spanish art from the Golden Age to around 1900, including the reception of Spanish art. The successful candidate will enjoy privileged access to the Spanish Gallery at The Auckland Project, which is due to open in 2021 in Bishop Auckland. The scholarship is tenable for three years full-time (or five years part-time). Details on the eligibility criteria and the application process can be found here. Interested candidates are advised to contact the Zurbarán Centre administration (Zurbaran.Centre@durham.ac.uk) at least four weeks in advance of the application deadline: 31 March 2021.