ARTES Lecture, 10 July 2014. Ronda Kasl: ‘The Sum of Virtues: Sovereignty and Salvation at the Cartuja de Miraflores’

Siloe.FortalezaTo conclude ARTES’ 2014 AGM, Ronda Kasl, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, will give a lecture at the Courtauld Institute at 5pm on 10 July 2014: The Sum of Virtues: Sovereignty and Salvation at the Cartuja de Miraflores

In 1442 Juan II of Castile gave the royal palace of Miraflores, near Burgos, to the Carthusian order and designated the new monastery as his burial place. Ten years later, and just two months before the king’s death, Miraflores burned to the ground. Construction of the royal monastery, which languished during the troubled reign of Enrique IV, resumed with some urgency after his half-sister, Isabel, consolidated her claim to the throne in 1476. Notwithstanding the queen’s pious motives, the decision to finish the project was not without political utility. As a dynastic monument, built in the aftermath of a civil war, Miraflores functions in an important sense as an assertion of Isabel’s legitimacy. The queen’s involvement intensified in 1486 as the monastic church neared completion and plans were commissioned from Gil de Siloe for the tombs of her parents and brother. Siloe’s alabaster tombs, finished by 1493, not only distinguish and exalt the queen’s lineage, they affirm the legitimacy of the Castilian monarchy itself. The tombs are marked by astounding formal and conceptual innovations that will be considered in light of the religious, commemorative, and political motives that animated Isabel’s efforts a Miraflores.

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