NIGEL GLENDINNING LECTURE: Jesús Escobar (Northwestern University), “All Roads Lead to the Plaza de Palacio: Architecture and Ceremony in Habsburg Madrid”, 17 March, 6-7pm, via Zoom

An annual event in honour of the great Hispanist Nigel Glendinning, organised by ARTES and the Instituto Cervantes. Part of the twelve-part seminar series hosted by ARTES and the Zurbarán Centre at Durham University.

17th March 2021, 18:00 to 19:00

Used by people of all classes and fronted by the architectural seat of imperial government, the Plaza de Palacio was the preeminent space of power in Habsburg Madrid. In the 1670s, during the regency of Mariana of Austria, it was lined with arcades and adorned with sculpture. This talk explores the plaza’s design within the context of late seventeenth-century European urbanism, demonstrating that its transformation reflects Madrid’s evolving image as the capital of an empire.

Jesús Escobar is Associate Professor at Northwestern University, Chicago. He arrived at Northwestern in 2008 and chaired the Department of Art History for seven years between 2010 and 2018. He is a scholar of art, architecture, and urbanism in early modern Spain and the larger Spanish Habsburg world. His first book, The Plaza Mayor and the Shaping of Baroque Madrid (Cambridge University Press, 2003; paperback, 2009), explored the interchange of architecture and politics in the evolution of Madrid from a secondary city of Castile to the seat of a global empire in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The book won the Eleanor Tufts Award from the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies and was published in a Spanish-language edition in 2008 by Editorial Nerea. His second book, Habsburg Madrid: Architecture and the Spanish Monarchy (Penn State University Press, forthcoming in 2022), examines government buildings and public spaces built and shaped between 1620 and 1700 from local, regional, and global vantage points. Other recent and ongoing projects consider the monastery-palace of El Escorial, transatlantic Renaissance and Baroque religious architecture in the Spanish Empire, and the historiography of seventeenth-century architecture in Spain. With Michael Schreffler of the University of Notre Dame, he is at work on another book tentatively titled Architecture in the Spanish World, 1500 to 1800.

Booking is essential. Please email the Zurbarán Centre ( to register and to receive a zoom link.

Please click here for more information about the ARTES/ Zurbarán Centre seminar series.

Image: Nicolas Guérard I, after Felipe Pallota, Aspecto del Real Palacio de Madrid, 4 de Marzo de 1704, The British Museum, no. 1859,0514.341.104, ©The Trustees of the British Museum.

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