TOMORROW: Zurbaran Centre-ARTES Seminar Series | Dr Juan Ricardo Rey-Márquez (Buenos Aires), ‘Simulated Nature: Colour and texture in the eighteenth-century botanical drawings of José Celestino Mutis and his circle’, 9 March, 6.00 PM (GMT)

We are pleased to announce the sixth seminar of our Research Seminar Series:

9 March, 6.00 PM (GMT), Dr Juan Ricardo Rey-Márquez (Buenos Aires), ‘Simulated Nature: Colour and texture in the eighteenth-century botanical drawings of José Celestino Mutis and his circle

Abstract: During the last quarter of the 18th century, the Spanish crown sponsored several expeditions throughout its  territories. Among several scientific subjects that encouraged such endeavors, botany had a special place given its paramount importance for the economy and the arts. But it also proved to be a challenge to the Spanish botanist. Since the Hispanic American flora defied the sexual system of Carl von Linnaeus, mainly based on the written description of the flower, Linnaeus ideas were not easily applicable. Besides, collecting dried specimens on the field to be sent to Europe was especially difficult in terms of conservation because of the heat and humidity of the tropics. How could they possibly prove the exceptional features of Hispanic American flora using only textual description? Could it be possible to solve the issue of decay and send well-preserved specimens to Spain?

In this talk, I will discuss the case of the Botanical Expedition to New Granada whose production of images was developed by an exceptional team of artists directed by José Celestino Mutis. By studying some of the drawings made by the Mutis team, we will see how the development of a particular painting technique served to render the ultimate visual description of a plant: an icon whose visual features were as realistic as the ones of the living thing. 

Booking is essential. To register and receive a zoom link, click here: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=i9hQcmhLKUW-RNWaLYpvlNMF- qNhnXNCmAShgOHLsKdUREU0M0RJTjAzSUpIVlFaTzZWRlQzSlQwSy4u

We are delighted to announce two further online talks later this month, which will also focus on colonial Latin America and materiality :

16 March, 6.00 PM (GMT), Professor Charlene Villaseñor Black (UCLA), ‘On Shells and Sustainability in the Early Modern Iberian World’

30 March, 6.00 PM (GMT), Professor Gabriela Siracusano (CONICET, National Research Council, Argentina),  ‘Changing Colours. The case of the Lady of the Miracles of Salta’

These three seminars have been jointly organised by the Zurbarán Centre and Dr Emily Floyd (History of Art, UCL) from the ARTES Iberian and Latin American Visual Culture Group, in association with the Embassy of Spain and the Instituto Cervantes.

The event is free and open to all. Please click here for more information: https://www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/zurbaran/news-and-events/events/

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