Islamic Art Circle Lecture: Professor Luis José García-Pulido, ‘Water to Create a Paradise on Earth. The Alhambra and its Hydraulic Supply System’, SOAS, 4 December 2019, Paul Webley Wing (Senate House), Wolfson Lecture Theatre, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Hispanic identity has been shaped during the last century by a conscious selection of historical periods of its history. After the loss of the last colonies of the former Spanish Empire at the end of the 19th century, the nation had hit rock bottom in political terms. To counterbalance this decline, writers, poets, essayists and scholars from the so-called generation of ’98 aimed for the restoration of the cultural splendor of the Spanish Golden Age, a period of flourishing in the arts and literature that spans from Philip II’s reign until the death of Charles II in 1700, the last of the Habsburg monarchs. This wish has been constant through the 20th century and is also connected with the rise of neobaroque aesthetics and postmodernism. Baroque has become a multifaceted concept and, nowadays, is more a space of reflection than a chronological or formal label. The lecture will explore the continuity of baroque art in Spanish contemporary culture such as art, photography, cinema, pop music, comics, cartoons, internet memes, football or television series, where the fascination with Spanish Golden Age is not only a matter of style or aesthetics but also political and identitary. From inspiration to appropriation, from art galleries to politics, baroque art is a powerful tool in contemporary Spain.
The National Gallery will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Spain’s foremost artistic institution, the Museo del Prado in Madrid, with a day of special events. Read below or click here to discover what’s on.
In conversation: Celebrating 200 years of the Prado
Discover Madrid’s Prado Museum: past, present and future. Miguel Falomir, Director of the Prado Museum, Madrid, joins Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, to discuss the history and dynamic future of Spain’s most eminent art museum, which celebrates its bicentenary this year.
The Prado Museum in Madrid held a special place in Picasso’s heart and mind. As a young artist he visited the museum many times, drawn to the world of El Greco and Velázquez. Later, in 1936, the Spanish Republic awarded him the title of Honorary Director-in-Exile of the Prado Museum in gratitude for his support. In 1957 he created a series of 58 variations of Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas’, the iconic work in the Prado. Art historian Gijs van Hensbergen tells the story of Picasso’s life-long relationship with the Prado.
ARTES committee member Akemi Herráez Vossbrink, assistant curator of the exhibition “Bartolomé Bermejo. Master of the Spanish Renaissance” at The National Gallery, will give a lecture on the life and works of this Spanish painter.
Bartolomé Bermejo was a fifteenth-century Spanish artist whose painting technique, mixing Spanish and Netherlandish features, was unparalleled amongst his Iberian contemporaries. He had a limited output of less than twenty paintings of which seven are featured in the current National Gallery exhibition. This is the first time that six of these paintings are shown in the UK and the restoration of the National Gallery’s painting of Saint Michael Triumphs over the Devil (1468) has enabled the Gallery to showcase Bermejo’s earliest masterpiece. Following the two major Bermejo retrospectives at the Prado Museum and the MNAC (Barcelona), this exhibition features paintings ranging from different periods of Bermejo’s career demonstrating his development as he moved throughout the Crown of Aragon (mostly encompassing territories in eastern Spain). This talk will focus on the seven paintings shown in the exhibition considering them within their context and retracing Bermejo’s artistic career. Bermejo’s Saint Michael, the Acqui Terme triptych and the Desplà Pietà (reproduced above), will receive special attention in the lecture, which will compare their donors, production, intended location and historical context.
This event is for a general audience and is organised by the Instituto Cervantes — London. Free, reistration required. Click here to register.
7th February 2019, 16:00 to 17:00, Room 146, Elvet Riverside 1, Durham University
Paintings by the Spanish Baroque artist, Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652), prompted a range of contradictory responses in the nineteenth century. Poets, travel writers, critics and artists reacted to his work, especially his striking depictions of violent subjects, at once with admiration and displeasure. In his epic poem Don Juan (1823), Lord Byron declares that ‘Spagnoletto tainted / His brush with all the blood of all the sainted’, and in 1845, Théophile Gautier published two poems on the artist, referring to Ribera as ‘le noir Valencian’, and ‘plus dur que Jupiter’. While Byron and Gautier are often quoted in the literature on the artist, scholars have been swift to dismiss these responses as ‘muddying the waters’ of Ribera’s œuvre, and thus his reception during the nineteenth century has, until recently, received scant scholarly attention.
Through a close, comparative study of Ribera’s paintings and Gautier’s poems, this lecture will explore nineteenth-century attitudes towards extreme imagery in the context of the revival of the Spanish School in France. It will provide a more contextualised and nuanced account of Ribera’s reception during the nineteenth century, and demonstrate that Gautier’s poetic responses are not, in fact, distorting, but revealing. The lecture will argue for the significance of these poems by suggesting that Gautier calls attention to the problematic relationship between the act of inflicting torture and the art of representing pain, a tension which is central to an understanding of Ribera’s violent imagery, and to the myth-making of Ribera as a ‘violent’ artist.
The Prayerbook of Alfonso of Aragon and Manuscript Illumination in Early 15th-Century Valencia
Wednesday 20 February 2019 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Free and open to all
Research Forum Seminar Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, King’s Cross, London, WC1X 9EW
The Psalter-Book of Hours of Alfonso V the Magnanimous is one of the most important illuminated books commissioned by this Valencian monarch. This king used the book as an instrument of propaganda concerning his royal authority and piety, making this manuscript one of the most important records of the social history of medieval Valencia. A presentation of the miniatures will be accompanied by a brief introduction to Valencian manuscripts of the period, essential to understanding the specific characteristics of the complex manuscript studied here. The production process of the manuscript will also be analysed, and an attempt will be made to establish connections between this and other codices made in Valencia at the same date, trying to generate possible inflection points between these pieces and to define the artistic personalities who participated in this book of hours.
Dr. Nuria Ramón-Marqués is a lecturer in Art History at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Her research focuses on the study of painting and illuminated manuscripts from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in the Crown of Aragon. Her doctoral thesis on the study of the Valencian medieval miniature, entitled The illumination of manuscripts in Valencia Gothic. From the beginning until the death of Alfonso V the Magnanimous (1290–1458) (2 vol. Universitat de València, 2005), made possible the reconstruction of the artistic personality of the Valencian miniaturist Domingo Crespí. Nuria is the author of several articles and books including The illumination of manuscripts in Gothic Valencia (1290–1458) (Valencia, 2007) that continues to have a significant scientific impact since it constitutes the most complete corpus of these works and a reference in the area of medieval painting and miniature.