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.
Felipe Pereda (Harvard), will give the inaugural lecture for the 2018-19 Coll & Cortes Medieval Spain Seminar Series at 4pm on Thursday 25th January in the Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
An old narrative tradition going back to Ancient Egypt but documented across the Mediterranean – from the Middle East to Greece — shows women attending funerals performing theatrical, but also highly ritualized gestures that express unbearable pain. This visual trope corresponds to a practice that was surveyed and prosecuted in this part of the world well before the arrival of Christianity. The practice continued in Iberia throughout the Middle Ages, producing from the 12th century onwards an extraordinary tradition of painting and monumental sculpture. This lecture will explore the persistence, survival and repression of this practice and discuss the contribution of the visual arts to the production of cultural memory.
Felipe Pereda is Fernando Zóbel de Ayala Professor of Spanish Art at Harvard University. Born in Madrid, he studied at the Universidad Complutense, and the Autónoma University where he received his PhD (1995) and taught until 2011. In more recent years, he has also taught at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas (Universidad Autónoma de México), and Johns Hopkins University (2011-15). He has worked on Spanish late medieval and early modern art, art theory, image theory and history of architecture.
His books include, La arquitectura elocuente (1999), El atlas del Rey Planeta (3rd. ed. 2003), and Images of Discord. Poetics and Politics of the Sacred Image in 15th century Spain (Spanish ed. 2007; English translation, Harvey Miller, forthcoming). He has recently published on artists such as Luis de Morales, Ribera, or Zurbarán.
The Palace of Pedro I in Seville, ‘very much like the residence of the Muslim kings’?
Dr Tom Nickson
Wednesday, 11 October 2017
7.00 p.m., Khalili Lecture Theatre, Main Building, SOAS
Chaired by Professor Hugh Kennedy