Category Archives: Travel

ARTES Coll&Cortes travel scholarship report: Ana Dias, PhD Candidate at Durham University

Fig 1 Biblioteca Nacional de EspañaThe ARTES Coll&Cortes travel scholarship granted me the opportunity to travel to Spain to examine three illustrated copies of Beatus of Liébana’s Commentarium in Apocalypsin (generally known as Beatus) on which my doctoral thesis is grounded.

My research concerns the production, illumination and impact of the Beatus manuscripts, with particular focus on the analysis of the text and image relationship. In this investigation I consider five specimens – the Beatus of Morgan, Valcavado, Urgell, Facundus and Silos – that form a particular group known as ‘family IIa’, which present remarkable textual and iconographic affinities. Moreover, these specimens also stand amongst the most lavishly illuminated copies within this tradition, thereby offering us rich material for an enquiry into questions of artistic production.

The careful and objective analysis of their differences and similarities, set against the general panorama of illustrated Apocalypses in the early medieval west, will therefore provide new evidence not only about the conceptualisation of their imagery but also concerning scribal and artistic practices in medieval Iberia.

One of the main subjects under investigation is the use of colour in the Beatus IIa miniatures. Through this analysis I aim to shed new light on how illuminators responded to the literary sources they were illustrating – Revelation and, to a more limited extent, Beatus of Liébana’s own commentary – themselves rich in colour references. Given that most of my prior research had been conducted through the observation of facsimile editions and other surrogates, it was crucial to examine the manuscripts at first hand, as even the best editions do not reproduce the material and chromatic qualities of the original works accurately enough for a study of this nature. For this reason, and having already examined the Morgan and the Silos Beatus (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.644; London, British Library, Add MS 11695, respectively), travelling to Spain to consult in situ the Beatus of Facundus (Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS Vitrina 14-2), Valcavado (Valladolid, Biblioteca de la Universidad, MS 433) and Urgell (Museu Diocesá de La Seu d’Urgell, Num. Inv. 501) was essential.

I began my research trip at the Biblioteca Nacional de España, in Madrid, where I examined the Facundus copy: an exquisite specimen commissioned by Fernando I and his wife Sancha in 1047.My main aim was to check the exact nature of its palette and pigment application, the employment of metallic inks and other general aspects of production and use, such as make up, collation and marginalia. Following my examination of this manuscript, I dedicated some days to a further exploration of the bibliographical resources of the BNE, focusing on secondary material that cannot be found in libraries in the United Kingdom.

Fig 3 Biblioteca Histórica de Santa Cruz Valladolid

My next destination was the university city of Valladolid, where the Beatus of Valcavado is held at the Biblioteca Histórica de Santa Cruz, as part of the university’s collection of historic manuscripts. As stated in its colophon, this manuscript was produced by the scribe Obeco in 970; however, no information concerning its centre of production or the nature of its commission is offered. With the diligent assistance of the library staff, I conducted a similar examination of this manuscript. I was particularly struck by the differences in its colour scheme in relation to its counterparts as well as by some particular choices of pigments in relation to the iconography.

Fig2 Biblioteca Histórica de Santa Cruz Valladolid

Fig 5 View from the Archivo Diocesano de Urgell to the natural parc del CadíIn order to examine the last manuscript in this group I had to travel to the Catalonian town of La Seu d’Urgell, located in the foothills of the Pyrenees. En route, I had the opportunity to visit the Cathedral treasury Museum of Girona where another Beatus copy is kept. While not being one of my primary sources (as it is part of another family within the tradition), seeing the Girona Beatus in exhibition was nevertheless very instructive as it enabled me to think more critically about colour use in early Iberian illumination more broadly.

Subsequently, I concluded my research trip in the Archivo Diocesano de Urgell where I inspected the Urgell Beatus: a copy of uncertain origin but which has been dated to the end of the tenth century on palaeographical and artistic grounds. The examination of this manuscript was surprising: despite being generally considered as a more humble specimen, its palette is composed of rich and vibrant bright colours. As in the case of Valcavado, this manuscript too shows some telling individual responses to the use of colour in relation to the iconography.Fig4 Archivo Diocesano de La Seu d'Urgell

Thus, the first-hand examination of these three Beatus was essential in order to confirm and refine the research conducted to date, and it has given me a greater insight into the material and chromatic properties of these specimens. It has also enabled me to conclude that, despite their relatively distinctive colour schemes, they also share evident patterns of colour use – an aspect which raises more questions concerning not only the artistic tradition but also about the nature of these images.

From a more technical perspective, this research trip has also allowed me to learn about the conservation policies of different libraries and archives, which is invaluable knowledge for someone working in the field of manuscript studies.

I am most grateful to ARTES and Coll&Cortes for their continuing support to my research and for giving me the opportunity and the privilege to conduct this investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

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VISIT: Toledo 3-Day Visit – Fri 5 to Sun 7 June 2015 – British Spanish Society welcomes ARTES members

The British Spanish Society is hosting a 3-day visit to Toledo
f
rom Fri 5 to Sun 7 June 2015

Members of ARTES are welcome to join the BSS for this visit

There is an official deadline of Monday 16 February but please contact Morlin if you are interested at artesiberia@gmail.com

Toledo Visit_000001 Toledo Visit_000002

ARTES Malta visit: Wed 5 November – Mon 10 November 2014

ARTES is visiting Malta from 5-10 November 2014. This visit is being organised by Marjorie Trusted of the V&A (ARTES Hon Vice-President) and Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci of the University of Malta (ARTES member). The programme is detailed below and includes a symposium on Spanish Baroque Art in Malta being hosted by the Spanish Embassy.

Valetta Harbour, Malta

Valetta Harbour, Malta

ARTES Visit to Malta: 5 – 10 November 2014

Programme

Wednesday 5 November
Day: Arrival
Evening: 5.30 pm – Talk by Fr Dun Edgar Vella
The Baroque Neapolitan Crib in Malta
Followed by drinks reception and dinner

Thursday 6 November
Day Spanish Art on Malta Symposium at the Spanish Embassy
See link below for the provisional schedule:
Spanish Art on Malta Symposium – Thurs 6 Nov 2014

Malta Symposium Nov 2014

Evening Reception at the Spanish Embassy 

Friday 7 November
Day Visit to St John’s Co-Cathedral with Professor Keith Sciberras
Followed by tour of Valletta (including the Wignacourt Museum)
Lunch With transport to Mdina
Afternoon Visit to Mdina Cathedral Museum with Fr. Dun Edgar Vella
& to St Paul’s Church, Rabat
Evening Santa Caterina Church, Valletta & Lecture by Peter Vassallo
The Sojourn of Ángel de Saavedra, Duque de Rivas, in Malta (1825-30)
& the Composition of Al faro de Malta and El moro expósito

Saturday 8 November
Day 
Visit to Gozo to see churches & private collections with Mark Sagona

Sunday 9 November
Day Three cities tour
Lunch at Vittoriosa Quay
Afternoon Visit to National Museum of Fine Arts
& St Paul’s Shipwreck Church

Monday 10 November
Departure

St John's Co-Cathedral Malta

St John’s Co-Cathedral, Malta

Spanish embassy logo

1st ARTES Coll & Cortés Scholars announced

ARTES is delighted to announce the winners of the 2014 ARTES Coll & Cortés scholarships. Out of a very strong field the following awards were made:

Santa CatalinaARTES Coll & Cortés PhD Scholarship for students at a UK University

This was awarded to Kathryn Santner, a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, to support her study of the paintings in the Convent of Santa Catalina de Sena, in Arequipa, Peru.

 

ARTES Coll & Cortés Scholarships for PhD or post-doc students in Spain, Portugal or Latin America

This was awarded to Ana Hernández Ferreirós, a doctoral student at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, for her research on the twelfth-century bibles of San Isidoro de Leon and San Millan de la Cogolla.

ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarships

These were awarded to Costanza Beltrami, a 3rd-year undergraduate student at the Courtauld Institute, for a research trip to Spain to visit buildings associated with the fifteenth-century architect Juan Guas. Another scholarship was awarded to Matilde Grimaldi, a PhD student at the Courtauld Institute, for a research trip to Tortosa to study the city’s twelfth-century cathedral (now largely destroyed), and its treasury.

ARTES extends its warmest congratulations to the 2014 scholars, and thanks Coll & Cortés once again for their generous support.

 

 

Michael Jacobs, 1952-2014

Michael JacobsThe Hispanic world has lost one of its greats.  Michael Jacobs, who died from cancer on 9 January 2014  aged 61, was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable writer with an endearing personality, in the  tradition of George Borrow, Richard Ford and Gerald Brenan.

Michael had an extraordinary ability to connect, and both his art historical and his travel books are full of fresh, lively and entertaining insights.  He had a lifelong passion for Spain, and settled in the  village of Frailes in the Provincía de Jaen in 1999,  and there he soaked up and observed the people, atmosphere, sights and food of Andalucía, and wrote about them. Frailes later became his base when he travelled further afield to South and Central America.

He was born on 15 October 1952 in Genoa, Italy, to an Anglo-Irish father, and an Italian mother, who had acted with a Sicilian theatre company in the last years of the Second World War, and from whom Michael developed a passion for food.  He was educated at  Westminster School, and went to the Courtauld Institute, which was then in Portman Square and under the Directorship of Anthony Blunt, to study for his BA and later his PhD in the early 1970s.

Michael was an encyclopaedic scholar but never a conventional one.  A career spent in the confines of a museum or an art history department was not for him (though he was a Senior Honorary Research Fellow of Glasgow University); but he was the author of 24 books. His restless curiosity led him to write early guides to art and artists of the British Isles, and artist colonies in Europe and America, before moving on to travel books about places as varied as Provence, Czechoslovakia, Budapest, Romania, Barcelona, Madrid, Andalucía, the Alhambra and the Camino de Santiago. He translated Golden Age plays, and began to write more personal books on Spain beginning with Between Hopes and Memories (1994), which caused the newspaper ABC to call him ‘the George Borrow of the High-Speed Train Era’. El País praised him for ‘going beyond the clichés and giving a portrait of the real country’.  The Factory of Light (2003) a picaresque memoir written in and about the small village of Frailes, established him as a local celebrity in Andalucia. He participated in conferences, radio interviews, lectured on specialist tours, and took part in the Alhambra Hay Festivals and he made many local and international friends among writers, photographers and gastronomers.

In 2006, Michael’s interest was ignited by letters from his Jewish grandfather from Hull, who worked in Chile and Bolivia with the Andean railways, to his grandmother. Michael followed his grandfather Bethel’s footsteps, and wrote Ghost Train through the Andes.  In a major journey in 2010, Michael intertwined geography, history and 19th and scary 21st century revolutionaries together in The Andes. His last book, The Robber of Memories (2013), was a skilful and poignant travelogue down the Magdalena river in Colombia, woven in with the experience of his parents’ loss of memory from dementia and Alzheimers, and also the similar plight of his literary hero, Gabríel García Márquez.

He loved cooking and entertaining, and was a member of the Andalucían Academy of Gastronomy, and was the first foreigner to be made a knight of The Very Noble and Illustrious Order of the Wooden Spoon.  He once commented that the food of Spain was the story of Spain.  Several of his book launches were held at the restaurant, Moro, in Exmouth Market whose owners, Sam and Sam Clark, were good friends.

Shortly before his death Michael married his long time partner, and first reader of his books, Jackie Rae, and he was working on a book on Velázquez’ Las Meninas for Granta.

A measure of how much he was admired and loved in Spain, was that within two days of his death, obituaries were published in El Pais, and in the Granada newspaper Granada Hoy,  praising him as an intellectual full of life, with passion reminiscent of Don Quijote and the good humour of Sancho Panza.

Michael Jacobs will be missed by friends and Hispanophiles everywhere for his energy, love of life and adventure, for his knowledge and learning lightly worn, and for his hospitality, friendship and modesty.

Gail Turner Mooney

ARTES visit to Madrid, 28-29 January 2014

Portrait of Pope Innocent X

Portrait of Pope Innocent X

We have been kindly invited by Deputy Director of the Prado and ARTES member Gabriele Finaldi to visit the current exhibition in Madrid on Velázquez and the Family of Philip IV.  Javier Portús, Chief Curator of Spanish Painting and Curator of the exhibition will kindly take us on a private tour on Tuesday 28th January 2014, starting at 10.00 and meeting at the Puerta de Jerónimos. After the tour, members will have the opportunity to view for themselves some of the paintings highlighted in Gabriele’s 2012 ARTES Lecture, The Collections of the Prado: new works and restored paintings Director of Conservation and Research at the Prado (featured in InformARTES, 2012, pp. 6-8).

The following day (for those able to stay another night) Mercedes González Amezúa Curator of Paintings at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando has also kindly agreed to take us on a tour of the Academia to tie in with the popular talk she gave earlier this year for the 2013 ARTES Lecture, Highlights from the Collection of Manuel Godoy & Recent Acquisitions of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (featured in the forthcoming edition of InformARTES). We will meet at the ticket office at the entrance to the Academia, in front of the Hércules Farnese at 10.30am.

We will try and organise a meal together on the Tuesday evening. Please contact Morlin.Ellis@tiscali.co.uk as soon as possible if you are interested and are able to join us for both or either of these two visits.

Artes Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarships

collcortes_logoARTES is delighted to announce that thanks to the generous support of art dealers Coll & Cortés, we can now award a number of travel scholarships to final year undergraduates and postgraduate students registered for a full or part-time degree course at a UK university who are working on any aspect of Spanish, Portuguese or Latin American visual culture before 1800. The deadline for all applications is 31st January and the Scholarship Committee usually informs successful applicants by 1st March. Winners are normally expected to attend a special awards ceremony at the Spanish Embassy in London in July. Students may apply for up to £1000 towards the costs of travel to Spain, Portugal or Latin America for research purposes (which may include field work, attendance at a conference, or other recognised forms of research). Please read the guidelines below.

Scholarship application guidelines.

  1. Applications should be made in English as a single MS Word or PDF file and sent to artesscholarships@gmail.com . Applicants are requested to include ‘Travel Scholarship’ in the email subject, but should not expect acknowledgement of receipt.
  2. All applications should include: a) project title, b) a max 100-word project summary, c) a max 600-word explanation of the research to be conducted (including explanation of the necessity of travel); d) a short breakdown of how the money will be spent, together with details of any other funding received; e) an academic CV. Applicants should ensure that an academic advisor sends a reference to the same email address by the 31st January deadline: this may be in English, Spanish or Portuguese. Applications without a reference will not be considered.
  3. Candidates may apply for any other scholarship or award offered by ARTES, but are unlikely to be successful in more than one category in any one year.
  4. Application is open to any student or scholar who can demonstrate compliance with the criteria set out above, other than employees of Coll & Cortés, committee members of ARTES, or their immediate families. Scholarships are not awarded to students who have not yet begun their programme of study, are valid for one year only, and are not renewable. Applications may be submitted for travel conducted in the 12 months prior to the submission deadline, though funding for such trips is likely to be considered less urgent than for forthcoming trips that would not be possible without funding.
  5. Applications will be assessed according to the following criteria: Originality of research, significance of research, feasibility of successful completion, academic rigour (command of the field, spelling, fluency etc), potential of the applicant (an assessment of the strength of the CV, taking into account the student’s current status), financial need, value for money, strength of reference, necessity of travel.
  6. Successful scholarship winners are normally informed by 1st March, and are invited to attend a presentation in London in July (exceptions may be made if the costs of attendance at this event are prohibitive). They are required to write a 600-word report on their funded research project, to be sent to artesscholarships@gmail.com within nine months of receipt of the scholarship.
  7. Any publications arising from research supported by these scholarships should include acknowledgement of ARTES.
  8. The scholarships come with no institutional affiliation, and ARTES and Coll & Cortés cannot take responsibility for the support or welfare of scholarship holders.
  9. The decision of the Scholarship Committee shall be final. The Committee reserves the right to make no awards in cases where it deems that applications are not of satisfactory quality. Coll & Cortés and ARTES accept no legal responsibility to any applicant or third party arising from this notice, or the award or otherwise of a scholarship.  The Scholarship Committee will not enter into correspondence with unsuccessful applicants or their academic advisors regarding its decisions.