Public lecture: 500 Year Anniversary of Moctezuma and Cortés’ First Meeting, Nottingham Trent University, Friday 8 November 2019, 6 pm

On 8th November 1519, Hernán Cortés and Moctezuma Xocoyotzin met for the first time, and less than two years later, in August 1521, the Spanish had completed their conquest with the aid of thousands of native auxiliaries who fought against the Aztecs. While this anniversary is being commemorated in Spain, Mexico have requested an apology from its former colonial master for the atrocities committed against its indigenous population. As such, this anniversary, and the subsequent anniversaries that will be remembered in the run up to the end of the siege of Tenochtitlán have very different connotations depending on your point of view.

500 years on, this guest panel aims to interrogate the contentious nature of historic anniversaries; the significance of this meeting for the Aztecs and other indigenous Mexicans, and its importance for the Spaniards and the narrative that it would help create. The guest speakers are: Greg Jenner, public historian, author and historical adviser for Horrible Histories; Dr Caroline Dodds Pennock, the UK’s leading Aztec specialist; and NTU History’s Dr Amy Fuller, who has published and lectured on the Conquest of Mexico.

The 3 speakers will be delivering a lecture of approximately 1 hour (20 minutes each) on different aspects of the significance of the 500 year anniversary, followed by a Q&A and reception for further questions/networking opportunities.

Sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Religion and Conflict.

Free, booking required. This event will take place at LT5, Newton Building, City Campus, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU. For more information and to reserve a place, please click here.

CFP: Travelling Objects, Travelling People: Art and Artists of Late Medieval and Renaissance Iberia and Beyond, c. 1400–1550, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 28–29 May 2020

CALL FOR PAPERS

Deadline – Friday 10 January 2020

Anonymous Portuguese cartographer, Cantino Planisphere (detail), ca. 1502. Map on parchment, 220 x 105 cm. Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena, Italy. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Travelling Objects, Travelling People aims to nuance our understanding of the exchanges and influences that shaped the artistic landscape of Medieval and Renaissance Iberia. Traditional narratives hold that late fifteenth-century Iberian art and architecture were transformed by the arrival of artists, objects and ideas from France and the Low Countries, while 1492 marked a chronological rupture and the beginning of global encounters. Challenging these perceptions, this conference will reconsider the dynamics of artistic influence in late medieval Iberia, and place European exchanges in a global context, from Madeira to Santo Domingo. Bringing together international scholars working on Spain, Portugal and a range of related geographies, it seeks to address the impact of ‘itinerant’ artworks, artists and ideas, and issues of migration and non-linear transfers of materials, techniques and iconographies.

The theme of ‘travellers’—artists who reached or departed the region, at times more than once in their lives, but also objects and concepts imported and exported—will expand and inflect traditional narratives of late medieval and Renaissance art, underscoring the complexity of global interactions and exchanges which connected the Iberian peninsula to Europe and beyond. Bringing together international scholars working on Iberia and a range of related geographies, the conference seeks to address the impact of ‘itinerant’ artworks, artists and ideas, and to expand the field of analysis beyond Europe to encompass relationships with newly acquired dominions, from Madeira to Santo Domingo.

Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:

  • Iberian artists employed abroad, from the master mason Guillelm Sagrera in Naples, to the sculptor Juan de la Huerta at the Chartreuse de Champmol
  • The close imitation of northern artists in such works as the Portuguese copies of Quentin Metsys’s The Angel Appearing to Saints Clara, Colette and Agnes (early 16th century, Museu de Setúbal / Convento de Jesus, Portugal)
  • ‘Iberian’ objects produced elsewhere, for example Christian ivory carvings made in Goa or Kongo, Afro-Portuguese spoons, and Mexican ‘feather-work’ adopting the vocabulary of northern European late Gothic painting
  • Works made for a non-Iberian audience but purchased and displayed by local patrons.

By encouraging conversations across such seemingly disparate topics and geographies, the conference aims to position the Iberian artistic landscape within the networks of artistic exchange that spanned the medieval and Renaissance worlds, challenging the significance of 1492 as a moment of rupture between the Middle Ages and Early Modern periods.

Proposals are welcome from postgraduate, early-career and established researchers working in all relevant disciplines. Please send a title and an abstract of no more than 300 words together with a short CV and 100-word biography to Costanza.Beltrami@courtauld.ac.uk and Sylvia.Alvares-Correa@history.ox.ac.uk by Friday 10 January 2020.

Papers should not exceed 20 minutes in length. Successful candidates will be notified by 17 February. In the first instance, applicants are encouraged to apply to their home institution for travel and accommodation funding. The organisers hope to provide financial support for travel and accommodation to speakers who require it. This conference is made possible by the kind generosity of Sam Fogg.

Please click here for more information.

New Publication: Kirstin Kennedy, Alfonso X of Castile-León: Royal Patronage, Self-Promotion and Manuscripts in Thirteenth-century Spain (Amsterdam University Press, 2019)

Alfonso X ‘the Learned’ of Castile (1252–1284) was praised in his lifetime as a king who devoted himself to discovering all worldly and divine knowledge. He commissioned chronicles and law codes and composed poems to the Virgin Mary, he gathered together Jewish scholars to translate works of Arab astrology and astronomy, and he founded a university of Latin and Arabic studies at Seville. Moreover, according to his nephew Juan Manuel, Alfonso was careful to ensure that ‘he had leisure to look into things he wanted for himself’. The level of his personal involvement in this literary activity marks him out as an exceptional patron in any period. However, Alfonso’s relationship with the arts also had much in common with that of other thirteenth-century European royal patrons, among them his first cousin, Louis IX of France. Like his contemporaries, he relentlessly used literary works as a vehicle to promote his royal status and advance his claim to the imperial crown. His motivation for the foundation of the university at Seville was arguably political rather than educational, and instead of promoting institutional learning during his reign, Alfonso preferred to direct the messages about his kingship in the lavish manuscripts he patronized to a restricted, courtly audience. Yet such was the interest of the works he commissioned, that those who could obtain copies did so, even if these were still incomplete drafts. Three codices traditionally held to have been copied for Alfonso in fact show how this learning reserved for the few began to filter out beyond the Learned King’s immediate circle.

Kirstin Kennedy is a curator of metalwork (specializing in silver) at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She previously held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at King’s College London, in the Department of Spanish and Spanish American Studies (2000–2003).

Please click here for more information.

Job: Professor and Director of the Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art, School of Modern Languages and Cultures Durham University, UK, deadline 17th January 2020

Responsible to: Head of Department

Grade: Grade 10

Salary Range: Competitive salary based on our professorial Pay Scales (starting at £64,606 and going considerably higher based on experience)

Working arrangements: The role is full time, but we will consider requests for flexible working arrangements including potential job shares.

Open date: 30 September 2019

Closing date: 17 January 2020 at 12pm midday     

Preferred start date: Successful candidates will ideally be in post by 01 September 2020.

We are seeking an outstanding academic leader and scholar in Spanish and Latin American Art and/or Visual Culture to direct the interdisciplinary Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art, a collaborative venture with The Auckland Project.

The Director will be an internationally recognised authority in her/his field who will act as an intellectual entrepreneur, developing academic contacts within Durham University, as well as nationally and internationally, and work in close collaboration with The Auckland Project’s forthcoming Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland – the central impetus for the creation of the Zurbarán Centre – on research, programming, and the development of joint initiatives. The Director will be located in an appropriate academic department of Durham University (Faculty of Arts and Humanities).

Auckland Castle, at the heart of The Auckland Project, is one of the most important working episcopal palaces in Europe, the seat of the Prince Bishops of Durham since the twelfth century. For more than 250 years, Auckland Castle has been home to the internationally significant cycle of masterpieces from the Spanish Golden Age, Jacob and his Twelve Sons by Francisco de Zurbarán, the inspiration for The Zurbarán Centre. Financier Jonathan Ruffer set up Auckland Castle Trust in 2012 (now The Auckland Project) to secure the future of the Zurbaráns in Bishop Auckland.

Durham University formally established the Zurbarán Centre in October 2016. The Centre’s collaboration with the Spanish Gallery will provide an unusual opportunity to combine engagement with connoisseurship of a new permanent collection with scholarship of, particularly, Golden Age art, playing to Durham University’s established strengths in Spanish and Latin American studies. The Centre is an embedded part of Durham University located in Bishop Auckland, where the Director will be primarily based.

This represents an exciting opportunity to further the ambitions of both partner organisations to become the leading home for the study and appreciation of Spanish and Latin American art. Over the past three years, the Centre has fostered research in Spanish and Latin American art in a global context, with a special focus on the art of Medieval Spain, the Spanish Golden Age, Mexican national art, the 19th-century history of collecting, and Spanish and Latin American cinema and photography.

Lunchtime Talk: Akemi Herráez Vossbrink, ‘Zurbarán: A global perspective’, National Gallery, London, 4 November 2019

Monday, 4 November 2019, 1–1.45 pm, doors open at 12.30 pm, Sainsbury Wing Theatre

Francisco de Zurbarán, 1598–1664, A Cup of Water and a Rose, about 1630. Oil on canvas, 21.2 x 30.1 cm. Bought for the National Gallery by the George Beaumont Group, 1997. NG6566.

The National Gallery holds one of the finest paintings collections by the Spanish 17th–century artist Francisco de Zurbarán in the world. They have also recently acquired a painting by his son, Juan. Zurbarán lived in Seville, the main European port to the Americas from which he sent over 100 paintings.

Akemi Herráez Vossbrink, The CEEH Curatorial Fellow in Spanish Paintings, discusses the history of collecting Zurbarán, including paintings in their Spanish context, collecting practices in the UK, and the circulation of his work in the Americas.

This event is free and no booking is required. Spaces are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click here for more information.


Opens Today: Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain, NGA, Washington DC, until 17 February 2020

Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain will be the first major exhibition held outside Spain to celebrate the expressive art of the most important sculptor active on the Iberian Peninsula during the first half of the 16th century, Alonso Berruguete. The exhibition will present an impressive range of more than 40 works from across his career, including examples of his earliest paintings from his time in Italy, where he trained. His abilities as draftsman will also be celebrated with the largest group of his drawings ever to be assembled. The primary focus will be on his painted sculptures in wood, which generally decorated large altarpieces, or retablos. The Museo Nacional de Escultura in Valladolid, Spain, will be lending a substantial group of some of his very best figures. A section of one of his altarpieces will be loosely reconstructed in the exhibition to convey an idea of how his sculptures were originally seen.

The exhibition is curated by C. D. Dickerson III, curator and head of sculpture and decorative arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

A fully illustrated catalog accompanying the exhibition will be the first general book on Berruguete published in English and will feature essays by Dickerson as well as Manuel Arias Martínez, deputy director, Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid, and Mark McDonald, curator of Italian, Spanish, Mexican, and early French prints and illustrated books, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas.

It will travel to the Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, from March 29 to July 26, 2020.

Click here for more information.

Maius Workshop Welcome Meeting: Gordon House, London, 10 October 2019, 6:00pm

The Maius Workshop returns for the 2019–20 academic year!

Please join us for an informal welcome meeting, which will take place on Thursday 10 October, 2019, at 6:00pm in Room 209 in Gordon House, 29 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0PP (at UCL, but just outside the main campus: click here for directions)

This event is open to anyone interested in pre-modern Hispanic cultures, widely considered: literature and language, history, geography, art and visual culture, medical humanities, music, etc., from Iberia, the Americas, and other Spanish and Portuguese colonies and communities. PhD candidates and ECRs from London universities and beyond are especially invited.

The Maius Workshop’s organisers, Costanza Beltrami, Bert Carlstrom and Elizabeth Chant, will introduce the group and events planned for the coming academic year. It will be an opportunity to meet people with similar research interests working at other universities and departments.

If you would like to attend, please register on Eventbrite: click here.

Image caption: Joaquín Domínguez Bécquer, ‘La Feria de Sevilla’, 1867. Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza en préstamo gratuito al Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, © Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Source: Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21170539