ONLINE CONFERENCE: Polyphonic Communities: Ways of Belonging in the Medieval and Early Modern Iberian World – A Two-Day Interdisciplinary Conference for Graduates and Early Career Scholars

Pre-registration is required to attend. Please click the following link to register: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0pduyrpzIqGdcEVqy5n9pFiNuLR1NW50lR. After registering you will receive a confirmation email with the details of the Zoom meetings.

Please click here for more information

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

ONLINE LECTURE SERIES: Slade Professor of Fine Art, Annual Lecture Series, 2021

The Department of History of Art of the University of Oxford is delighted to announce the Slade Professor for 2021 is Jerrilynn D. Dodds, Harlequin Adair Dammann Professor, Faculty of Art History, Sarah Lawrence College.  Professor Dodds’ scholarly work has centered on issues of transculturation, and how groups form identities through art and architecture. Among her publications are: Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture, co-authored with Prof. Mara Menocal and Abigail Krasner Balbale; Architecture and Ideology of Early Medieval Spain; and New York Masjid, the Mosques of New York City. She was editor of the catalogue Al Andalus: The Arts of Islamic Spain (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and served as curator of the exhibition of the same name, at the Alhambra in Granada and in New York; co-editor and curatorial consultant of The Arts of Medieval Spain (with Little, Moralejo and Williams, Metropolitan Museum of Art); co-editor and consulting curator for Convivencia. The Arts of Jews, Christians and Muslims in Medieval Iberia (ed., with Glick and Mann, 1992); and, with Edward Sullivan, co-editor and curator for Crowning Glory, Images of the Virgin in the Arts of Portugal (Newark Museum). She has written and directed films in conjunction with museum exhibitions (Journey to St. James (MMA); An Imaginary East (MMA); NY Masjid (Storefront) and for wider audiences (Hearts and Stones: The Bridge at Mostar). Professor Dodds was the recipient of the Cruz de la Orden de Mérito Civil (Cross of the Order of Civil Merit) from the Government of Spain (2018).

Material Histories from Medieval Iberia

  1. An Agonistic History of Art (Wednesday 28 April 2021)
  2. The Great Mosque of Cordoba as Center and Periphery (Wednesday 5 May 2021) 
  3. Babylon in Flames (Wednesday 19 May 2021)
  4. Mudejar and Romanesque. Romanesque and Islam (Wednesday 26 May 2021)
  5. The Virgin as Colonial Agent (Wednesday 2 June 2021)
  6. Hunting in the Borderlands: Conversions and Translations (Wednesday 9 June 2021)

Details of where and how the lectures will be delivered will be made available as soon as possible.

Please see this page for updates.

Text from the Department of History of Art of the University of Oxford: https://www.hoa.ox.ac.uk/slade-lectures

A tribute to Ian Robertson, by Susan Wilson

Susan Wilson’s copy of Robertson’s Blue Guide to Spain

Susan Wilson writes:

I have a dog eared copy of Robertson’s Blue Guide to Spain which I bought in 1977. I had hitchhiked around Spain in 1976 for three months curious to see what was happening to the country-after the death of Franco. I was 25 and interested in politics.

Many journeys followed, always with the Blue Guide. I would read it aloud to my companions, in a tent in Toledo or a pension, at night, in simple plain rooms devoid of tv, radio, or devices! We would laugh at hilarious, indignant passages where he expressed himself in trenchant terms. Here he is, noting that ‘although Spain no longer admits to being a police state, the police are still very much in evidence…’

‘In the countryside, where they now serve little purpose, the ubiquitous olive green uniformed Guardia Civil, always patrolling in pairs (and known familiarly as “La Pareja”, the couple) wearing incongruous but distinctive patent leather tricorn hats. Formed in 1844, members of this strong but singularly ineffective arm of the law, raised originally to combat rural banditry and who have since regularly intimidated rural peasantry, are seldom-officious, but are not invariably civil.’ He continues, ‘In addition…when students, Basques, crowds, demonstrations, or “Manifestations” may, in their opinion require “Supervision”… the autocratic police, recently designated “Policia Nacional”…in the process of changing from a grey uniform (when they were familiarly know as “grises”) to a brown (and already called “chocolate con porras”- the latter being a truncheon shaped fritter!). They also guard embassies, ministries, ministers, nervous capitalists, stations banks, etc. Some of them have met with violent death in recent anti-authoritarian disturbances.’ (p. 93 Blue Guide to Spain).

There is a wealth of excellent quotes from Richard Ford. Some years later I was given the three volume Handbook to Spain by Sir Brinsley Ford as part of The Richard Ford Award to Spain, but took Ian Robertson’s guide with me on the several journeys I made.

Mine is underlined, my routes marked on maps, as I followed the Guide along roads, hills and in unbearably slow forever stopping overnight trains. One, from Atocha to Granada one spring, where passengers in a compartment with eight seats told funny stories, mimed silly antics, and shared food and wine with us.

I wandered alone and with various companions to obscure churches and towns in Extremadura … and over bridges (the Alcantara bridge, Roman, still in use, was one).

Informative, scholarly and amusing, it remains a definitive guide although I am afraid that it is no longer in print and that publishers of guide books began to underestimate their readers’ appetite to see and understand a culture. Robertson made a huge contribution to the travellers’ understanding of Spain.

If you can find a copy, don’t part with it. Reading this in the pandemic is strongly recommended!

by Susan Wilson

RECORDING: Piers Baker-Bates, ‘”In the Spanish Fashion”: An Italian-Spanish Cultural Relationship Reconsidered’. Online talk for the Research Seminar Series organized by ARTES and the Zurbarán Centre For Spanish and Latin American Art

Recording of Piers Baker-Bates’ talk delivered online on January 13th, 2021, as part of the research seminar series organized by Durham University’s Zurbarán Centre For Spanish and Latin American Art with ARTES Iberian & Visual Culture Group, with the collaboration of Instituto Cervantes in the UK

This is the first in a series of 12 seminars, many of which will also be recorded and available on the ARTES site.

The weekly sessions usually take place on Wednesdays, 6.00-7.00pm, except the fourth session scheduled for Tuesday, 2 February. The talks last ca. 40 minutes and are followed by Q&A.

The series is free and open to all with an interest in the visual arts. Booking is essential. Please email the Zurbarán Centre (Zurbaran.centre@durham.ac.uk) to register and to receive a zoom link. Please note registration closes 24 hours before the seminar.

Please click here for more information.

MAIUS WORKSHOP: Programme: Histories, 19 January 2021, 5pm on Zoom

Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, ‘General History of the Things of New Spain’: The Florentine Codex, 1577, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana

This session will feature two presentations, focused on the functions and constructions of history in the wake of the conquest of Granada.

Please click here for more information.

To register: https://ucl.zoom.us/meeting/register

Ian Robertson – Hispanophile and Richard Ford Scholar

Ian Robertson, who has died aged 92, embarked on a lifetime’s scholarship on Spain and a prodigious production of travel guides inspired by an unlikely combination of the Duke of Wellington’s campaigns in the Peninsular War and Richard Ford’s accounts of his Spanish journeys. He became a leading authority on both.

His Spanish interests led to a commission to write the Blue Guide to Spain. A succession of further Blue Guides followed on France, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus, Austria and Switzerland, but his work on Spain, and especially Ford, remained his abiding passion and his crowning achievement.

In addition to several titles on Wellington’s campaigns, Robertson’s seminal work was the authoritative Los Curiosos Impertinentes about English travellers in Spain in the 18th and 19th centuries, which was published in Spanish in Madrid in 1977. Richard Ford, a major biography, was published in London in 2004. Along the way, he edited Ford’s Hand-Book for Travellers in Spain and Gatherings from Spain.

Richard Ford both inspired and informed him. “Time has not dimmed the scintillating perspicacity of Ford’s observations,” Robertson wrote.

Robertson’s own observations were equally masterful – combining waspish wit, artistic detail and encyclopedic knowledge – and even today it is a challenge to find a cloister or remote chapel that he had not visited and written about in his Blue Guide. The same is broadly true of all of his guides.

Robertson died in hospital from heart failure on 7 December 2020 in Arles which had been his home for the last 20 years.

Written by Gail Turner

ONLINE SEMINAR TONIGHT: The Cloister of Segovia Cathedral: Dislocation, Inheritance and Critique, 6-7:30 pm

Cloister door interior, image: https://www.sahgb.org.uk/whatson/seminar1

In tonight’s talk, Costanza Beltrami explores the long history of the cloister of Segovia cathedral. Shifting the analysis from the cloister’s construction to its conception and relocation, she will discuss such issues as collaboration, competition and conservation.

Please click here for more information and to register.