Tag Archives: 15th Century

Featured Exhibition: Michel Sittow. Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe, until 16 September at The Kumu Museum, Tallinn

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Born in Tallinn, Michel Sittow, studied in the studio of his father Clawes van der Sittow, a respected painter and wood carver. In 1484, the young artist headed to Bruges, the art centre of the Netherlands at the time, probably to work in the studio of Hans Memling, a German who was the town’s most sought-after master. There he learned the illusionist technique typical of the Netherlandish school of painting.

From 1492 to 1504, Michel Sittow was in the service of Isabella of Castile, and later worked as a portraitist for Philip the Handsome, Margaret of Austria, Ferdinand of Aragon and Christian II of Denmark. Sittow returned to his home-town of Tallinn, first in 1506 in connection with an inheritance dispute, when he joined the local artists’ guild. In 1514, Sittow left for Copenhagen at the invitation of King Christian II, and from there he went on to Spain and the Netherlands. The famous portraitist returned to Tallinn for good in early 1518.
With his diverse heritage (a family with German and Finnish-Swedish roots living in Tallinn) and cosmopolitan career, Sittow did not fit in with the national narrative of art history that prevailed in the first half of the 20th century. However, his cosmopolitan career is all the more relevant in the current European context.

The international exhibition project, which includes multi-faceted collaboration with centres in Europe and the United States, brings Sittow’s extraordinary works from distinguished museums and private collection to his first solo exhibition. This is a unique platform for a broader introduction and further research on the oeuvre of this remarkable artist. Most of Sittow’s small number of works (20 to 25 paintings) are on exhibit, thereby providing an excellent survey of his work as a portraitist and painter of religious works. It also allows us to view his art in a broader context, including in collaboration with Juan de Flandes and other contemporary Netherlandish artists. In addition to the paintings, another section of the exhibition is comprised of a timeline that provides an overview of the 500-year story of Michel Sittow, from his birth and successful career to his fall into oblivion and rediscovery.

The exhibition, which is a collaborative project of the Art Museum of Estonia and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, will take place in 2018 in celebration of the centenary of the Republic of Estonia. This year also marks 500 years since Michel Sittow’s final return to his home-town of Tallinn.

Click here for more details.

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Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Renaissance Studies at Birkbeck, U of London—Deadline 15 June 2018

Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Renaissance Studies 18-19

Birkbeck School of Arts will award one fully funded Birkbeck Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Renaissance Studies beginning in 2018-19. 

We invite outstanding applicants working in one or more than one of the constituent disciplines of Renaissance Studies (ca. 1400-1670) in the School of Arts at Birkbeck. Applications are welcomed within the fields of History of Art; English Literature; Drama and Theatre Studies; Intellectual History; Early Modern French Studies; Iberian and Latin American Studies and Visual Culture. The scholarship is equally open to candidates wishing to work in interdisciplinary ways and to those located within one of the single disciplines.

Supervision in Renaissance Studies in the School of Arts is wide in scope. For a list of Renaissance Studies specialists, who can act as supervisors, please visit the academic staff pages on the School’s departmental websites.

Eligibility

Birkbeck Postgraduate Research Scholarships are open to Home/EU and International applicants applying for a full-time or part time M.Phil/PhD place within the School of Arts, starting in the 2018/19 academic year.

Funding

The Birkbeck Postgraduate Research Scholarship awards will include a full fee waiver capped at the value of the full-time Home/EU rate for M.Phil/PhD degrees (currently £4,260), in addition to an annual stipend set at Research Council rates (currently £16,777; pro rata in the case of a part-time award).

Duration of Awards

Scholarships will be tenable for up to three years (subject to satisfactory academic progress) for full-time students, and at an appropriate pro rata rate and extended duration for part-time students.

How to Apply – Application Process

To apply for an award please download the funding application form here.

Please note that you will also need to apply for a place on a relevant PhD programme:

M.Phil/PhD Comparative Literature

M.Phil/PhD English and Humanities

M.Phil/PhD French

M.Phil/PhD German

M.Phil/PhD History of Art

M.Phil/PhD Iberian and Latin American Studies

Please consult the general guidance on applying online for an M.Phil/PhD place. You can find the School of Arts Guide for Applicants here. All prospective students are strongly advised to first make informal contact with a potential supervisor. For information about staff and the research environment at Birkbeck, please consult the School’s Departmental webpages.

Application Deadline: 6pm 15 June 2018.

Please be advised that all applicants wishing to be considered for funding may be required to attend an interview to discuss their proposal. Interviews will be held in w/c 18 and 25 June (if not before). Results will be announced in early July 2018.

The completed form should be emailed to SoAFA@bbk.ac.uk.

If you have any enquiries about this studentship and the scope of supervision within the School of Arts, please contact Dr Luisa Calè, Assistant Dean for Postgraduate Research (l.cale@bbk.ac.uk).

New Online Course: MOOC Burgos: Deciphering Secrets of Medieval Spain

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Roger Martinez is pleased to announce the launch of a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that specifically focuses on medieval Spanish paleography training. The course is called Burgos: Deciphering Secrets of Medieval Spain and it will be offered on a monthly basis on coursera.org at https://www.coursera.org/learn/burgos-deciphering-secrets-medieval-spain. The next class begins on 9 April 2018. This six-week course is intensive — it requires, on average, 10-12 hours of your time per week.

This is the first of three new MOOCs that offer intensive paleography training. Three additional MOOCs pertaining to the medieval/early modern history of Toledo, Plasencia, and Granada, will be launched over the next 3 to 9 months. These courses are in addition to an introductory course on medieval Spain titled, Coexistence in Medieval Spain: Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and another titled, Deciphering Secrets: The Illuminated Manuscripts of Medieval Europe.

Course Description: 
This advanced course focuses on two primary goals: (1) appraising how Jews, Christians, and Muslims shaped the history of medieval Spain and (2) mastering the craft of Spanish paleography, the skill of identifying Spanish handwriting in the 11th- through 15th-century manuscripts. Through the lens of the medieval history of Burgos, we dedicate 75% percent of our efforts to developing pragmatic expertise in the interpretation of Carolingian/French/Gothic handwriting.

Specifically, the course explores how the royal Castilian city of Burgos influenced, and was influenced by, Jews, Christians, and Muslims. We closely evaluate the Spanish Christian Reconquest, the Plague and the 14th-century Castilian civil war, anti-Jewish pogroms, the emergence of elite conversos (Jewish converts to Christianity), and the role of the king and Roman Catholic Church in the creation of Catholic Spain. Through onsite interviews in archives and museums in Burgos, we experience the medieval city, artifacts, and manuscripts. While we teach using Spanish manuscripts, very little or no knowledge of the Spanish language is necessary to complete the course.

Using an intensive array of paleography practices, exams, independent projects, and collaborative efforts, you will garner exceptional skills that you can apply to interpreting any medieval European handwriting. To demonstrate your mastery of paleography you will (1) create a 14th-15th-century alphabet, numeral, and abbreviation guide using manuscript images, and (2) transcribe one selection from a medieval manuscript.

Inquiries: rogerlmartinez@gmail.com

ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship report: Sylvia Alvares-Correa (PhD Candidate, University of Oxford)

By Sylvia Alvares-Correa

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Joos van Cleve (attr.)
The Annunciation
1512-1520
Oil on oak panel
Museu de Arte Sacra do Funchal, inv. MASF35

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Detail of figure 1

The generous award funds provided by ARTES Coll&Cortes allowed me to travel to Lisbon to investigate the transmission of Flemish art, designs, and techniques to Portugal in the late medieval period, on which my PhD research is based. The trip fortuitously overlapped with the exhibition ‘The Islands of White Gold, Art Commissions in Madeira: 15th and 16th Centuries’ at the Museu Nacional De Arte Antiga as well as the ‘Medieval Europe in Motion—The Middle Ages, A Global Context?’ conference hosted at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Both introduced me to works of art and research with which I had not been familiar and underlined the complexity and ambiguity involved in defining artistic transmission.

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Workshop or Circle of Quentin Metsys
Triptych of the Descent from the Cross
Oil on oak panel
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Inv. 1285 Pint

The fluid movement of artists and designs between north and south during this period means that just because something looks Flemish doesn’t necessarily mean it is; unfortunately, ‘style’ is often the determinant factor in classifying the origin of artworks in museums as well as in literature. Production methods can help elucidate if not by who at least where an artwork was made. To this end, the research trip sponsored by ARTES Coll & Cortes allowed me to collect data on the different joinery methods used in 15th and 16th century panel painting. Specifically, I sought out works joined by perpendicular dowels. Internal dowels, the predominate joinery method found in the north, in some cases dictated by guild regulations, are less likely to disrupt the surface of the painting; perpendicular dowels, however, tend to protrude slightly to the surface over time and can often be discerned with the naked eye. Current research proposes that the latter joinery method was predominant exclusively in Portugal (though famously employed by Hugo van der Goes as well).

 

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Detail of figure 2

My preliminary investigations, however, yielded evidence that perpendicular dowels were utilized not only Portuguese panel paintings, but also in panels believed to be imported from Flanders. While it is too early to draw conclusions, the diversity of joinery methods observed suggest that either perpendicular dowels were not as uncommon to northern production as has been supposed or that certain works in Portuguese collections which have been classified as ‘Flemish’ were perhaps produced locally. I’m looking forward to delving in further!