Tag Archives: 15th Century

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

Med Seminar Seal.jpg

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

Advertisements

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

By Sylvia Alvares-Correa

joosvancleve

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

joosvancleve2

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.

quentinmetsys

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).

 

quentynmetsys2

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!