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.
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).
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!
Nigel Glendinning (1929-2013) is remembered for his perceptive writings on Goya and for the range of his knowledge on the art and literature of 18th century Spain. He had a distinguished academic career at the universities of Southampton, Trinity College Dublin, and Queen Mary University of London. He was a Corresponding Member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, and an Honorary Fellow of the Hispanic Society of America in New York, as well as the winner of the international Elio Antonio de Nebrija prize awarded by the University of Salamanca (2007). In 1998 he was created Commander of the Order of Isabel La Católica, an honour conferred on him by King Juan Carlos of Spain. In 2001 he contributed to the creation of ARTES and served the group as honorary president for more than ten years.
Glendinning’s work is celebrated in the forthcoming edited edition of his classic book, Goya and his critics (1977; revised Spanish edition 1983). The new volume, published by Ediciones Complutense, contains the text of the 1983 Spanish edition with a selection of Glendinning’s more recent essays on the topic. The editors, Sarah Symmons and Jesusa Vega, contributed two memoirs of Nigel as a Hispanic art historian, his contribution to Goya Studies and to Hispanic visual and literary culture. The publication also features a tribute by Valeriano Bozal.
Information on the book’s forthcoming launch will be published soon.
Gabriele Finaldi (Director, The National Gallery) &
Edward Payne (Senior Curator: Spanish Art, Auckland Castle Trust)
Colnaghi, 26 Bury Street, London SW1Y 6AL
ARTES welcomes Gabriele Finaldi, curator of Ribera: Master of Drawing at the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (22 November 2016 – 19 February 2017), in conversation with Edward Payne, curator of the exhibition’s second incarnation Between Heaven and Hell: The Drawings of Jusepe de Ribera at the Meadows Museum, Dallas (12 March – 11 June 2017). They will be discussing the genesis of the exhibition which celebrates the publication of the first complete catalogue raisonné of Ribera’s drawings. The event will take place in the stunning new Colnaghi gallery in Bury Street, followed by wine and jamón provided by Spanish restaurateurs Brindisa.
ARTES would like to thank the Instituto Cervantes and its Director, Julio Crespo Maclennan for their support with this event.
This event is open to ARTES members only. RSVP to Alice@colnaghi.com