Tag Archives: Baroque

New Publication: Carmen Fracchia, ‘”Black but Human” Slavery and Visual Arts in Hapsburg Spain, 1480–1700’ (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2019)

In ‘Black but Human’ Carmen Fracchia, Reader in Hispanic Art History at Birkbeck, explores the emergence of the slave and freed slave subjects in the visual form of Imperial Spain. The book considers the links between visual regimes and early modern Spanish discourses on slavery and human diversity that are the historic roots of contemporary racism in the Hispanic world.

‘Black but Human’ is the first study to focus on the visual representations of African slaves and ex-slaves in Spain during the Hapsburg dynasty. The Afro-Hispanic proverb ‘Black but Human’ is the main thread of the six chapters and serves as a lens through which to explore how a certain visual representation of slavery both embodies and reproduces hegemonic visions of enslaved and liberated Africans, and at the same time provides material for critical and emancipatory practices by Afro-Hispanics themselves.

The African presence in the Iberian Peninsula between the late fifteenth century and the end of the seventeenth century was as a result of the institutionalization of the local and transatlantic slave trades. In addition to the Moors, Berbers and Turks born as slaves, there were approximately two million enslaved people in the kingdoms of Castile, Aragón and Portugal. The ‘Black but Human’ topos that emerges from the African work songs and poems written by Afro-Hispanics encodes the multi-layered processes through which a black emancipatory subject emerges and a ‘black nation’ forges a collective resistance. It is visually articulated by Afro-Hispanic and Spanish artists in religious paintings and in the genres of self-portraiture and portraiture. This extraordinary imagery coexists with the stereotypical representations of African slaves and ex-slaves by Spanish sculptors, engravers, jewellers, and painters mainly in the religious visual form and by European draftsmen and miniaturists, in their landscape drawings and sketches for costume books.

Click here for more information and to pre-order this book

Featured Exhibition: ‘De Mena, Murillo, Zurbarán. Masters of the Spanish Baroque’, Sint-Janshospitaal, Bruges, until 6 October and MNHA, Luxembourg, 24 January–07 June 2020

20 works of Spanish religious sculpture and painting are currently on display in the monumental wards of the ancient hospital of Bruges. It is a rare opportunity to become acquainted with some lesser-known aspects of Spain’s Golden Age. The highlight of the exhibition, in addition to paintings by famous Spanish masters like Murillo and Zurbaran, is a group of six hyper-realistic sculptures by the greatest sculptor of the Spanish Baroque, Pedro de Mena.
This project is in collaboration with the Luxemburg Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art and the exhibition will travel to this museum in 2020.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in English, with texts by Ruud Priem, Sibylla Goegebuer, Malgorzata Nowara, Gilles Zeimat, and Noël Geirnaert. Click here for more information on the exhibition and here for the catalogue.

Lecture: Dr Edward Payne, ‘Le noir Valencian’: Ribera, Gautier and the French Taste for Violent Painting, Durham University, 7 February 2019

frenchsemiinar7thfeb1200x4007th February 2019, 16:00 to 17:00, Room 146, Elvet Riverside 1, Durham University

Paintings by the Spanish Baroque artist, Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652), prompted a range of contradictory responses in the nineteenth century. Poets, travel writers, critics and artists reacted to his work, especially his striking depictions of violent subjects, at once with admiration and displeasure. In his epic poem Don Juan (1823), Lord Byron declares that ‘Spagnoletto tainted / His brush with all the blood of all the sainted’, and in 1845, Théophile Gautier published two poems on the artist, referring to Ribera as ‘le noir Valencian’, and ‘plus dur que Jupiter’. While Byron and Gautier are often quoted in the literature on the artist, scholars have been swift to dismiss these responses as ‘muddying the waters’ of Ribera’s œuvre, and thus his reception during the nineteenth century has, until recently, received scant scholarly attention.

Through a close, comparative study of Ribera’s paintings and Gautier’s poems, this lecture will explore nineteenth-century attitudes towards extreme imagery in the context of the revival of the Spanish School in France. It will provide a more contextualised and nuanced account of Ribera’s reception during the nineteenth century, and demonstrate that Gautier’s poetic responses are not, in fact, distorting, but revealing. The lecture will argue for the significance of these poems by suggesting that Gautier calls attention to the problematic relationship between the act of inflicting torture and the art of representing pain, a tension which is central to an understanding of Ribera’s violent imagery, and to the myth-making of Ribera as a ‘violent’ artist.

Click here for more information, or contact zurbaran.centre@durham.ac.uk

Closing Soon! ‘Ribera: Art of Violence’, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, until 27 January 2019

ribera-martiri-de-sant-bartomeu-large-bannerThis is the first exhibition in the UK dedicated to the Spanish Baroque painter, draughtsman and printmaker Jusepe de Ribera (1591–1652). Born in Játiva, Valencia, Ribera emigrated to Italy as a young artist. Proud of his Spanish heritage, he eventually settled in Naples, then a Spanish territory, but never again returned to Spain. A hybrid figure, Ribera had a significant influence on the art of both countries in the seventeenth century.

Introducing this artist to a UK audience, the exhibition focuses on some of Ribera’s most powerful images featuring saints and sinners, flaying and flogging. Ribera’s images of pain have often been described as shocking and even grotesque in their realism. In a common historiographical trope, the artist himself has been labelled as sadistic and violent. Challenging this long-standing interpretation, Ribera: Art of Violence will reveal the complex artistic, religious and cultural discourses underpinning the artist’s violent imagery in paint and on paper. This exploration will be anchored by a number of major loans from North American and European collections, with some works travelling to the UK for the first time.

613cmo6qaylA scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition, showcasing the new research which has informed the display.

Ribera: Art of Violence is co-curated by ARTES committee member Dr Edward Payne, author of a PhD thesis on the theme of violence in Ribera’s art (2012) and contributor to the catalogue raisonné of Ribera’s drawings (2016), and Dr Xavier Bray (Director, The Wallace Collection), former Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator at Dulwich Picture Gallery, and curator of the National Gallery’s exhibitions The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600–1700 (2009) and Goya: The Portraits (2015).

 

Featured exhibition: ‘La hija del Virrey. El mundo femenino novohispano en el siglo XVII’, Museo de América, Madrid, until 3 March

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Curated by Andrés Gutiérrez Usillos, this exhibition focuses on an anonymous portrait of c. 1670. The work represents Doña María Luisa de Toledo, daughter of the Marquis of Mancera, Viceroy of New Spain, accompanied by a tattooed Indigenous woman. The show explores the world of the women portrayed in the painting, for example by reconstructing Doña María Luisa de Toledo’s trousseau, composed mainly of American and Asian items acquired in Mexico. The presentation thus analyses the clashes and encounters among the different worlds which coexisted in Viceregal America from a rare female perspective.

 Click here for more information, and here for an exhibition brochure.

Featured Exhibition: Nápoles en Osuna: José de Ribera en el legado artístico de los duques de Osuna (1618-2018), Colegiata de Osuna (Seville), until 18 April 2018

ribera-osunaThe collegiate church of Osuna, established in the 16th century by Juan Téllez-Girón, 4th Count of Ureña, contains important artworks commissioned and donated by the Dukes of Osuna. Several members of the family held important position in the government of such Spanish imperial domains as Sicily, Milan and Naples.

Works acquired in the latter city are the focus of a fascinating exhibition in the collegiate church, Nápoles en Osuna: José de Ribera en el legado artístico de los duques de Osuna (1618-2018). Curated by Pedro Jaime Moreno de Soto, the exhibition is open until 28 April 2018. Stars of the exhibition are five paintings by the Spanish-Neapolitan artist Jusepe de Ribera. They were commissioned by Pedro Téllez Girón, 3rd Duke of Osuna, and donated to the church by his widow Catalina Enríquez de Ribera. Among the works on show is a breathtaking Crucifixion which decorated the collegiate church’s high altar for almost a century.

The exhibition in the collegiate church is complemented by a small display of Italian artworks in the nearby Monasterio de la Encarnación.

Click here for opening hours and more information.

 

 

 

International Study Day: Iberian Polychromed Sculpture, Musée L (Université Catholique de Louvain), Louvain, December 7, 2018

The Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) in Brussels, in collaboration with the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), organises  the first conference in Belgium devoted to Iberian polychromed sculpture and its relation to other Europeans regions. Referring to UCL’s Spanish sculpture collections, this conference brings together scholars specialised in the sculpture from Spain, Belgium, Italy and Mexico. The speakers will trace the sculptures from their production, their technics, their links and reception in other European regions.

1. Lectures (Auditoire du Musée L)

09:15-09:50 –  Welcome

09:50-10:00  – Introduction remarks – Eduardo Lamas-Delgado (Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels)

The polychrome Sculpture in Spain and Latin America (chairwoman, Abigail Newman, Universiteit Antwerpen)

10:00-10:20 – Manuel García Luque (Universidad de Granada), El escultor Pedro de Mena y el naturalismo matérico

10:20-10:40 – Pablo Amador (Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional de México), Aspectos técnicos de la escultura policromada hispánica

10:40-11:00 – Géraldine Patigny (Université Libre de Bruxelles – Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels), La sculpture polychromée espagnole dans les collections belges

11:00-11:15 – Questions and debate

11:15-11:30 – Coffee break

The Spanish polychrome Sculpture and Europe (chairman, Ralph Dekoninck, Université Catholique de Louvain)

11:30-11:50 – Roberto Alonso Moral (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), La migración de escultura entre Nápoles y España durante el siglo XVII y su impacto: algunos problemas de identificación

11:50-12:10 – Wendy Frère (Université Libre de Bruxelles), La polychromie dans la sculpture baroque des anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux et la Principauté de Liège

12:10-12:30 – Holly Trusted (Victoria and Albert Museum, London), Passion and Prejudice: Attitudes towards Spanish Sculpture in Britain in the Nineteenth Century

12:30-12:40 – Questions and debate

12:45-13:45 – Lunch

2. Study session: the Spanish Medieval and Early Renaissance Sculptures from Val-Duchesse (chairwoman, Corinne Van Hauwermeiren, CONSERVART)

14:00-15:00 Emmanuelle Mercier (Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels), Erika Rabello (Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels), Mathieu Somon (Université Catholique de Louvain).

15:00-15:15 – Questions and debate

15:15-15:30 – Concluding remarks

3. Visit to the Museum Collection

Free, booking required. Click here to reserve a place and for more information.