From the dazzling spectacle of Burgos Cathedral to the cavernous nave of Palma Cathedral or the lacy splendour of San Juan de los Reyes, Spain preserves a remarkable variety of inventive but little understood Gothic buildings. Yet Gothic architecture in Spain and the Spanish kingdoms has traditionally been assessed in terms of its imitation of northern European architecture, dismissed for its ‘old-fashioned’ or provincial quality, and condemned for its passive receptivity to ‘Islamic influence’. But did imitation really triumph over invention in the architecture of medieval Iberia? Are the two incompatible? Can inventio and imitatio offer useful or valid analytical tools for understanding Gothic architecture? And to what extent are invention or imitation determined by patrons, architects, materials or technologies? This essay collection brings together leading scholars to examine Gothic architecture from across Iberia from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, and provides the first significant account of Spanish Gothic architecture to be published in English since 1865.
Alfonso X ‘the Learned’ of Castile (1252–1284) was praised in his lifetime as a king who devoted himself to discovering all worldly and divine knowledge. He commissioned chronicles and law codes and composed poems to the Virgin Mary, he gathered together Jewish scholars to translate works of Arab astrology and astronomy, and he founded a university of Latin and Arabic studies at Seville. Moreover, according to his nephew Juan Manuel, Alfonso was careful to ensure that ‘he had leisure to look into things he wanted for himself’. The level of his personal involvement in this literary activity marks him out as an exceptional patron in any period. However, Alfonso’s relationship with the arts also had much in common with that of other thirteenth-century European royal patrons, among them his first cousin, Louis IX of France. Like his contemporaries, he relentlessly used literary works as a vehicle to promote his royal status and advance his claim to the imperial crown. His motivation for the foundation of the university at Seville was arguably political rather than educational, and instead of promoting institutional learning during his reign, Alfonso preferred to direct the messages about his kingship in the lavish manuscripts he patronized to a restricted, courtly audience. Yet such was the interest of the works he commissioned, that those who could obtain copies did so, even if these were still incomplete drafts. Three codices traditionally held to have been copied for Alfonso in fact show how this learning reserved for the few began to filter out beyond the Learned King’s immediate circle.
Kirstin Kennedy is a curator of metalwork (specializing in silver) at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She previously held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at King’s College London, in the Department of Spanish and Spanish American Studies (2000–2003).
On 20 April 2018, the Warburg Institute (in conjunction with the Cervantes Institute) will host an event on books and readers in the Spanish-speaking world, with the theme ‘The Book as World, the World as Book’. The day will culminate in a conversation between Alberto Manguel, Director of the National Library of Argentina, and Bill Sherman, Director of the Warburg.
Keynote and Reception: 6.00-8.00
Matthew Coneys (postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London): Reorienting the East: Paratextual Developments in C16th Spanish Editions of Marco Polo and John Mandeville
Marta Mansila Martín (PhD candidate, Universidad Complutense Madrid): ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page’: Cities and travels in Literature
Alexandra Nowosiad (PhD candidate, King’s College London): Aiming the Spanish Canon: Printing [inter]national Literature in the Habsburg Low Countries
Professor Linda Newson (Director, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London): Medical books, apothecaries and the practice of medicine in early colonial Lima, Peru
Edward Wilson-Lee (Director of Studies, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge): Life in the Library: Hernando Colón and the Universe of Books
Roberto Casazza (Head of Research, National Library of Argentina): Warburg and the celestial sphere: some new ideas on an old topic
Alberto Manguel (Director, National Library of Argentina), in conversation with Bill Sherman (Director, The Warburg Institute)
7:00-8:00: RECEPTION sponsored by the Cervantes Institute
Attendance is free of charge. To book please click here
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.
Esther Borrego Gutiérrez and Jaime Olmedo Ramos eds., Santa Teresa o la llama permanente. Estudios históricos, artísticos y literarios (Madrid: Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2017).
424 pp, 56 illus. colour and b&w.
Paperback € 33,66 (without IVA).
Twenty essays from the proceedings of the International Congress on Saint Teresa of Avila, held in 2015 at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. Essays include ones relating to artists associated with the saint and to the vision of women in Teresian literature, and a bibliographical appendix of all the principal works on Teresian literature from her own to the present day.
The Casa del Deán: New World Imagery in a Sixteenth-Century Mexican Mural Cycle, by Penny C. Morrill (Austin: University of Texas Press, December 2014)
ISBN: 978-0-292-75930-5 (Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture)
“Extensively illustrated with new color photographs, this pioneering study of a masterpiece of colonial Latin American art reveals how a cathedral dean and native American painters drew on their respective visual traditions to promote Christian faith in the New World.”
The Archaeology of Medieval Spain 1100-1500, edited by Magdalena Valor and Avelino Gutiérrez (Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2014) ISBN 9781845531737.
This book is the first attempt to make sense of the new data for the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, a period when Spain was the hinge or fulcrum between Christianity and Islam, and that saw the gradual displacement of the previous Islamic culture and way of life by that of the Hispanic kingdoms.
Magdalena Valor is Professor of History and Medieval Archaeology at the University of Seville. Avelino Gutierrez is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Oviedo.
John Schofield has contributed the introduction and concluding chapter (‘Hopes for the future’). The book is published in the series ‘Studies in the Archaeology of Medieval Europe’ of which John was the founding editor. John says in his introduction that Spain was late in developing modern archaeological services but has since caught up: since the mid-1980s there has been ‘an explosion of archaeological excavations in towns and countryside, resulting in a mountain of new data, most of it undigested’.