Tag Archives: Coll & Cortes

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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Artes Coll & Cortes Scholarship Report, Encarna Montero

Here follows a report by Dr Encarna Montero Tortajada, a post-doctoral researcher from Valencia, who in 2015 was  awarded a £3000 scholarship to conduct research in the UK.

Saint George Altarpiece

St George Altarpiece, Victoria & Albert Museum

From the 7th of January 2016, I spent forty days in London conducting research on Spanish art in the United Kingdom, thanks to an ARTES scholarship granted last year. The first week was almost entirely consecrated to preparing the talk “Architectural Practice in Spain, 1370-1450: Documents, Drawings and Historiography”, delivered on the 18th of January at the Courtauld Institute. After that, I conducted my research in the Warburg Library and in the Courtauld Library, where I found new and very useful papers about several historiographical problems within my field of academic interests. Moreover, the stay was a superb opportunity to attend lectures and seminars related to medieval art, for example Mary Carruthers’ seminar on the Art of Invention in Cambridge (“Vividness, Evidence, Proof: the Role of Visions”), and Lina Bolzoni’s talk about Memory Palaces in the Renaissance at the Courtauld Institute. Besides, I was kindly invited by Nicola Jennings and Tom Nickson to join their lessons in the V&A about Spanish Medieval Art and Gothic architectural drawings, respectively. I could visit, too, the medieval collections of the British Museum and the National Gallery, and prominent architectural monuments such as Ely Cathedral and Saint Alban’s Abbey. Furthermore, in addition to the aforementioned scholars, I met researchers as Susie Nash, Barry Taylor, Rose Walker and Kirstin Kennedy, who all gave me sound advice about my work.

 

NPG 2543; Sir John Robinson by John James Napier

Sir John Charles Robinson, by John James Napier, National Portrait Gallery

The main focus of my research in London was the altarpiece of Saint George (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1217-1864), an exceptional work of art and very well preserved. The piece was bought in Paris art market in 1864, and was said to have been removed from a church of Valencia. Little more is known about its original context. In order to discover more about the circumstances of its purchase, I reviewed the files referring to Saint George’s Altarpiece in the Prints and Drawings Study Room of the V&A, as well as other documents lent by the Conservation Department of the Museum. Key information was provided by Blythe House Archives, particularly the files of Sir John Charles Robinson, John Webb and Juan Facundo Riaño. Robinson’s words on the altarpiece put its acquisition into context: Spanish medieval art had begun to be greatly appreciated in France and Britain ca. 1864, partly because of the influence of the French Empress, and partly because of the 19th century’s love affair with the exoticism of Southern Europe. Robinson’s voyages to Spain testify to this allure (exemplified by the V&A’s cast of El Pórtico de la Gloria ). Webb was summoned

Robinson Files, Blythe House

Robinson files, Blythe House, V&A

by Robinson to examine the Altarpiece of Saint George, and his diagnosis was key: the piece was deemed worthy of its asking price. The reports of Juan Facundo Riaño, who wasn’t directly involved in the issue, reveal also a whole world of antique dealers, painters, diplomats and connoisseurs operating in Spain. The reading of bibliography related to the art market in mid 19th-century Europe completed this survey of the vicissitudes of the Saint George Altarpiece. I hope that the outcome of this research will be published soon in a forthcoming paper.

 

Essay prize and Scholarships: Call for Submissions, deadline 15th February 2016

ARTES offers a number of prizes and scholarships, which all have the same deadline of 15th February 2016. Click the links below to find further details:

Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Prize: sponsored by the Embassy of Spain in London, this prize is awarded to the best essay on any aspect of Hispanic visual culture.

ARTES Coll & Cortés Scholarships, in association with the British-Spanish Society. These scholarships are sponsored by art dealers Coll & Cortés, and are aimed at students and researchers working on Hispanic art before 1800

 

Spanish embassy logocollcortes_logoArtes logo

 

ARTES Coll & Cortes 2015 Travel Scholarship report

Maeve O’Donnell, PhD candidate, Courtauld Institute of Art, reports on her travels sponsored by this scholarship

11738044_10104134174208549_4216571105197211521_nThe ARTES Coll y Cortes Travel Scholarship allowed me to complete archival research central to my doctoral thesis. Textual sources have been indispensable to my investigation into thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Castilian altars because many of these altars and their furnishings have been lost or disassembled. By carefully combing through primary sources — many of which have not been published in full and are hidden away in cathedral archives — I have been able to reconstruct a detailed picture of the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century altar from this kingdom. Inventories, wills, receipts, statutes, and letters both describe the objects that made up the altar at this time and point to its various usages. More than a liturgical focal point, altars were sites for the expression of the surrounding communities’ identities. This identity was reflected, for instance, by personal items bequeathed to the altar or through furnishings ornamented with political or royal symbols.

In early 2015, I spent several weeks in the archives of Burgos and Toledo cathedrals. Although I P1030659was able to find useful primary documents at these sites, my thesis would not have properly represented Castilian medieval art without close investigation into Seville cathedral’s thirteenth- and fourteenth-century altars. The ARTES Coll y Cortes Travel Scholarship allowed me to spend three weeks researching in the archive of Seville cathedral. It was especially useful to spend time looking through early modern collections of cathedral statutes in which medieval regulations are cited. The Estatutos y Constituciones de la Santa Iglesia de Sevilla, for instance, contained notes in its margins that identified the medieval sources of some of its entries. Viewing this source firsthand has allowed me to engage more critically with its usage in current scholarship. It was similarly of value to my project to read through a late fourteenth-century set of regulations for the cathedral’s original royal chapel, which described the ceremonies performed around the altar of this important royal tomb. It was also very instructive to conduct this archival research while regularly visiting the cathedral’s works of art. For instance, a striking reliquary cross in the cathedral’s collection has often been connected to documents in the archive that seem to allude to it. Reading through such documents and then visiting the work in person allowed me to appreciate the problems set forth by these textual sources.

A 090Without the help of this travel scholarship, my dissertation would have been limited to northern and central Castile and would have fallen short of capturing the full range of cultural and artistic transformations taking place in this kingdom during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. By comparing extant objects with contemporary descriptions found in documents from the archive of Seville cathedral, my PhD project will provide a comprehensive picture of the medieval Castilian altar and its furnishings so far missing in scholarship on medieval Iberian art.

ARTES Coll & Cortes Scholarships Awards, 6.45pm, Wednesday 28th October 2015. Courtauld Institute of Art

collcortes_logoThe 2015 ARTES Coll & Cortes scholars will be announced at a special drinks reception at the Courtauld Institute of Art on Wednesday 28th October, starting at approximately 6.45pm. The scholarships, generously supported by the art dealers Coll & Cortes, were set up in 2014 in order to encourage and reward young scholars studying visual culture in Spain, Portugal and Latin America.2014-06-Courtauld-Somerset House All are welcome, no need to book.

The deadline for submissions for the 2016 scholarships is 31st January 2016: see further details here.

The ceremony follows the first in a series of lectures on Spanish medieval architecture, also sponsored by Coll & Cortes. Further details here.

Lecture: Eduardo Carrero Santamaria (University of Barcelona), ‘Gothic architecture in 13th- and 14th-century Spain and its historiography’. Courtauld Institute, 5.30pm, 28th October 2015

The first in a series of lectures on Spanish medieval architecture, hosted by the Courtauld Institute, and sponsored by Coll & Cortes

Lamperez, Palencia pierSince the late 19th century, scholarship on 13th– and 14th-century Spanish architecture has largely depended on formal analysis and systems of cataloguing. From this have emerged fundamental studies of cathedrals, including those of Burgos, León and Toledo, of monasteries such as Las Huelgas in Burgos, or of parish churches such as Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona. But what are the premises of such approaches? As interest in gothic architecture wanes amongst early 21st-century art historians, some of Spain’s most significant buildings still lack basic analysis. And yet perhaps the biggest problem is not the absence of studies but their methods, mediated by contemporary contexts.

The lecture is open to all and free to attend, though it is recommended that you arrive by 5.20 in order to secure a seat.

Eduardo Carrero Santamaria is Professor of Art History at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona