Tag Archives: Collecting

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Madrid’s Palacio de Liria to Become a Museum

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828), The Duchess of Alba in White, 1795. Oil on canvas. Colección Duques de Alba


As reported by El País and other Spanish newspapers, the Liria Palace, residence of the Dukes of Alba and home to Spain’s most important private collection, is being transformed into a museum and will soon open to the public every day of the week.

Touring from Madrid to Dallas, the recent exhibition Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting (Meadows Museum, 2015–16) has familiarised the public with masterpieces from this unparalleled collection. Yet the opening of a museum in the Liria Palace will allow visitors to experience the artworks in the spaces for which they were commissioned and collected.

Unlike such nearby collections as the Cerralbo o Lázaro Galdiano, the palace will continue to function as a residence. Works will be displayed according to the wishes of the last duchess of Alba, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva (1926–2014), who oversaw the partial opening of the palace to the public in 1975.

The museum’s opening date has not yet been announced.

New Publications from the CEEH

El camarín del desengaño. Juan de Espina, coleccionista y curioso del siglo XVII, by Pedro Reula Baquero, 2019

Juan de Espina Velasco (1583−1642), a nobleman of Madrid and cleric of minor orders, has gone down in history – initially as the unwitting protagonist of two eighteenth-century magical plays by the dramatist José de Cañizares and subsequently, in the twentieth century, as the enigmatic and jealous owner of the Leonoardo da Vinci manuscripts now in the Biblioteca Nacional de España. His early fame as a necromancer comes from rumours that circulated in his own day about the entertaining scientific activities he organised in his home in the form of natural magic shows, where, making use of a certain amount of technology, he put the audience’s credulity to the test. He also set out to bring back the lost genre of enharmonic music, which ordered the music scale perfectly and mathematically and with which the ancient musicians were said to work wonders on men’s nature and state of mind. In addition to the Leonardo codices, his home housed an exquisite collection of books, paintings, precious metalwork and ivory pieces – objects classified as naturalia and artificialia, which made up what we would now call a cabinet of curiosities, commonly known in Spain as a camarín.

Click here to save 10% on this book until April 15 (Pre-sale coupon code: ESPINA)

Nacer en palacio. El ritual del nacimiento en la corte de los Austrias by María Cruz de Carlos Varona, 2018

Motherhood, which stands at a disciplinary crossroads, has become a historiographic subject in its own right. It has gone from being viewed as an exclusively biological circumstance to being considered a key social factor in shaping the historical identity of the queens of Spain. This book analyses the ‘ritual’ surrounding the birth of royal offspring at the Spanish court between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the role played by queens, ladies-in-waiting and midwives in a cultural system based on a series of rites performed before and after childbirth.


El coleccionismo de pintura en Madrid durante el siglo XIX by Pedro J. Martínez Plaza, 2018

This book examines the private collecting of painting in Madrid during the nineteenth century and the mercantile structure that underpinned it. The author analyses more than 140 private collections and studies the presence, development and running of shops, fairs, markets, estate sales, antique dealers and art galleries, many of them hitherto unknown, as well as surveying the role of the foreign collectors and artists and restorers who acted as advisors, intermediaries, sellers, promoters and agents.

Click here to visit the CEEH website

CFP: Canons and Repertoires: Constructing the Visual Arts in the Hispanic World, Durham University, 20–21 June 2019, deadline 31 March!

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The visual arts in Spain have long been haunted by the spectres of six giants: El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya and Picasso. Still today, these canonical figures tower over all others and continue to shape the story of Spanish art, which has been traditionally told in monographic form. Although the strength of the Spanish canon has informed different disciplines (literature, aesthetics, performing arts), given the recent ‘material turn’, the prosopographical dimension of the visual arts in Spain poses a disciplinary challenge. Similarly, following the ‘global turn’, the visual arts of Iberia pose a geographical challenge, intersecting with the Mediterranean, Arabic, Latin American, British and continental European worlds. The notions of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanish art’, therefore, are necessarily nebulous and problematic, raising a host of questions: To what extent does Spanish art exist before the establishment of Spain as a nation state? To what extent is the art of the Habsburg and Bourbon empires a Spanish art outside Spain? What is the role of Spain in the wider canon of European art? Who has exploited the visual arts of the Hispanic world, geographically, politically and intellectually? These questions ultimately point to a tension between canons and repertoires; between centres and peripheries; and between consolidating the ‘core’ and expanding the ‘remit’ of the so-called Spanish school.

This conference will explode the disciplinary, material and geographical limits of Spanish art, inaugurating the Zurbarán Centre as a critical and innovative research institution for the study of Spanish and Latin American art in the twenty-first century. Papers may challenge the canonical construction of Spanish art, which can be traced back to writings from Palomino’s Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors (1724) to Stirling Maxwell’s Annals of the Artists of Spain (1848), to more recent publications by scholars in the field. Papers may also probe the chronological, geographical and material boundaries of the ‘El Greco to Goya’ survey, interrogating the ways in which academics, curators, scholars and teachers narrate this material through various platforms, including publications, museum displays, exhibitions, lectures, gallery talks and academic courses. Speakers are encouraged to address the various ‘terrains’ of Spanish art, from geographical constructions of Iberia as Europe’s frontier or edge, to exchange with all that lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:

  • What is ‘Spanish art’?
  • Who are the cultural stakeholders of Spanish art?
  • What are the discords between regional, national, anti-national and transnational narratives of Spanish art, for example in museum collections and displays?
  • How does Spanish art feature in diplomatic exchanges?
  • Collections of Spanish art as an ‘imprint’ of Spain, and the role of foreign collections in disseminating Spanish art as a distinct school
  • Spain at the intersection of Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures
  • Copies, quotations and appropriations of Spanish art
  • Languages and literatures: strategies of describing, narrating and translating Spain in word and image
  • Performing ‘Spanishness’ in the arts, including music, theatre and film
  • Spanish discourses in aesthetics
  • Spanish art beyond Iberia
  • Mobility and portability of Spanish art
  • Travel and discovery: geographies, centres, peripheries and liminal spaces
  • Legacies: textual and visual responses to Spain abroad
  • Eschewing binaries: high and low, sacred and secular, medieval and renaissance
  • Writing againstthe canon: filling gaps, promoting underdogs, navigating uncharted territories

Specialists of Spanish arts, artistic communication and exchange, as well as experts of other regions are invited to discuss the role and definition of Spain in their own disciplines. Presentations may be delivered in English or Spanish. Please send paper titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words, together with a CV and 150-word biography, to Dr Edward Payne by 31 March 2019: edward.a.payne@durham.ac.uk.

CFP: Canons and Repertoires: Constructing the Visual Arts in the Hispanic World, Durham University, 20–21 June 2019 

CANONS AND REPERTOIRES: Constructing the Visual Arts in the Hispanic World, Durham University, 20–21 June 2019 

The visual arts in Spain have long been haunted by the spectres of six giants: El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya and Picasso. Still today, these canonical figures tower over all others and continue to shape the story of Spanish art, which has been traditionally told in monographic form. Although the strength of the Spanish canon has informed different disciplines (literature, aesthetics, performing arts), given the recent ‘material turn’, the prosopographical dimension of the visual arts in Spain poses a disciplinary challenge. Similarly, following the ‘global turn’, the visual arts of Iberia pose a geographical challenge, intersecting with the Mediterranean, Arabic, Latin American, British and continental European worlds. The notions of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanish art’, therefore, are necessarily nebulous and problematic, raising a host of questions: To what extent does Spanish art exist before the establishment of Spain as a nation state? To what extent is the art of the Habsburg and Bourbon empires a Spanish art outside Spain? What is the role of Spain in the wider canon of European art? Who has exploited the visual arts of the Hispanic world, geographically, politically and intellectually? These questions ultimately point to a tension between canons and repertoires; between centres and peripheries; and between consolidating the ‘core’ and expanding the ‘remit’ of the so-called Spanish school.

This conference will explode the disciplinary, material and geographical limits of Spanish art, inaugurating the Zurbarán Centre as a critical and innovative research institution for the study of Spanish and Latin American art in the twenty-first century. Papers may challenge the canonical construction of Spanish art, which can be traced back to writings from Palomino’s Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors (1724) to Stirling Maxwell’s Annals of the Artists of Spain (1848), to more recent publications by scholars in the field. Papers may also probe the chronological, geographical and material boundaries of the ‘El Greco to Goya’ survey, interrogating the ways in which academics, curators, scholars and teachers narrate this material through various platforms, including publications, museum displays, exhibitions, lectures, gallery talks and academic courses. Speakers are encouraged to address the various ‘terrains’ of Spanish art, from geographical constructions of Iberia as Europe’s frontier or edge, to exchange with all that lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:

  • What is ‘Spanish art’?
  • Who are the cultural stakeholders of Spanish art?
  • What are the discords between regional, national, anti-national and transnational narratives of Spanish art, for example in museum collections and displays?
  • How does Spanish art feature in diplomatic exchanges?
  • Collections of Spanish art as an ‘imprint’ of Spain, and the role of foreign collections in disseminating Spanish art as a distinct school
  • Spain at the intersection of Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures
  • Copies, quotations and appropriations of Spanish art
  • Languages and literatures: strategies of describing, narrating and translating Spain in word and image
  • Performing ‘Spanishness’ in the arts, including music, theatre and film
  • Spanish discourses in aesthetics
  • Spanish art beyond Iberia
  • Mobility and portability of Spanish art
  • Travel and discovery: geographies, centres, peripheries and liminal spaces
  • Legacies: textual and visual responses to Spain abroad
  • Eschewing binaries: high and low, sacred and secular, medieval and renaissance
  • Writing againstthe canon: filling gaps, promoting underdogs, navigating uncharted territories

Specialists of Spanish arts, artistic communication and exchange, as well as experts of other regions are invited to discuss the role and definition of Spain in their own disciplines. Presentations may be delivered in English or Spanish. Please send paper titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words, together with a CV and 150-word biography, to Dr Edward Payne by 31 March 2019: edward.a.payne@durham.ac.uk.

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.

Clark Fellowships: CENTER FOR SPAIN IN AMERICA FELLOWSHIP, The Clark, deadline October 15, 2018

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The Clark Art Institute combines a public art museum with a complex of research and academic programs, including a major art history library. The Clark is an international center for discussion on the nature of art and its history.

Fellowships are awarded every year to established and promising scholars with the aim of fostering a critical commitment to inquiry in the theory, history, and interpretation of art and visual culture. In addition to providing an opportunity for sustained research for fellows, outside of their usual professional obligations, the Clark encourages them to participate in a variety of collaborative and public discussions on diverse art historical topics as well as on larger questions and motivations that shape the practice of art history.

Sponsored by the Center for Spain in America, this one-semester fellowship is intended to support the study of all aspects of Spanish art from the early medieval period to the beginning of the twentieth century, as well as the worldwide impact of Spanish art and artists. In addition to research for a publication and/or exhibition on specific artists or periods, we welcome projects examining collecting and connoisseurship of Spanish art—particularly in the Americas—and the influence and importance of Spanish art and its reception throughout the world.

Deadline: October 15, 2018

Click here for more information