Tag Archives: History

ARTES Coll & Cortés Scholarship report: Sylvia Alvares-Correa (PhD Candidate, University of Oxford)

By Sylvia Alvares-Correa

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Joos van Cleve (attr.)
The Annunciation
1512-1520
Oil on oak panel
Museu de Arte Sacra do Funchal, inv. MASF35

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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.

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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).

 

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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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Featured Exhibition: Fortuny (1838-1874), Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, until 18 March 2018

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Mariano Fortuny,
Idyll, 1868, watercolour and gouache on paper, Museo Nacional del Prado

The Museo Nacional del Prado has recently opened an exhibition on Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1838-1874). This artist, who achieved international renown in the last third of the 19th century, was a skilled painter and draughtsman who excelled in watercolour. He was also a graphic artist and a passionate collector of antiquities.
As with previous monographic exhibitions held at the Prado, Mariano Fortuny (1838-1874) offers a reassessment of the artist’s finest works, drawn from both the the Prado’s extensive holdings and from international lenders, including the more than 30 rarely-seen works from the Museo Fortuny in Venice.

Click here for more information.

 

Deadline 15 November: The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 23rd Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium: Collecting (in) the Middle Ages (6th-16th century), 16 February 2018

HolyofHoliesReliquaryCall for papers: The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 23rd Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium: Collecting (in) the Middle Ages, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 16 February 2017
Deadline: 15 November 2017

The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 23rd Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium invites speakers to consider the nature of medieval collections, the context of their creation and fruition, and their legacy — or disappearance — in the present.

Inspired by objects such as a cedar box chest once kept in the Holy of Holies of the Lateran, this colloquium seeks to explore a diverse set of topics surrounding medieval practices of collecting. This wooden box may seem simple, but once opened it reveals a priceless collection: fragments of rock and wood from the Holy Land, each labelled with its precise place of origin by a sixth-century hand. Here and there, stones have fallen out, leaving imprints in the soil. The wooden relic chest is an object of small size and almost no material value, but has nevertheless been treasured for centuries by one of the largest and most powerful institutions of the medieval world.

The study of medieval collecting raises a variety of questions. How and why were objects collected, practically and conceptually? What was their expected time-span and what enabled their survival? How have medieval collections impacted modern scholarship, and how do modern collecting and display practices influence our interpretation of the past?

Applicants to the colloquium are encouraged to explore these issues from a diverse range of methodologies, analysing objects from the 6th to the 16th century and from a wide-ranging geographical span. Possible areas of discussion might include:

  • Collecting through time: How do we define the medieval collection/collector? How did medieval objects take on new meanings in medieval collections, ie. in the case of spolia? How has scholarship on medieval art been influenced by varying collecting practices and curatorial strategies across time?
  • Collecting in space: can the idea of the ‘collection’ be expanded to include objects, places and spaces spread across different geographical locales? Could objects or spaces communicate their commonality across a distance? How did pilgrimage routes, travel narratives and travel guides conceptualize their surroundings and weave a thread through geographical and historical difference?
  • Collectors, intermediaries, and craftsmen: how did institutions and single collectors acquire and expand their collections? For example, did they rely on a merchant network to acquire foreign objects or new relics? Did they collect newly commissioned objects, and display them in purpose-built spaces?
  • Collections and Legacies: how did inheritance impact the notion of collecting, looking forwards as well backwards? How did the meaning of objects change as they were passed down through families and dynasties? What happened to collections when familial lines ended? How did individuals link themselves to courts or dynasties through collections?
  • Accessibility: When, how and why were collections visible? Were there different levels of accessibility and interaction and who was allowed to ‘access all areas’? How were restricted collections advertised and open collections protected? And did objects themselves interact with each other, for example in specific displays or assemblages?
  • Organising Collections: What were the systems for assembling a collection, and for how they were curated? How did purpose-built spaces impact the growth of collections, and vice-versa? What were the roles of documents in collections, and how have medieval recording practices influenced modern views of the medieval collection?

The Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium offers an opportunity for research students at all levels from universities across the UK and abroad to present, discuss and promote their research. To apply, please send a proposal of up to 250 words for a 20 minute paper, together with a CV, to costanza.beltrami@courtauld.ac.uk and maggie.crosland@courtauld.ac.uk no later than 15 November 2017.

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Symposium: El Greco to Goya: Spanish Masterpieces from The Bowes Museum

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Please click here to book a ticket

Introducing the Maius Workshop

Morgan Beatus Angel Sun Rev 19The Maius Workshop is an interdisciplinary group that brings together graduate students and early career scholars dealing with Hispanic art (broadly considered to include literature, theatre, music, etc.) and history from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Period. The aim of the Maius Workshop is to encourage dialogue among specialists in different stages of their academic life and to provide a forum for discussing methods of information gathering and research news. The group is kindly supported by ARTES.

The workshop is named after the tenth-century painter of the Morgan Beatus manuscript as it wishes to create an interdisciplinary space where scholars of art and history can interact. Through a series of reading group meetings, the Workshop aims to bring together young researchers tackling the study of Hispanic culture and history and to create a strong network of specialists of Medieval and Early Modern Iberia and Latin America.

Thanks to the new connections that the group will create, the meetings will develop current research rather than present finished projects. The group’s activities are directed to the diffusion of the interest in Iberian and Latin American cultural creations, with the long-term aim of establishing a permanent community open to all students of Hispanic art and history.

The Maius Workshop’s first meeting will take place on Monday 16 October at 6 pm at the Warburg Institute. This will be an informal meeting and an opportunity to meet postgraduate researchers with similar interests, to discuss how these interests can be drawn together in a reading group setting. The meeting is open to MA, PhD and early career researchers. Refreshments will be provided.

If you are interested in the activities of this research group or would like to attend the meeting, please fill in this form

Featured Exhibition: The Museum and Roman Temple of Cordoba: History of a Restoration

cartel el peloThe Museum and Roman Temple of Cordoba: History of a Restoration, Archeological Museum of Cordoba, closes 24 September 2017.

Intended to celebrate the Museum’s 150th anniversary, this display focuses on the most important Roman monument in the city, whose architectural and sculptural fragments have formed part of the Museum’s  collections since its early history. The exhibition also includes archival documents, sketches, plans and notes made by the mid-nineteenth century excavators of the Roman temple.

 

News from the MNAC

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya has made two major acquisition during the summer.

baudiliusAt an auction held in Barcelona on 31 May 2017 they acquired a panel painting representing the Decapitation of Saint Baudilus, painted by Lluís Dalmau for the old Gothic high altarpiece in the parish church of Sant Boi de Llobregat (Baix Llobregat), one of the few works by the painter to have been conserved.
Lluís Dalmau was one of the principal artists working in Barcelona in the mid 15th century, and was employed at the court of King Alfonso IV. There are only two surviving documented works by this outstanding painter: the famous Virgin of the “Consellers”, made between 1443 and 1445, and the altarpiece from Sant Boi, dated to 1448. The Museu Nacional was able to purchase this exceptional work thanks to a donation by the Palarq Foundation. It will certainly become a well-loved masterpiece of the Museum’s impressive collection of Catalan Gothic painting.

maspons_x1500_caThey also acquired 200 photographs by Catalan photographer Oriol Maspons (Barcelona, 1928-2013), thanks to the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation. The new acquisition will enable the organisation of a major retrospective dedicated to this photographer in 2019. Moreover, the generosity of the Nando and Elsa Peretti fundation will enable researchers to study the over 7000 photographs and other photographic material deposited at the Museum by the photographer in 2010.