Tag Archives: London

ARTES Coll y Cortés 2017 post-doctoral scholarship report: Dr Francisco de Asís García García, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

 

Fig. 2. Woven silk fragments. Victoria and Albert Museum, 275 and 275A-1894

Woven silk fragments. Victoria and Albert Museum inv. 275 and 275A-1894

I have carried out a three-month fellowship in London from March 1st to May 31st, 2017, conducting research in several museums, libraries and academic institutions of the city. My main goal was to study a selection of textiles from the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion (FTF) Department of the Victoria & Albert Museum. I have undertaken this work as an Erasmus + Visiting Fellow at the V&A’s Research Department in collaboration with the Marie S.-Curie project Interwoven (no. 703711) led by Dr Ana Cabrera Lafuente. Dr Cabrera acted as my fellowship’s supervisor and this granted me the opportunity of working closely to a specialist. Thanks to this, I have acquired new knowledge and methodological skills in the field of textiles.

Fig. 1. Working session at V&A Clothworkers' Centre

Working session at the V&A’s Clothworker’s Centre

I based my study on the examination of raw materials, weaving techniques, decorative patterns and iconography of textile fragments and ecclesiastical vestments related to Medieval and Early-modern Iberia. These pieces were selected in accordance with the interests of the Interwoven project and my own. The research also paid attention to the dispersion of connected fragments and pieces among different institutions and collections, identifying them through a comparison of their catalogues and online databases. The reading of records and files held at the V&A’s Archive related to acquisitions from Spain in the early decades of the Museum helped me to complete the biographical information of certain pieces. The physical examination of the textiles was carried out with Dr Cabrera at the Clothworkers’ Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion, while the bibliographical and writing work took place at the V&A’s FTF Department. This research will allow the Museum to update their textile collections’ data and widen the scope of information accessible on the Museum’s own database and its online version ‘Search the Collections’.

Fig. 3. The Warburg Institute Library. 1st floor

The Warburg Library, first floor

Beyond my work at V&A, I was able to devote a few daily hours to library research at the Warburg Institute, SOAS, and the British Library. During these sessions, I dedicated my time to the gathering of bibliographical material for an ongoing study on the role of textiles in the fashioning of clerical dignity and the valuation of the ecclesiastical space during the central Middle Ages in Iberia. I presented the preliminary results of this research during the ‘Work in Progress Seminars’ held in the V&A’s Research Department with a talk entitled ‘Ecclesiastical textiles and vestments from Medieval Iberia: promoting the clergy and shaping sacred space in a reforming church’ (May 2nd, 2017). Moreover, the access to the bibliographical resources held at these institutions enabled me to update and enrich the contents and critical apparatus of the forthcoming publication of my PhD dissertation, focused on the Romanesque sculpture of the Cathedral of Jaca.

During my stay in London I was pleased to attend conferences on Medieval Iberian art and Islamic studies, particularly the symposium ‘Gothic Architecture in Spain: Invention and Imitation’ (The Courtauld Institute of Art, March 16th, 2017) and the workshop ‘Researching the Islamic State: New Challenges and Opportunities’ (UCL, March 28-29th, 2017), as well as lectures and seminars on Medieval sculpture, Late Gothic fashion and Arabic palaeography –among other topics– at The Courtauld and SOAS. I was also able to exchange ideas with scholars specialising in textiles and in Spanish Medieval Art as Drs Lesley Miller, Tom Nickson, Rose Walker, Kirstin Kennedy and Nicola Jennings, and benefit from their advice and research experience.

By Dr Francisco de Asís García García, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Book Launch – Art in Spain & Portugal from the Romans to the Early Middle Ages by Rose Walker

ARTES member Dr Rose Walker of the Courtauld Institute of Art has recently launched her latest book on early art in the Iberian Peninsula. A discount is available to those ARTES members who would like to buy a copy. Please contact artesiberia@gmail.com for details.

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Scholarship report from Ana Hernández, winner of the 2014 ARTES Coll y Cortes Scholarships for students wishing to conduct research in the UK

© The British Library Board, Ms. Add. 39924 f. 9v

© The British Library Board, Ms. Add. 39924 f. 9v

The research undertaken in the United Kingdom thanks to the ARTES / Coll&Cortés scholarship has been included in the framework of my doctoral thesis, ‘Tradition and copy in biblical manuscript illumination in the Iberian Peninsula. The Bibles of San Isidoro de León (1162) and San Millán de la Cogolla (ca. 1200)’, supervised by Dr. José Luis Senra at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

The main body of research had already been completed before being awarded the scholarship: I had thoroughly examined the Bibles of San Isidoro de León and San Millán de la Cogolla, which form the core of the project, as well as their model, the 10th-century Bible of San Isidoro. I had also been able to analyse many other Iberian and French 12th-century manuscripts in order to establish possible influences. Still, the work I carried out in London has allowed me to deepen my understanding of manuscript illumination in Romanesque Europe in general, and of the scriptorium of San Isidoro de León in particular.

Firstly, in order to unveil foreign influences at work on these Spanish Bibles and assess their place in the history of medieval book illustration, I needed to study objects from all over Europe. In this process, the examination of codices preserved in British libraries was the most important task to accomplish due to the strong connections between Spain and England in the 12th century. At that time, artists and workshops travelled from one territory to the other following the path of aristocrats, clergymen and royals such as queen Eleanor Plantagenet, who married the Castilian king Alfonso VIII in 1177. Clear artistic links, such as the involvement of some of the painters from the Winchester Bible on the murals of the chapter house of Sigena, were an important starting point when tackling this issue. Therefore, I needed to look at 12th-century English manuscripts, mainly Bibles such as the ones from Lambeth, Rochester or Bury Saint Edmunds, to assess their possible influence on the Isidorian and Emilianense manuscripts. Furthermore, the British Library preserves some very important illuminated biblical codices dated around the same time as the Leonese and Riojan Bibles from outside England, such as the Bibles from Parc Abbey, Arnstein, or Floreffe, which I had to see.

The comparative analysis I undertook was focused on style, but also looked at iconography and compositions. This study verified the existence of general correspondences between late Romanesque Spanish and European manuscript illustration. However, the parallels do not apply to the details in the Isidorian and Emilianense Bibles, suggesting that there was no direct interdependence between our miniaturists and English and Flemish workshops, as has been otherwise established in relation to French illumination.

© The British Library Board, Ms. Add. 39924 f. 10r

© The British Library Board, Ms. Add. 39924 f. 10r

The other task I carried out thanks to the scholarship was the analysis of a Sacramentary, British Library, Add. Ms. 39924, the only production of the Isidorian scriptorium currently outside the canonry’s library. In order to carry out a complete study of the workshop in San Isidoro de León in the second half of the 12th century, I needed to examine this manuscript commonly ascribed to it. The codex, made around 1187, was explored from the codicological and palaeographical points of view to verify its origin, and its two full-page miniatures of the Crucifixion and Maiestas were also closely scrutinised.

These observations showed that this work is similar to the other codices issued by the Leonese scriptorium, thus supporting its ascription to it. Quite simple in its decoration, it has been rebound more than once, in view of the current disorder of the quires, which appear in a very chaotic sequence, and the loss of many folios. The analysis of the two illustrations (ff. 9v-10r) and the simple decorated initial (f. 41v), has confirmed its date in the late 12th century. The fact that the style displayed in the two full-page miniatures has no counterpart in any of the other codices made in San Isidoro, corroborated how this scriptorium had to resort to external miniaturists’ workshops to decorate their manuscripts, an instance previously evidenced in the 1162 Bible. Thus, the information gathered from the study of this Sacramentary has confirmed some of my findings about the scriptorium in the Real Colegiata de San Isidoro de León.

In conclusion, the work carried out thanks to the ARTES / Coll&Cortés scholarship has been crucial for the understanding of the place held by the Romanesque Bibles from San Isidoro de León and San Millán de la Cogolla in the wider field of European illumination in the second half of the 12th century. Moreover, it has helped me understand how the scriptorium in San Isidoro de León worked, thus lending weight to the interpretation of data carried out in my doctoral thesis.

Exhibition: Goya portraits: National Gallery, London

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Forthcoming exhibition:
Goya Portraits
National Gallery, London
Wed 7 October 2015 – Sun 10 January 2016

The first exhibition in the UK to focus solely on Goya’s portraits. It will look at a wide range of works across his career, from official commissions depicting monarchs and generals through to informal images capturing close friends and colleagues. Among them, court servants in Madrid,such as Andrés del Peral (c.1797), who was appointed guilder to the court of Charles III in 1785, only a year before Goya’s own appointment as court painter. The exhibition will present new research on the artist and sitters by its curator Xavier Bray, Chief Curator, Dulwich Picture Gallery and ARTES member.

Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Prize: 2015 winners announced

Catherine of AustriaArtes is delighted to announce the winners of the 2015 Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Prize. First prize is awarded to Rebekah Lee, a PhD student at the University of York, for her essay ‘Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal and the Courtly Portrayal of Middle Age’. The runner up prize goes to Iñigo Basarrate González de Audikana, a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. His essay is entitled ‘The Discovery of Spanish Christian Architecture’. Artes offers its congratulations to the authors for two excellent essays. The prizes were awarded at a special awards ceremony at the Spanish Embassy in London on Thursday 26th March.

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The winners with Mr Fidel López Álvarez, Minister Counsellor for Cultural and Scientific Affairs, and Dr Tom Nickson, Chair of Artes. Photo: http://www.photolorenzohernandez.com