Tag Archives: Medieval

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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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

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

Lecture: Tom Nickson on ‘Sensing the Holy: Architecture and the Senses in Medieval and Early Modern Spain’

10-toledo-cathedral-11The London Society for Medieval Studies is hosting a lecture on Tuesday, January 24th at 7.00pm by:

Tom Nickson (The Courtauld Institute of Art) presenting on: ‘Sensing the Holy: Architecture and the Senses in Medieval and Early Modern Spain’.

Wolfson Room (NB01), IHR Basement, Senate House (located on Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU).

All those who are interested in Medieval Studies are very welcome to attend!

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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ARTES private visit to the V&A’s Opus Anglicanum exhibition, 9am, Weds 14 December

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The Toledo Cope (detail), copyright Toledo, Tesoro de la Catedral, Museo de Tapices y Textiles de la Catedral

 

The stunning exhibition of medieval English embroidery at the Victoria & Albert Museum includes several pieces long held in Spanish treasuries, including two wonderful copes from Toledo and Daroca. Curator Glyn Davies has kindly offered to take ARTES members on a private visit to the exhibition on Wednesday 14th December at 9am (ie before the exhibition opens to the public at 10am). Tom Nickson (ARTES Vice-Chair) will also speak briefly about how these English embroideries came to Spain, and their fate thereafter.

 

This event is open to ARTES members only. To join us (£35/£20) see details here. Members can confirm a place by emailing artesiberia@gmail.com, and should arrive at the V&A’s Secretariat Gate by 8.50am (NB, latecomers cannot be admitted).

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