Tag Archives: Middle Ages

ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship report: Pablo Ordás (PhD, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 2017)

My name is Pablo Ordás and I was granted an ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship to conduct research in the UK. Thanks to this scholarship I was able to spend three weeks (22/10/2018–10/11/2018) at The British Library, researching Spanish manuscripts closely related to my previous PhD research, dedicated to ‘The Gothic Cloister in the Kingdom of León: Spaces, Destinies and Images’.

dav

British Library, Add Ch 24807. Copyright: British Library

The British Library houses a small but very interesting collection of Spanish charters (Add Ch 24802–24815 & 24819) that date back from the reign of Alfonso IX of León (†1230) to a papal confirmation of Innocent VIII (†1492). Because of my previous research I was especially interested in the two confirmation of privileges granted by Alfonso XI, for different reasons: Add Ch 24805 preserves the lead seal of the king, something exceptional since most of the documents were stripped of their seals in the following centuries; Add Ch 24807 is a confirmation of previous privileges that were confirmed by the king’s father, Fernando IV (†1312) and that date back to his grandfather Sancho IV (†1295). Remarkably, the first 9 lines of the latter document are a series of intitulationes that describe the original documents. Another interesting aspect is that this charter was given during the tutorship of the infantes don Pedro and don Juan, Alfonso XI’s uncle that died in the Disaster of the Vega de Granada in 1319. The rarity of royal confirmations during the minority of age of the king and this first tutoría (1312–1319) make this document exceptional.

dav

Detail of British Library, Add Ch 24807. Copyright: British Library

A real surprise came under the fold at the bottom of the parchment, where the name of Pedro Rendol is mentioned. Pedro Rendol is a somewhat obscure character that paid an important role in the rebellion of 1296 when infante don Juan el de Tarifa (†1319) and Alfonso de la Cerda (†1333) claimed the crowns of León and Castile respectively. Apparently don Juan was crowned at León, with the agreement of the clergy and the city council, thanks, among others, to Pedro Rendol. When the rebellion was suppressed and Fernando IV punished its most important leaders, Pedro Rendol’s possessions were confiscated but he managed to remain a relevant player in Castilian politics. His presence in this royal charter, next to his former patron infant don Juan, proves it.

Add Ch 28406 is the testament of Doña Blanca de Portugal, abbess of the monastery of Las Huelgas de Burgos. I was interested in the fragments of a wax pendant seal that are still attached to the silk threads hanging from the document. The condition of wax seals such as this is generally worse than that of lead seals. This example no exception: the seal is broken and only the upper half is preserved.

Finally, I was able to work with a very remarkable manuscript, the Primera Partida by king Alfonso X (Ms Add 20787). The miniatures of this manuscript have been barely studied and only a monography from the 1970s (Juan Antonio Arias Bonet, Alfonso X el Sabio: Primera Partida según el manuscrito Add. 20.787 del British Museum, Valladolid,  1975) is dedicated to this exceptional book. The volume is illuminated with 26 miniatures, from capital letters (7) to vignettes (19) that are used as visual representations of the following tituli.

Fig. 3

The Law Code of King Alfonso X (‘el Sabio’), Primera Partida, British Library, Add 20787. Copyright: British Library

The book is usually related to the same workshop that illuminated the most famous of Alfonso’s literary productions, the Cantigas de Santa María. However, some questions arise from a study of the manuscript’s miniatures: no traces of the Cantigas’ characteristic frames with royal arms are present in the British Library manuscript; illustrations related to the reigns of Alfonso X’ (1252–1284) and his son Sancho IV (1284–1295), always depict the the king beardless, something that would become common under the reigns of Fernando IV (1295–1312) and Alfonso XI (1312–1350). Could this be a later manuscript that follows the aesthetic path of the Cantigas? A deeper study should be undertaken in order to answer this question. So far we can only attest to the importance of the volume’s iconography and the close relationship between the miniatures and the text.

I am sure that these documents will make my research richer and I will be able to include this information in my future research. The charters related to Alfonso XI and Doña Blanca are of particular importance for the history of León cathedral.

To conclude, I am indebted to Dr. Tom Nickson from The Courtauld Institute for his support and guidance, and for organising the seminar Art, music and ceremony in Medieval Castile at Trinity College (Cambridge, 29/10/2018) while I was in the United Kingdom. Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to ARTES and Coll & Cortés for their generous support, without which this stay would have been impossible.

Advertisements

Conference: Iberian (In)tolerance: Minorities, Cultural Exchanges and Social Exclusion in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era, London, November 8–9, 2018

slid-angelesVenue: Senate House, Bedford Room 37 (8th Nov); Bush House, KCL S2.01 and Instituto Cervantes (9th Nov)

Keynote speakers: Prof Trevor Dadson and Dr Alexander Samson

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, minorities in the Iberian peninsula experienced both peaceful coexistence and, at times, violent intolerance. But despite restrictions, persecutions, and forced conversions, extensive cultural production and exchange among Jews, Christians and Muslims defined the life in towns and cities across the centuries, particularly in Al-Andalus. In this context of religious (in)tolerance, the question of limpieza de sangre (blood purity) played an important role in preventing newly converted Christians from occupying high social positions. Recent approaches have highlighted how the question of limpieza de sangre was not only a matter of anti-Judaism or hostility towards Jews and Moors, but was also driven by personal enmity, ambition, and political interest. Also relevant are a series of political decisions concerning minorities, such as conversos or moriscos, which appeared in the two first decades of the seventeenth century and deeply affected the social climate of the time. This is reflected in literary works from the period, when a number of prominent pieces dealt directly with the issues raised by the political reforms. While some of the decisions are very well studied, such as the expulsion of the moriscos in 1609 and 1610, others such as the issue of the Pardons, in which the both Duke of Lerma and the Count-Duke of Olivares were involved, are less well known. It is clear that these circumstances affected the lives of many authors, their poetic trajectories and determined their voices and their works.

Click here for a full programme and here to book tickets

Organisers: Roser López Cruz (King’s College London) and Virginia Ghelarducci (School of Advanced Study)

Conference website: https://iberianintolerance.com

Call for Articles: The Iberian Peninsula under Debate: Historiography, Cultural Encounters and Identities (5th-16th centuries)

 

3fdd18_e3c4b86dab8c4e8eba5b868b2c2d518cmv2

A Sé Velha de Coimbra, por Roque Gameiro (1917)

Roda da Fortuna. Revista Eletrônica sobre Antiguidade e Medievo (Electronic Journal about Antiquity and Middle Ages) seeks submission for a thematic dossier, “The Iberian Peninsula under Debate: Historiography, Cultural Encounters and Identities (5th-16th centuries).”

 

Heiress of the Hispanic-Visigothic tradition, the territorial organization of the Iberian Peninsula was the result of a singular historical reality. The Muslims’ invasion of the region in the 8th century intensified the cultural heterogeneity already existing in the region, adding to political-religious conflicts and an ever-changing border. This state of hostility and also, at various moments, of interaction solidified in the experience of Al-Andalus. This peculiar region offers an important and broad interpretative possibility. With the advance of the Christian frontier after the formation of the Portuguese kingdom and the conquests of Cordova (1236) and Seville (1248), the map of the Peninsula changed definitively.

This thematic dossier intends to gather articles that discuss the Iberian experience during the Middle Ages, up to what has been defined as “maritime expansion” in modern historiography. Encompassing multiple research possibilities and varied approaches in such fields as representations, identities, and religious confessions, the debates on the Iberian worlds constitute an enormous challenge to the historian.

The deadline for submitting articles, reviews, and translations are:
– Submission of proposals: until April 30, 2019
– Acceptance of works: July 2019
– Dossier published: August 2019

Proposals must be sent to the e-mail: revistarodadafortuna@gmail.com 

Click here for more information.

 

The Maius Workshop’s Second Meeting: Sacred Encounters, 11 December 2017 6-7:30pm, The Courtauld Institute of Art

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 Maius Workshop is kindly supported by ARTES.

The first meeting of the Maius Workshop took place in October at the Warburg Institute. The Maius Workshop’s second meeting will take place on Monday 11 December 2017 from 6.00 to 7.30 pm at the Research Forum Seminar Room of the Courtauld Institute.

We hope attendees will share documents, images and problems from their research related to this topic. While some members have already volunteered to present their research, there are still a few spaces left for informal presentations of 5 to 10 minutes. If you would like to present material from your research, please get in touch with us by Friday 8 December. 

If you are interested in presenting your evidence, please drop us an email by Friday 8 December. You can present your evidence in Powerpoint or handout format. If you would like us to print out your evidence to share with the group, please email it to us by Saturday 9. Secondary readings for discussion are also very welcome.

Otherwise, please come along for a lively discussion!

If you are planning to attend this event, please register on Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-maius-workshop-2nd-meeting-11-december-2017-tickets-39407191972

If you wish to contact us please use our email address, maiusworkshop@gmail.com

For more info visit: https://maiusworkshop.wordpress.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/groups/120148888676292/

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.

courtauldlogo

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