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ARTES Coll&Cortes travel scholarship report: Ana Dias, PhD Candidate at Durham University

Fig 1 Biblioteca Nacional de EspañaThe ARTES Coll&Cortes travel scholarship granted me the opportunity to travel to Spain to examine three illustrated copies of Beatus of Liébana’s Commentarium in Apocalypsin (generally known as Beatus) on which my doctoral thesis is grounded.

My research concerns the production, illumination and impact of the Beatus manuscripts, with particular focus on the analysis of the text and image relationship. In this investigation I consider five specimens – the Beatus of Morgan, Valcavado, Urgell, Facundus and Silos – that form a particular group known as ‘family IIa’, which present remarkable textual and iconographic affinities. Moreover, these specimens also stand amongst the most lavishly illuminated copies within this tradition, thereby offering us rich material for an enquiry into questions of artistic production.

The careful and objective analysis of their differences and similarities, set against the general panorama of illustrated Apocalypses in the early medieval west, will therefore provide new evidence not only about the conceptualisation of their imagery but also concerning scribal and artistic practices in medieval Iberia.

One of the main subjects under investigation is the use of colour in the Beatus IIa miniatures. Through this analysis I aim to shed new light on how illuminators responded to the literary sources they were illustrating – Revelation and, to a more limited extent, Beatus of Liébana’s own commentary – themselves rich in colour references. Given that most of my prior research had been conducted through the observation of facsimile editions and other surrogates, it was crucial to examine the manuscripts at first hand, as even the best editions do not reproduce the material and chromatic qualities of the original works accurately enough for a study of this nature. For this reason, and having already examined the Morgan and the Silos Beatus (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.644; London, British Library, Add MS 11695, respectively), travelling to Spain to consult in situ the Beatus of Facundus (Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS Vitrina 14-2), Valcavado (Valladolid, Biblioteca de la Universidad, MS 433) and Urgell (Museu Diocesá de La Seu d’Urgell, Num. Inv. 501) was essential.

I began my research trip at the Biblioteca Nacional de España, in Madrid, where I examined the Facundus copy: an exquisite specimen commissioned by Fernando I and his wife Sancha in 1047.My main aim was to check the exact nature of its palette and pigment application, the employment of metallic inks and other general aspects of production and use, such as make up, collation and marginalia. Following my examination of this manuscript, I dedicated some days to a further exploration of the bibliographical resources of the BNE, focusing on secondary material that cannot be found in libraries in the United Kingdom.

Fig 3 Biblioteca Histórica de Santa Cruz Valladolid

My next destination was the university city of Valladolid, where the Beatus of Valcavado is held at the Biblioteca Histórica de Santa Cruz, as part of the university’s collection of historic manuscripts. As stated in its colophon, this manuscript was produced by the scribe Obeco in 970; however, no information concerning its centre of production or the nature of its commission is offered. With the diligent assistance of the library staff, I conducted a similar examination of this manuscript. I was particularly struck by the differences in its colour scheme in relation to its counterparts as well as by some particular choices of pigments in relation to the iconography.

Fig2 Biblioteca Histórica de Santa Cruz Valladolid

Fig 5 View from the Archivo Diocesano de Urgell to the natural parc del CadíIn order to examine the last manuscript in this group I had to travel to the Catalonian town of La Seu d’Urgell, located in the foothills of the Pyrenees. En route, I had the opportunity to visit the Cathedral treasury Museum of Girona where another Beatus copy is kept. While not being one of my primary sources (as it is part of another family within the tradition), seeing the Girona Beatus in exhibition was nevertheless very instructive as it enabled me to think more critically about colour use in early Iberian illumination more broadly.

Subsequently, I concluded my research trip in the Archivo Diocesano de Urgell where I inspected the Urgell Beatus: a copy of uncertain origin but which has been dated to the end of the tenth century on palaeographical and artistic grounds. The examination of this manuscript was surprising: despite being generally considered as a more humble specimen, its palette is composed of rich and vibrant bright colours. As in the case of Valcavado, this manuscript too shows some telling individual responses to the use of colour in relation to the iconography.Fig4 Archivo Diocesano de La Seu d'Urgell

Thus, the first-hand examination of these three Beatus was essential in order to confirm and refine the research conducted to date, and it has given me a greater insight into the material and chromatic properties of these specimens. It has also enabled me to conclude that, despite their relatively distinctive colour schemes, they also share evident patterns of colour use – an aspect which raises more questions concerning not only the artistic tradition but also about the nature of these images.

From a more technical perspective, this research trip has also allowed me to learn about the conservation policies of different libraries and archives, which is invaluable knowledge for someone working in the field of manuscript studies.

I am most grateful to ARTES and Coll&Cortes for their continuing support to my research and for giving me the opportunity and the privilege to conduct this investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

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CFP: Wider Worlds: Art and Audience Under the Spanish Crown, The Frick Collection, New York, April 5, 2018

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Call for Papers: 
Wider Worlds: Art and Audience Under the Spanish Crown, The Frick Collection, New York, April 5, 2018
Deadline: Dec 12, 2017

Symposium
The Frick Collection, New York

The Frick Collection is pleased to invite submissions for “Wider Worlds: Art and Audience under the Spanish Crown,” a public symposium inspired by the special exhibition Zurbarán: Jacob and His Twelve Sons, Paintings from Auckland Castle (January 31 to April 22, 2018). Co-organized with the Meadows Museum, in Dallas, where the paintings are currently on view, this exhibition marks the first time that Francisco de Zurbarán’s set of thirteen monumental canvases depicting the family of the biblical prophet Jacob will be displayed in the Americas.

Zurbarán’s paintings were probably commissioned in the 1640s for a monastery in colonial Spanish Peru, where the popularity of this particular iconography drew on histories positing the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas as “lost descendants” of the twelve tribes of Israel. The works traveled to England and, in 1756, entered the collection of the bishop Richard Trevor, an advocate for the rights of Jewish people. This history, as well as the apocryphal story of the paintings’ seizure by pirates, prompts us to think seriously about the afterlives of objects, anticipated versus accidental receptions, and art’s capacity for generating multivalent, sometimes competing, interpretations. For Jacob and His Twelve Sons, those interpretations range from justifying the enterprises of one colonial empire to serving as symbols of religious tolerance in another.

We welcome proposals for twenty-minute papers on the status of the art object and the circulation of objects and ideas in the early modern Hispanic world. Please send a C.V. and 250-word abstract by Tuesday, December 12, 2017, to academic@frick.org. Submissions from emerging scholars, including early career university and museum professionals and advanced doctoral students, are particularly encouraged. Possible lines of inquiry include:

• How artists, patrons, and audiences dealt with anxieties around distance, delay, and the conveyance of meaning in the diverse and multilingual early modern Hispanic world;
• Re-signification and/or halted trajectories in the biographies of objects, especially in a global context;
• The imaging of origin myths and master narratives;
• How Iberia’s Jewish and Islamic pasts were interrogated and reinterpreted in Catholic image practices;
• The issue of workshops, masters, and authorship and their relationship to global markets;
• The global and material turns in art-historical scholarship.

“Wider Worlds: Art and Audience under the Spanish Crown” is convened by Caitlin Henningsen (The Frick Collection) and Adam Jasienski (Southern Methodist University). Susan Grace Galassi (Senior Curator, The Frick Collection) will preside.

Featured Exhibition: Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium

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Hélio Oiticica (b. 1937), Tropicália, 1966–67. Plants, sand, birds, and poems by Roberta Camila Salgado. César and Claudio Oiticica Collection, Rio de Janeiro. © César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro. Image courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Photograph by Bryan Conley

Hélio Oiticica. To Organize Delirium, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Closes 1 October 201

Final venue of a tour around America for this exhibition, considered to be the first comprehensive retrospective in the USA of the Brazilian artist (1937-1980). Ranging from geometric paintings to immersive interactive environments and wearable works of art, the exhibition is also the first to explore in depth his New York years (1971-78) and his return to Rio (1978-80).  It includes a restaging of his installation Eden, which was first revealed at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, in 1969, and which included a pool of water, a sand-box in which visitors were encouraged to sit and a tent where the audience could listen to music and read magazines. Eden was an expression of Oiticica’s view that in order to encourage creativity one needed time to relax and think. The installation is reconstructed with help from the artist’s nephew César Oiticica Filho, the curator of the Project Hélio Oiticica in Brazil. A fully illustrated catalogue covering the artist’s entire career with essays by authors from the USA and Latin America accompanies the exhibition.

Closing Soon: Lygia Pape: A Multitude of Forms @ Met Breuer, New York, 21 March – 23 July 2017

The first monographic exhibition in the United States devoted to Brazilian artist Lygia Pape (1927–2004). A critical figure in the development of Brazilian modern art, and a pioneer of the Neo-Concrete movement. Pape combined geometric abstraction with notions of body, time, and space in unique ways that radically transformed the nature of the art object in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Covering a prolific career that spanned five decades, this exhibition examines Pape’s rich oeuvre as manifest across varied media—from sculpture, prints, and painting to installation, photography, performance, and film.

For more information visit: Lygia Pape: A Multitude of Forms

Image Caption: Lygia Pape (Brazilian, 1927–2004). Divisor (Divider), 1968. Performance at Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, 1990. Photo by Paula Pape. © Projeto Lygia Pape. Source: Metropolitan Museum.

CFP: Art and Social Engagement in the Americas (New York, 2017)

2016-12-ifa-logo2016-12-islaa-logoBeyond the Symbolic: Art and Social Engagement in the Americas

IFA-ISLAA Symposium
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
New York
14-15 April 2017

Deadline: Jan 20, 2017

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, and the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art are pleased to announce the second annual IFA–ISLAA symposium for emerging scholars. “Beyond the Symbolic: Art and Social Engagement in the Americas” will be held in New York on April 14–15, 2017. The symposium will include keynote lectures by Coco Fusco and Andrea Giunta.

This symposium interrogates the relevance of merging art and politics in the Americas, especially in works that explicitly seek to resist political oppression, economic imperialism, and legacies of colonialism through public discourse. We aim to address not only contemporary works that marshal “relational aesthetics” at a moment of profound geopolitical crisis, but any intervention that has sought to target the body politic and yield political or social transformation. Less interested in quantifying the efficacy of such works, this symposium hopes to examine larger questions regarding the potential ability of artistic practice to produce concrete results—that is, the compatibility of art and activism. What constitutes success or failure?

Current graduate students, recent graduates, and emerging scholars are invited to apply. Applicants from fields outside the realm of art history are highly encouraged (e.g. Cinema and Media Studies, Performance Studies, Latin American and Latinx studies, Cultural Studies, History). Papers in languages other than English will be taken into consideration.

To apply, please submit an abstract of up to 300 words to symposium@islaa.org by Friday, January 20, 2017. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by Monday, February 13, 2017.

Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes, with additional time for discussion. In your application, please indicate your current institutional affiliation and from where you will be traveling. Limited funding will be available to assist with travel expenses.

This symposium is part of the Latin American Forum. Generously funded by the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) and coordinated by Professor Edward J. Sullivan, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, the Forum invites distinguished visiting lecturers to the IFA to foster greater understanding and recognition of Latin American art around the world. The symposium is organized by current IFA PhD candidates Brian Bentley, Madeline Murphy Turner, Sean Nesselrode Moncada, and Blanca Serrano Ortiz de Solórzano, and Juanita Solano Roa.

For further information or with any questions, please contact symposium@islaa.org.

Art and Ideology in the Twelfth-Century Western Mediterranean (New York: 15 October 2016)

2016-10-bgcBard Graduate Center
38 West 86th Street, New York City
15 October 2016, 9:00AM – 5:50PM

In the twelfth century, new powers emerged throughout the Western Mediterranean, from the Almohads of North Africa to the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. In the Iberian Peninsula, upstart rulers with broad ambitions emerged in both Muslim and Christian territories. New city-states appeared with the dissolution of the Almoravid Empire in al-Andalus, and older kingdoms, including Castile-Leon and Aragon, began massive expansions under rulers who claimed imperial titles. This symposium explores how the rulers of this region deployed art (conceived in the broadest sense) to legitimise new claims, how they asserted their authority through the construction of palatial and liturgical spaces, and what kinds of objects their kingdoms produced, traded, or coveted. Talks will investigate how these rulers looked to imperial and caliphal precedents and rivals for models, how they elaborated on these models, and which communities of artisans and workmen they drew from. By bringing together scholars who work on the component kingdoms of this region, the symposium seeks to clarify the connections among them, crossing the geographic, ethnic, and religious lines imposed by modern scholarship. In doing so, it aims to develop new models for understanding the imbricated world of the medieval Western Mediterranean. Further details, Programme & Registration here.

Sponsored by the Trehan Research Fund for Islamic Art and Material Culture in conjunction with the Spain-North Africa Project.

 

Picasso Sculpture (New York to Paris)

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The exhibition Picasso Sculpture, previously showing some 140 works spanning 1902 to 1964 at MoMA, New York (until 7 February 2016), re-opens, in a reduced form, as Picasso: Scuptures (Musée Picasso, Paris: 8 March – 18 September 2016).
MOMA installation reviewed by Rosalind McKeever, Burlington Magazine, December 2015 pp. 880-82 .