Tag Archives: Scholarship

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

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Prize-Giving Ceremony at the Wallace Collection, 29 June 2017

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Some of the Prize Winners pose with the ARTES committee and members at the prize-giving ceremony

On Thursday 29 June ARTES celebrated the winners of its annual scholarships and of the Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Prize with a ceremony held at the Wallace Collection in London. The Collection’s director Xavier Bray and Carmen Brieva Rodriguez from the Cultural Office of the Spanish Embassy joined the celebration.

ARTES started offering travel and PhD scholarships three years ago, with the aim to support and nurture young scholars in the field of Iberian and Latin American studies. The prizes are sponsored by Coll y Cortés and were awarded to the following researchers:

Travel Scholarships:

  • Ana Dias, a PhD candidate at the University of Durham, working on ‘The Apocalypse in early medieval Iberia: the function and impact of the illuminated ‘Beatus’ manuscripts.’ Ana will use her prize to conduct crucial fieldwork in three libraries in Spain, where she will examine three manuscripts of Beatus’ work to analyse at first hand their codicology, illumination and palette.
  • Maria Teresa Chicote Pompanin, a PhD candidate at the Warburg Institute, who will make three trips to Spain to examine archives, buildings and objects in connection with her research project, titled ‘Patronage, Fame and Memory in Late-Medieval Castile: Juan and Diego Pacheco, Marquises of Villena (1445 – 1529).’

PhD Scholarship for PhD students at working on Hispanic visual culture before 1800 at a UK University:

  •  Maeve O’Donnell, for her PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art: ‘The Castilian Altar in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: A social and material history.’ Maeve’s thesis approaches the medieval altar as an assemblage of artworks with individual and cumulative religious, social and material significance. By donating or producing the different furnishings of the altar, craftsmen, merchants, bishops, and monarchs established personal links to this sacred space. In addition, objects displayed on the altar in medieval Castile functioned as barometers of political and economic shifts in this dynamic kingdom. Her analysis of Castilian altarpieces, frontals, figurative sculptures, liturgical objects, reliquaries and textiles unearths works of art that have not been studied before while offering an innovative approach to the medieval altar.

Scholarship for PhD students or post-doctoral researchers based in Spain, Portugal or Latin America who wish to conduct research in the UK:

  • Ignacio J. López Hernández, who is working on a dissertation about Architecture and Military Buildings in the Spanish Caribbean under the supervision of Dr Alfredo Morales at the University of Seville.

This year the Scholarship Committee was able to make two additional awards:

  • Francisco de Asís García García, for his travel to the UK to study reports and files held at the V&A’s Archive related to Medieval and Early Modern textile acquisitions from Spain (or of possible Spanish origin) and the iconographical analysis of selected pieces. This work is a joint collaborative study with the Marie S.-Curie project “Interwoven” (no. 703711) led by Dr Ana Cabrera Lafuente at the V&A.
  • Sylvia Alvares-Correa, a PhD candidate at Oxford, whose research considers the Flemish artworks associated with Rainha Dona Leonor of Portugal (1458-1525), including Quentin Metsys’s The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin; Goswyn van der Weyden’s Presentation at the Temple; a number of manuscripts, and the anonymous Passion of Christ in Jerusalem panorama, amongst others. By investigating the historiography, materiality, and iconography of these works and their place within the ambit of Dona Leonor’s piety and patronage, this project will contribute to the broader understanding of patterns of patronage in early modern Europe, artistic exchange between Flanders and Iberia, and the devotional climate of Renaissance Portugal.

The winner of the 2017 Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Prize was also announced. This prize was set up 5 years ago with the generous support of the Office for Scientific and Cultural Affairs of the Embassy of Spain in London, and includes a cash prize and a specially designed bronze medal. Like the scholarships, the essay prize is intended to encourage promising scholars in the study of Spanish visual culture (from any period) and is open to students at UK universities at any level of study.

This year’s winner was David Cambronero, a MA student at the Courtauld Institute of Art, who gave a short presentation based on his essay on lighting in the Great Mosque of Córdoba in the caliphal period.

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Artes Coll & Cortes Scholarship Report: Matilde Grimaldi

Anthonie van der Wijngaerde, Vista de Tortosa, 1563. Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna. Cod. Min. 41, fol. 7.

Anthonie van der Wijngaerde, Vista de Tortosa, 1563. Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna. Cod. Min. 41, fol. 7.

I was the recipient of the generosity of the ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship both in 2014 and in 2015, which contributed significantly to the advancement of my PhD research. Both grants were used to support periods of field research in Catalonia, specifically four months in Spring-Summer 2014 and one month in the Summer of 2015.

My PhD research focuses on the reconstruction of the lost Romanesque cathedral of Tortosa, a small town in Southern Catalonia. The Romanesque structure was built in the second half of the twelfth century and later demolished between 1428 and 1703 for the construction of the extant Gothic building. Besides the reconstruction of the lost building, my aim is to shed some light on the connections between Tortosa and the other ecclesiastical buildings of the area, including other Southern Catalan cathedrals and small-scale churches. This is especially important since Tortosa was the first cathedral erected in the region after the Christian conquest of 1148.

Due to the nature of my research, field work is of extreme importance for the study of

archaeological remains in Tortosa, the consultation of local archives, and the analysis of the architectural evidence of the surrounding region for the elaboration of comparisons with contemporary ecclesiastical buildings.

The main achievement of my 2014 stay concerned the reconstruction of the design of the lost cathedral. Earlier analyses had allowed me to develop a number of hypotheses on the original plan of the building, but the lack of solid physical evidence was creating a number of difficulties. Luckily my presence in Catalonia allowed me to learn of a Georadar survey of the Gothic church conducted by a team from the Architecture Faculty of the University Rovira i Virgili in Reus. I was able to meet the research team and work with them on the topic, finally receiving a concrete validation and refinement of my theories.

Seu Vella of Lleida, eastern sector

Seu Vella of Lleida, eastern sector

Another valuable goal reached thanks to the scholarship was the analysis of the architectural context of Southern Catalonia. During both my 2014 and 2015 stays I was able to embark on a number of visits to sites spread across the region, surveying the major cathedrals of Tarragona and Lleida as well as the numerous smaller churches, such as San Salvador de Horta de Sant Joan, Sant Joan dels Ventalles of Ulldecona, and Santa Maria de Agramunt. These visits allowed me to reinforce one of the principal propositions of my research, namely the role of the Romanesque cathedral of Tortosa in shaping the architectural milieu of the region. I hope this argument will not only shed light on the development of Romanesque in Catalonia but also be a case study of the typical drivers behind the creation of a new artistic model.

On top of the two achievements described above, the ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship allowed me to refine endless other aspects of my research and meet and interact with local scholars. I am therefore extremely grateful to the ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship for making all this possible.

 

ARTES Coll & Cortes 2015 PhD scholarship report. ‘The Apocalypse in early medieval Iberia: the function and impact of the illuminated “Beatus” ‘

A report by Ana de Oliveira Dias, PhD candidate at Durham University, on the research she is conducting with the help of her scholarship

My Ph.D focuses on the illustrated copies of Beatus of Liébana’s In Apocalypsin, generally known as the Hispanic ‘Beatus’. Alongside Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae, Beatus’s Commentary is regarded as a fundamental work of medieval Iberia, testified by its wide and continuous dissemination in this context, from the eighth to the thirteenth century.

The New Jerusalem, Beato de Liébana, Commentarium in Apocalipsin, (codex of Fernando I and Doña Sancha), Biblioteca Nacional de España VITR./14/2/, f. 253v.

The New Jerusalem, Beato de Liébana, Commentarium in Apocalipsin, (codex of Fernando I and Doña Sancha), Biblioteca Nacional de España VITR./14/2/, f. 253v.

As well as being amongst the greatest Hispanic bibliographic treasures, the ‘Beatus’ are similarly considered to be one of the most lavishly illuminated bodies of manuscripts in the western world. My project is an ambitious and rigorous re-examination of this corpus in its historical, religious and cultural context, investigating both the production and reception of these manuscripts. Building on this solid contextualisation, my research addresses the challenging questions of the purposes and impact of the ‘Beatus’ as an illustrated text, and aims to understand how scribes, miniaturists, and readers, may have interpreted them. Hence, this analysis will provide insight into how these remarkable books may have been used more generally, and by extension, will also shed light on the impact of the Apocalypse in medieval Iberia.

I am currently starting the second year of my Ph.D in Durham University, with the sponsorship of ARTES Coll & Cortés Ph.D Scholarship. During my first year of research, I focused on the contextual aspects of the ‘Beatus’. I considered these manuscripts against the general panorama of illustrated Apocalypses, and have examined their origins, particularities, and relevance as one of the most complete Apocalypse pictorial cycles. I have also explored the context of book production in early medieval Iberia. A closer look at monastic literary culture, and library holdings, was a fundamental part of my research, which has enabled me to grasp better the significance of the ‘Beatus’ in this specific milieu, and to understand which other authors and texts were prominent for Iberian monasticism. I have also conducted primary source analysis. The study of the ‘Beatus’s colophons was the starting point, as these remarkable textual inscriptions, of unusual length and content, offer a glimpse into scribal and scriptoria practices in medieval Iberia. Most importantly, they provide precious information concerning the role of these manuscripts, and how scribes envisaged their production processes as important acts of devotion. The results of this analysis will be integrated into a chapter of my dissertation on the significance of the ‘Beatus’ in the landscape of medieval Iberian monastic culture.

The Seven angels empty the vials, Beato de Liébana, Commentarium in Apocalipsin, (codex of Fernando I and Doña Sancha), Biblioteca Nacional de España VITR./14/2/, f. 213r

The Seven angels empty the vials, Beato de Liébana, Commentarium in Apocalipsin, (codex of Fernando I and Doña Sancha), Biblioteca Nacional de España VITR./14/2/, f. 213r

I have also focused on the textual analysis of Beatus of Liébana’s In Apocalypsin. One of my main goals in engaging with a work of such rich symbolism, has been to understand how its readers may have conceptualised and interpreted the Book of Revelation, and how this may have shaped their mentality and ‘imagination’. This analysis has been conducted in parallel with an examination of the Beatus’s iconographic programme, so as to observe how these images relate, on a primary level, to both the Scriptures and the Commentary. To assess the most suitable copies for this research, I concluded my first year with the study of the Beatus families, in order to comprehend the intricate textual and iconographic kinship between these manuscripts, which has been under discussion for many decades, chiefly in works by Neuss and Sanders (1931), Klein (1976), and Williams (1994).

By and large, my first year of research was dedicated to fundamental contextual work, which has given me a solid foundation concerning the cultural and spiritual setting in which the Hispanic ‘Beatus’ were produced. Building on this knowledge, my second year will begin with a thorough and systematic analysis of the Beatus’s visual imagery, focusing on the role of symbols and allegory in these representations, so as to elucidate the possible function and meaning of these remarkable illustrated manuscripts.

ARTES Coll & Cortes Scholarships Awards, 6.45pm, Wednesday 28th October 2015. Courtauld Institute of Art

collcortes_logoThe 2015 ARTES Coll & Cortes scholars will be announced at a special drinks reception at the Courtauld Institute of Art on Wednesday 28th October, starting at approximately 6.45pm. The scholarships, generously supported by the art dealers Coll & Cortes, were set up in 2014 in order to encourage and reward young scholars studying visual culture in Spain, Portugal and Latin America.2014-06-Courtauld-Somerset House All are welcome, no need to book.

The deadline for submissions for the 2016 scholarships is 31st January 2016: see further details here.

The ceremony follows the first in a series of lectures on Spanish medieval architecture, also sponsored by Coll & Cortes. Further details here.

Scholarship report from Costanza Beltrami, winner of a 2014 Artes Coll & Cortes Travel Scholarship

Thanks to the ARTES-Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship, I travelled to Spain in June to visit buildings designed by the fifteenth-century French master mason Juan Guas.

San Juan de los Reyes

San Juan de los Reyes

During a previous trip, I visited the monastery of San Juan de Los Reyes in Toledo. Designed by Guas, this monastery is a royal foundation established to celebrate the Battle of Toro (1476). Although this battle was fought between the Catholic Monarchs and Alfonso V of Portugal, the exterior of the monastery’s church is festooned with the chains of Christian prisoners freed after the conquest of Grenada [right]. Celebration of a victory against a Christian king and anti-Moorish propaganda thus intersect in the church.

This intersection generates questions: was there always an intention to associate the church with the reconquista and the unification of Spain? Is this association consciously reflected in the style of the building, a flamboyant Gothic design that incorporates Moorish elements such as epigraphic inscriptions and artesonado ceilings?

Other questions regard Guas’ role in this stylistic fusion. The mid-twentieth century historians José Maria de Azcárate and Fernando Chueca Goitia considered Guas the creator of a national style that fused flamboyant Gothic with Spain’s unique Mudéjar heritage. Since Guas was the Catholic Monarchs’ royal architect, elements of royal propaganda in his designs are not surprising. But does this extend to the creation of a ‘national style’? With this question in mind, I designed the trip kindly sponsored by the ARTES-Coll and Cortés Travel Scholarship.

My travel started at the Prado Museum. Here I observed Flemish and ‘Hispano-Flemish’ works to consider how Flemish style and techniques were received in another medium.

Palacio del Infantado

Palacio del Infantado

I then started visiting Guas’ buildings, first the Castle of Manzanares el Real and then the Palacio del Infantado in Guadalajara. Together with San Juan de los Reyes, these are usually pinpointed as Guas’ ‘Hispano-islamic’ works. Indeed, I noticed features possibly inspired by Mudéjar sources, for example blind ‘horseshoe arches’ at the top of the Infantado’s gallery [left], and long epigraphic inscriptions.

 

Yet Mudéjar details are not the only decoration; moreover, Manzanares and the Infantado were built for the Mendoza family, not for the kings. Rather than celebrate the new national unity, Mudéjar designs may simply contribute to express noble magnificentia.

The desire to express magnificentia offers a specific motivation for Guas’ fusion of Gothic and Mudéjar in these palaces. Contrary to what some scholars have implied, Guas did not simply ‘absorb’ Toledo’s Mudéjar buildings and unconsciously reproduce their features.

My next destinations were Segovia and Avila. Segovia cathedral is attributed to Juan Gil de Hontañón, trained in Guas’ workshop. The detailing of the bases of the cathedral’s nave piers is almost identical to that of Manzanares’ courtyard, suggesting broader stylistic uniformity than it appears when focusing on a single architect.

Visiting the monastery of El Parral in Segovia and that of Santo Tomás in Avila evidenced similarities between buildings sponsored by royal patronage: for example, both monasteries’ churches have choirs elevated over slender segmental arches.

My next stop, El Paular monastery, contains an alabaster altarpiece where flamboyant Gothic elements are used in a typically Spanish floor-to-ceiling retablo. Unsurprisingly, it is attributed to sculptors close to Guas, who designed the monastery’s cloister. This has different vault designs on each side, possibly depending on its position relative to El Paular’s church.

San Gregorio

San Gregorio

I then visited Valladolid’s Colegio de San Gregorio [right]. Covered with figural decoration and branch tracery, San Gregorio’s façade contradicts the characterization of Guas’ decoration as geometric, aniconic and therefore ‘oriental.’

For all its display of heraldic devices, the building hardly fits the ideological framework built around Guas’ style by Azcárate and Goitia. Indeed, San Gregorio’s decorative complexity underscored my overall impression of Guas’ style as resistant to nationalistic labels.

 

 

I am very grateful to ARTES and Coll & Cortés for this invaluable opportunity to analyse the stylistic labels attached to Guas through first-hand encounter with his oeuvre.

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.