Tag Archives: Toledo

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

toledo-cope

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).

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.

VISIT: Toledo 3-Day Visit – Fri 5 to Sun 7 June 2015 – British Spanish Society welcomes ARTES members

The British Spanish Society is hosting a 3-day visit to Toledo
f
rom Fri 5 to Sun 7 June 2015

Members of ARTES are welcome to join the BSS for this visit

There is an official deadline of Monday 16 February but please contact Morlin if you are interested at artesiberia@gmail.com

Toledo Visit_000001 Toledo Visit_000002

ARTES visit: Contemplation of the Divine, Sotheby’s, London

2014-06-ContemplationDivineSothebysContemplation of the Divine, Sotheby’s, New Bond Street Galleries, 5-16 July 2014

ARTES Members’ visit: Monday, 7 July, 2:30PM.

Comprises a selection of predominantly Spanish, Italian and Early Netherlandish paintings and sculpture ranging in period from the Early Renaissance through until the late Baroque.
Link to the web catalogue
Link to the catalogue (page-turner version)

El Greco Conference – Toledo 19-23 May 2014

The Centro de Estudios Internacionales, Fundación Ortega y Gasset-Marañón, Toledo

El Greco: works and places

This conference will look in detail at El Greco’s art and at the places where he lived and worked. Leading experts will be delivering their lectures in situ with the artist’s works and Toledo will be hosting many related exhibitions and events to mark the anniversary.

Contributers: Mark A. Roglan, Juan A. García Castor, Fernando Checa Cremades, Fernando Marías, Ángel Aterido, Palma Martínez, María Cruz de Carlos, Leticia Ruíz Gómez, Gabriele Finaldi, Alicia Cámara and Araceli Fernández.

Deadline for registration: 28 February 2014

For full details see the following links

http://www.ortegaygasset.es/noticias/ampliada/981/curso-internacional–las-obras-y-lugares-de-el-greco

http://www.ortegaygasset.es/fog/ver/726/programas-de-postgrado/cursos-de-postgrado/las-obras-y-lugares-de-el-greco

Folleto Curso El Greco english  –  please print this leaflet and put it on your noticeboard

ARTES Symposium & Lecture to celebrate 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco

Burial of the Count of Orgaz, San Tomas, Toledo

The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, Santo Tomé, Toledo

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco, ARTES will be holding a Symposium & Lecture at the Instituto Cervantes102 Eaton Sq, London SW1W 9AN, 3.30pm – 7.30pm, Friday 28th February 2014

The symposium starts at 3.30pm and will be followed at 6.30pm by a special ARTES lecture given by Professor Fernando Marías, curator of the forthcoming exhibition of El Greco’s paintings in Toledo, entitled Was El Greco a Spanish Painter? Challenging a Myth, Reading El Greco’s Documents and Writings

Entrance for the symposium is £15, or £6 for ARTES/Instituto Cervantes members(or join us instead! £35/year, or £20 for students/under 25s/JSAs). Entrance for the lecture is free. If you would like to attend, please contact Morlin Ellis at artesiberia@gmail.com

LOGO CERVANTES ROJO

Spanish embassy logoARTES would like to thank the Embassy of Spain and the Instituto Cervantes for their kind and generous support of this event

PROVISIONAL TIMETABLE

3.30: Welcome, Dr Tom Nickson (Chair, ARTES)

3.35: Opening remarks, Sir John Elliott, FBA (Honorary President, ARTES)

3.45: Dr Hilary Macartney (University of Glasgow): Portrait of a Lady: the Reception of the “Lady in a Fur Wrap” in the Stirling Maxwell Collection, Glasgow

4.15: Prof David Davies (Curator, National Gallery El Greco exhibition, 2004): El Greco, the Painter/Philosopher

4.45: tea/coffee & biscuits

5.15: Susan Wilson (artist): La Joven Enferma y El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz

5.45: discussion

6.30: Prof Fernando Marías (Curator, El Greco of Toledo, 2014): Was El Greco a Spanish Painter? Challenging a Myth, Reading El Greco’s Documents and Writings (open to all)

7.30: drinks reception