Tag Archives: Visual arts

Book Launch: ‘Black but Human’: Slavery and Visual Arts in Hapsburg Spain, 1480–1700′ by Carmen Fracchia, Peltz Gallery, Birkbeck University of London, 23 November 2019, 3–5pm

A book launch and Q&A will be held on the 23 November3–5pm, at the Peltz Gallery, Birkbeck University of London.

In this book launch, Birkbeck scholar Mpalive Msiska will interview Dr Carmen Fracchia, from the Department of Cultures and Languages, about her new book Black but Human: Slavery and Visual Arts in Hapsburg Spain, 1480–1700 (OUP, 2019). This will be followed by a brief conversation between the author and the visual artist Victoria Burgher, who will give a short presentation of her work.

Carmen Fracchia is a Paraguayan academic trained originally in Italian and Spanish Art History at the Universities of Siena and University College London. She is a Reader in Hispanic Art History at Birkbeck. Her work focuses on the visual articulations of Hispanic intellectual, political, and religious thought about local Spanish and transatlantic slavery, freedom, subjectivity, race, and hybridity, with special emphasis to the visual representations of Africans and Afro-Hispanic enslaved and liberated people, such as Juan de Pareja (Antequera, c.1610-Madrid, c.1670).

Mpalive Msiska is a Malawian academic who is a Reader in English and Humanities at Birkbeck where he teaches courses and supervises research work on Post-colonial and Global literatures as well as interdisciplinary subjects. He has previously taught at Bath Spa University and the University of Malawi, among others. His publications include Post-Colonial Identity in Wole Soyinka (2007), Wole Soyinka (1998), Writing and Africa (1997) and The Quiet Chameleon:  A Study of Poetry from Central Africa (1992) and the most recent chapter ‘Divine Ways of Cognition: the Burden of the Poet-Seer in Soyinka’s Idanre,’ in The Soyinka Impulse, eds Duro Oni and Bisi Adigun. He is a member of the Caine Prize Advisory Board, the Council of the British Institute in Eastern Africa as well as the Editorial Board of the Journal of Southern African Studies.

Victoria Burgher is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in East London. She studied at Goldsmiths College (MA) and her politically engaged practice ranges from sculptural installations and site-specific interventions to collaborative community projects. She is interested in art’s ability to challenge histories and a fascination with materials and process inform her approach to making. Current work uses colonial commodities to decolonise the nostalgic narrative of Empire. She exhibits regularly in the UK and Europe.


Attendance is free but booking is necessary. Please click here to book and here for more information.

New Publication: Carmen Fracchia, ‘”Black but Human” Slavery and Visual Arts in Hapsburg Spain, 1480–1700’ (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2019)

In ‘Black but Human’ Carmen Fracchia, Reader in Hispanic Art History at Birkbeck, explores the emergence of the slave and freed slave subjects in the visual form of Imperial Spain. The book considers the links between visual regimes and early modern Spanish discourses on slavery and human diversity that are the historic roots of contemporary racism in the Hispanic world.

‘Black but Human’ is the first study to focus on the visual representations of African slaves and ex-slaves in Spain during the Hapsburg dynasty. The Afro-Hispanic proverb ‘Black but Human’ is the main thread of the six chapters and serves as a lens through which to explore how a certain visual representation of slavery both embodies and reproduces hegemonic visions of enslaved and liberated Africans, and at the same time provides material for critical and emancipatory practices by Afro-Hispanics themselves.

The African presence in the Iberian Peninsula between the late fifteenth century and the end of the seventeenth century was as a result of the institutionalization of the local and transatlantic slave trades. In addition to the Moors, Berbers and Turks born as slaves, there were approximately two million enslaved people in the kingdoms of Castile, Aragón and Portugal. The ‘Black but Human’ topos that emerges from the African work songs and poems written by Afro-Hispanics encodes the multi-layered processes through which a black emancipatory subject emerges and a ‘black nation’ forges a collective resistance. It is visually articulated by Afro-Hispanic and Spanish artists in religious paintings and in the genres of self-portraiture and portraiture. This extraordinary imagery coexists with the stereotypical representations of African slaves and ex-slaves by Spanish sculptors, engravers, jewellers, and painters mainly in the religious visual form and by European draftsmen and miniaturists, in their landscape drawings and sketches for costume books.

Click here for more information and to pre-order this book

CFP: Canons and Repertoires: Constructing the Visual Arts in the Hispanic World, Durham University, 20–21 June 2019, deadline 31 March!

whitecanonsrepertoiresbanner

The visual arts in Spain have long been haunted by the spectres of six giants: El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya and Picasso. Still today, these canonical figures tower over all others and continue to shape the story of Spanish art, which has been traditionally told in monographic form. Although the strength of the Spanish canon has informed different disciplines (literature, aesthetics, performing arts), given the recent ‘material turn’, the prosopographical dimension of the visual arts in Spain poses a disciplinary challenge. Similarly, following the ‘global turn’, the visual arts of Iberia pose a geographical challenge, intersecting with the Mediterranean, Arabic, Latin American, British and continental European worlds. The notions of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanish art’, therefore, are necessarily nebulous and problematic, raising a host of questions: To what extent does Spanish art exist before the establishment of Spain as a nation state? To what extent is the art of the Habsburg and Bourbon empires a Spanish art outside Spain? What is the role of Spain in the wider canon of European art? Who has exploited the visual arts of the Hispanic world, geographically, politically and intellectually? These questions ultimately point to a tension between canons and repertoires; between centres and peripheries; and between consolidating the ‘core’ and expanding the ‘remit’ of the so-called Spanish school.

This conference will explode the disciplinary, material and geographical limits of Spanish art, inaugurating the Zurbarán Centre as a critical and innovative research institution for the study of Spanish and Latin American art in the twenty-first century. Papers may challenge the canonical construction of Spanish art, which can be traced back to writings from Palomino’s Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors (1724) to Stirling Maxwell’s Annals of the Artists of Spain (1848), to more recent publications by scholars in the field. Papers may also probe the chronological, geographical and material boundaries of the ‘El Greco to Goya’ survey, interrogating the ways in which academics, curators, scholars and teachers narrate this material through various platforms, including publications, museum displays, exhibitions, lectures, gallery talks and academic courses. Speakers are encouraged to address the various ‘terrains’ of Spanish art, from geographical constructions of Iberia as Europe’s frontier or edge, to exchange with all that lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:

  • What is ‘Spanish art’?
  • Who are the cultural stakeholders of Spanish art?
  • What are the discords between regional, national, anti-national and transnational narratives of Spanish art, for example in museum collections and displays?
  • How does Spanish art feature in diplomatic exchanges?
  • Collections of Spanish art as an ‘imprint’ of Spain, and the role of foreign collections in disseminating Spanish art as a distinct school
  • Spain at the intersection of Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures
  • Copies, quotations and appropriations of Spanish art
  • Languages and literatures: strategies of describing, narrating and translating Spain in word and image
  • Performing ‘Spanishness’ in the arts, including music, theatre and film
  • Spanish discourses in aesthetics
  • Spanish art beyond Iberia
  • Mobility and portability of Spanish art
  • Travel and discovery: geographies, centres, peripheries and liminal spaces
  • Legacies: textual and visual responses to Spain abroad
  • Eschewing binaries: high and low, sacred and secular, medieval and renaissance
  • Writing againstthe canon: filling gaps, promoting underdogs, navigating uncharted territories

Specialists of Spanish arts, artistic communication and exchange, as well as experts of other regions are invited to discuss the role and definition of Spain in their own disciplines. Presentations may be delivered in English or Spanish. Please send paper titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words, together with a CV and 150-word biography, to Dr Edward Payne by 31 March 2019: edward.a.payne@durham.ac.uk.

CFP: Canons and Repertoires: Constructing the Visual Arts in the Hispanic World, Durham University, 20–21 June 2019 

CANONS AND REPERTOIRES: Constructing the Visual Arts in the Hispanic World, Durham University, 20–21 June 2019 

The visual arts in Spain have long been haunted by the spectres of six giants: El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya and Picasso. Still today, these canonical figures tower over all others and continue to shape the story of Spanish art, which has been traditionally told in monographic form. Although the strength of the Spanish canon has informed different disciplines (literature, aesthetics, performing arts), given the recent ‘material turn’, the prosopographical dimension of the visual arts in Spain poses a disciplinary challenge. Similarly, following the ‘global turn’, the visual arts of Iberia pose a geographical challenge, intersecting with the Mediterranean, Arabic, Latin American, British and continental European worlds. The notions of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanish art’, therefore, are necessarily nebulous and problematic, raising a host of questions: To what extent does Spanish art exist before the establishment of Spain as a nation state? To what extent is the art of the Habsburg and Bourbon empires a Spanish art outside Spain? What is the role of Spain in the wider canon of European art? Who has exploited the visual arts of the Hispanic world, geographically, politically and intellectually? These questions ultimately point to a tension between canons and repertoires; between centres and peripheries; and between consolidating the ‘core’ and expanding the ‘remit’ of the so-called Spanish school.

This conference will explode the disciplinary, material and geographical limits of Spanish art, inaugurating the Zurbarán Centre as a critical and innovative research institution for the study of Spanish and Latin American art in the twenty-first century. Papers may challenge the canonical construction of Spanish art, which can be traced back to writings from Palomino’s Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors (1724) to Stirling Maxwell’s Annals of the Artists of Spain (1848), to more recent publications by scholars in the field. Papers may also probe the chronological, geographical and material boundaries of the ‘El Greco to Goya’ survey, interrogating the ways in which academics, curators, scholars and teachers narrate this material through various platforms, including publications, museum displays, exhibitions, lectures, gallery talks and academic courses. Speakers are encouraged to address the various ‘terrains’ of Spanish art, from geographical constructions of Iberia as Europe’s frontier or edge, to exchange with all that lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:

  • What is ‘Spanish art’?
  • Who are the cultural stakeholders of Spanish art?
  • What are the discords between regional, national, anti-national and transnational narratives of Spanish art, for example in museum collections and displays?
  • How does Spanish art feature in diplomatic exchanges?
  • Collections of Spanish art as an ‘imprint’ of Spain, and the role of foreign collections in disseminating Spanish art as a distinct school
  • Spain at the intersection of Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures
  • Copies, quotations and appropriations of Spanish art
  • Languages and literatures: strategies of describing, narrating and translating Spain in word and image
  • Performing ‘Spanishness’ in the arts, including music, theatre and film
  • Spanish discourses in aesthetics
  • Spanish art beyond Iberia
  • Mobility and portability of Spanish art
  • Travel and discovery: geographies, centres, peripheries and liminal spaces
  • Legacies: textual and visual responses to Spain abroad
  • Eschewing binaries: high and low, sacred and secular, medieval and renaissance
  • Writing againstthe canon: filling gaps, promoting underdogs, navigating uncharted territories

Specialists of Spanish arts, artistic communication and exchange, as well as experts of other regions are invited to discuss the role and definition of Spain in their own disciplines. Presentations may be delivered in English or Spanish. Please send paper titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words, together with a CV and 150-word biography, to Dr Edward Payne by 31 March 2019: edward.a.payne@durham.ac.uk.

SKIN: A ONE DAY SYMPOSIUM ON HISPANIC ARTS AND CULTURES. Friday, 22nd May 2015

FlayingSKIN: A ONE DAY SYMPOSIUM ON HISPANIC ARTS AND CULTURES

Institute of Advanced Study, Palace Green, Durham  Friday, 22 May 2015

To register for the event, please email the organizer (a.m.beresford@durham.ac.uk) indicating if you have any special dietary requirements. There is no registration fee, but all participants will be asked to complete a short impact questionnaire. There are a maximum of 20 places available.

09.30–09.40 Welcome and Introduction

09.40–10.20 Edward Payne (Meadows Museum, Dallas), ‘Skin as Subject and Surface: Flaying in the Art of Ribera, Carreño and Giordano’

10.20–11.00 Yarí Pérez Marín (Durham University), ‘Skin and Markers of Disease in the Medical Literature of Early Colonial Mexico’

11.00–11.20 Coffee

11.20–12.00 Andy Beresford (Durham University), ‘The Flaying of St Bartholomew in Early Spanish Altarpieces’

12.00–12.40 Tom Nickson (Courtauld Institute), ‘“Stuffed in the most artistic manner”: The Sacred Made Real in Medieval Castile’

12.40–13.40 Lunch

13.40–14.20 Bogdan Cornea (University of York), ‘Skin and Surfaces in Jusepe de Ribera’s Paintings of Flaying’

14.20–15.00 Lesley Twomey (Northumbria University), ‘Decorated Exteriors and Resplendent Interiors: The Ark, the Tabernacle, and the Reliquary as Figures for the Virgin Mary’s Physical and Spiritual Beauty in Late-Medieval Spain’

15.00–15.40 Piers Baker-Bates Open University), ‘Sebastiano del Piombo: The Suffering Skin between Italy and Spain’

15.40–16.00 Tea

16.00–17.00 Round Table Discussion

ARTES Malta visit: Wed 5 November – Mon 10 November 2014

ARTES is visiting Malta from 5-10 November 2014. This visit is being organised by Marjorie Trusted of the V&A (ARTES Hon Vice-President) and Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci of the University of Malta (ARTES member). The programme is detailed below and includes a symposium on Spanish Baroque Art in Malta being hosted by the Spanish Embassy.

Valetta Harbour, Malta

Valetta Harbour, Malta

ARTES Visit to Malta: 5 – 10 November 2014

Programme

Wednesday 5 November
Day: Arrival
Evening: 5.30 pm – Talk by Fr Dun Edgar Vella
The Baroque Neapolitan Crib in Malta
Followed by drinks reception and dinner

Thursday 6 November
Day Spanish Art on Malta Symposium at the Spanish Embassy
See link below for the provisional schedule:
Spanish Art on Malta Symposium – Thurs 6 Nov 2014

Malta Symposium Nov 2014

Evening Reception at the Spanish Embassy 

Friday 7 November
Day Visit to St John’s Co-Cathedral with Professor Keith Sciberras
Followed by tour of Valletta (including the Wignacourt Museum)
Lunch With transport to Mdina
Afternoon Visit to Mdina Cathedral Museum with Fr. Dun Edgar Vella
& to St Paul’s Church, Rabat
Evening Santa Caterina Church, Valletta & Lecture by Peter Vassallo
The Sojourn of Ángel de Saavedra, Duque de Rivas, in Malta (1825-30)
& the Composition of Al faro de Malta and El moro expósito

Saturday 8 November
Day 
Visit to Gozo to see churches & private collections with Mark Sagona

Sunday 9 November
Day Three cities tour
Lunch at Vittoriosa Quay
Afternoon Visit to National Museum of Fine Arts
& St Paul’s Shipwreck Church

Monday 10 November
Departure

St John's Co-Cathedral Malta

St John’s Co-Cathedral, Malta

Spanish embassy logo