Hispanic identity has been shaped during the last century by a conscious selection of historical periods of its history. After the loss of the last colonies of the former Spanish Empire at the end of the 19th century, the nation had hit rock bottom in political terms. To counterbalance this decline, writers, poets, essayists and scholars from the so-called generation of ’98 aimed for the restoration of the cultural splendor of the Spanish Golden Age, a period of flourishing in the arts and literature that spans from Philip II’s reign until the death of Charles II in 1700, the last of the Habsburg monarchs. This wish has been constant through the 20th century and is also connected with the rise of neobaroque aesthetics and postmodernism. Baroque has become a multifaceted concept and, nowadays, is more a space of reflection than a chronological or formal label. The lecture will explore the continuity of baroque art in Spanish contemporary culture such as art, photography, cinema, pop music, comics, cartoons, internet memes, football or television series, where the fascination with Spanish Golden Age is not only a matter of style or aesthetics but also political and identitary. From inspiration to appropriation, from art galleries to politics, baroque art is a powerful tool in contemporary Spain.
A guest post by Anna Espinola Lynnand Clare Hills-Nova
On 23 October, 2019, ARTES, together with the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, hosted a transdisciplinary session at the University’s Weston Library, focusing on Mesoamerican manuscripts. The event was designed to mark the 500th anniversary of the historic meeting between the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés (1485–1547) and the Aztec ruler Moctezuma the Younger (1466–1520), just outside Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), on 8 November 1519. Attendees included students, academics and representatives of other cultural institutions.
Attendance at this exclusive event was by invitation only. Would you like to take part in similar visits in the future? Join ARTES today!
The afternoon began in the Weston Library’s Visiting Scholars’ Centre. On view were the Selden Roll (MS. Arch. Selden. A. 72 (3)) alongside two modern books produced by Alfonso García Tellez,using the traditional, amate paper-based techniques evidenced by rare Pre-Hispanic codices and rolls.
The session began with Sir John
Elliott’s essay on the Cortez-Moctezuma encounter before moving on to
presentations by Giuseppe Marcocci (University of Oxford), Emily Floyd (UCL), and
the Bodleian Libraries’ Head of Conservation, Virginia Lladó-Buisán.
Giuseppe followed Sir John’s paper
with a consideration of the roles vision and visual culture took on in the
encounter between the Spanish visitors and the Mexica. Turning to contemporary
accounts of the encounter that emphasize vision, as well as representations of
the imagined or real Other, Giuseppe pointed to visual asymmetries active in
colonial contexts as they participated in relations of power.
Emily, meanwhile, provided a reading
of the pre-colonial Selden Roll as it expressed the formation of a new cycle of
rule in central Mexico. She discussed the multiplicity of ways the Roll can be
read, and invited further conversation as to possible representations of time,
succession, generation and regeneration. Regarding the name of the Selden Roll,
Emily noted that this was associated with its colonial history of collecting more
than with the Roll’s actual content, commenting that ‘The Roll of New Fire’ had
recently been adopted as a more appropriate title for it.
Virginia followed up with insights
into the processes and materials used in creating the Roll, drawing upon the
results of recent research. Participants in this session had the unique
pleasure of getting up close to the Selden Roll and asking those experts
present questions about anything from shifts in hue or line quality, to
contexts of production in pre-colonial and colonial environments, and on the
multivalent symbolisms in the Roll.
Following a compelling period of conversation around and about the objects, the afternoon concluded with a visit to the Weston Library’s Talking Mapsexhibition, where the Codex Mendoza (Bodleian Library MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1) was on display. Here, they were able to extend the conversation regarding the authorship, readership and linguistic referents of the pre-colonial Roll of New Fire versus the colonial era’s Mendoza Codex.
Images courtesy the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.
Travelling Objects, Travelling People aims to nuance our
understanding of the exchanges and influences that shaped the artistic
landscape of Medieval and Renaissance Iberia. Traditional narratives
hold that late fifteenth-century Iberian art and architecture were
transformed by the arrival of artists, objects and ideas from France and
the Low Countries, while 1492 marked a chronological rupture and the
beginning of global encounters. Challenging these perceptions, this
conference will reconsider the dynamics of artistic influence in late
medieval Iberia, and place European exchanges in a global context, from
Madeira to Santo Domingo. Bringing together international scholars
working on Spain, Portugal and a range of related geographies, it seeks
to address the impact of ‘itinerant’ artworks, artists and ideas, and
issues of migration and non-linear transfers of materials, techniques
The theme of ‘travellers’—artists who reached or departed the region,
at times more than once in their lives, but also objects and concepts
imported and exported—will expand and inflect traditional narratives of
late medieval and Renaissance art, underscoring the complexity of global
interactions and exchanges which connected the Iberian peninsula to
Europe and beyond. Bringing together international scholars working on
Iberia and a range of related geographies, the conference seeks to
address the impact of ‘itinerant’ artworks, artists and ideas, and to
expand the field of analysis beyond Europe to encompass relationships
with newly acquired dominions, from Madeira to Santo Domingo.
Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:
Iberian artists employed abroad, from the master mason Guillelm
Sagrera in Naples, to the sculptor Juan de la Huerta at the Chartreuse
The close imitation of northern artists in such works as the Portuguese copies of Quentin Metsys’s The Angel Appearing to Saints Clara, Colette and Agnes (early 16th century, Museu de Setúbal / Convento de Jesus, Portugal)
‘Iberian’ objects produced elsewhere, for example Christian ivory
carvings made in Goa or Kongo, Afro-Portuguese spoons, and Mexican
‘feather-work’ adopting the vocabulary of northern European late Gothic
Works made for a non-Iberian audience but purchased and displayed by local patrons.
By encouraging conversations across such seemingly disparate topics and geographies, the conference aims to position the Iberian artistic landscape within the networks of artistic exchange that spanned the medieval and Renaissance worlds, challenging the significance of 1492 as a moment of rupture between the Middle Ages and Early Modern periods.
Papers should not exceed 20 minutes in length. Successful candidates will be notified by 17 February. In the first instance, applicants are encouraged to apply to their home institution for travel and accommodation funding. The organisers hope to provide financial support for travel and accommodation to speakers who require it. This conference is made possible by the kind generosity of Sam Fogg.
Salary Range: Competitive salary based on our professorial Pay Scales (starting at £64,606 and going considerably higher based on experience)
Working arrangements: The role is full time, but we will consider requests for flexible working arrangements including potential job shares.
Open date: 30 September 2019
Closing date:17 January 2020 at 12pm midday
Preferred start date: Successful candidates will ideally be in post by 01 September 2020.
We are seeking an outstanding academic leader and scholar in Spanish and Latin American Art and/or Visual Culture to direct the interdisciplinary Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art, a collaborative venture with The Auckland Project.
The Director will be an internationally recognised authority in
her/his field who will act as an intellectual entrepreneur, developing
academic contacts within Durham University, as well as nationally and
internationally, and work in close collaboration with The Auckland
Project’s forthcoming Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland – the central
impetus for the creation of the Zurbarán Centre – on research,
programming, and the development of joint initiatives. The Director will
be located in an appropriate academic department of Durham University
(Faculty of Arts and Humanities).
Auckland Castle, at the heart of The Auckland Project, is one of the
most important working episcopal palaces in Europe, the seat of the
Prince Bishops of Durham since the twelfth century. For more than 250
years, Auckland Castle has been home to the internationally significant
cycle of masterpieces from the Spanish Golden Age, Jacob and his Twelve Sons
by Francisco de Zurbarán, the inspiration for The Zurbarán Centre.
Financier Jonathan Ruffer set up Auckland Castle Trust in 2012 (now The
Auckland Project) to secure the future of the Zurbaráns in Bishop
Durham University formally established the Zurbarán Centre in October 2016. The Centre’s collaboration with the Spanish Gallery will provide an unusual opportunity to combine engagement with connoisseurship of a new permanent collection with scholarship of, particularly, Golden Age art, playing to Durham University’s established strengths in Spanish and Latin American studies. The Centre is an embedded part of Durham University located in Bishop Auckland, where the Director will be primarily based.
This represents an exciting opportunity to further the ambitions of both partner organisations to become the leading home for the study and appreciation of Spanish and Latin American art. Over the past three years, the Centre has fostered research in Spanish and Latin American art in a global context, with a special focus on the art of Medieval Spain, the Spanish Golden Age, Mexican national art, the 19th-century history of collecting, and Spanish and Latin American cinema and photography.
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
In the context of Latin America, traditional History of Science discourses have tended to focus on European actors and their agency. This interdisciplinary workshop will elucidate new and emerging perspectives on the history and theories of science, nature, and the enviornment in the region. By doing so, the workshop hopes to further develop the critical discussion around knowledge production and transfer in Latin America. Our speakers will all offer responses to the following key questions, using examples from their own research:
What can your research say about hierarchies of power and knowledge in Latin America?
What does the History of Science and Nature in Latin America say or contribute to the history of the region in a broader sense?
Nicola Miller (UCL)
Helen Cowie (University of York)
Lesley Wylie (University of Leicester)
Sophie Brockmann (De Montfort University)
Ximena Urbina (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso)
A discussion will follow the individual presentations, and the event will conclude with a free drinks reception. All welcome.
Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture is a quarterly peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing the most current international research on the visual culture of Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, as well as that created in diaspora. A defining focus of the journal is its concentration of current scholarship on both Latin American and Latinx visual culture in a single publication. The journal aims to approach ancient, colonial, modern and contemporary Latin American and Latinx visual culture from a range of interdisciplinary methodologies and perspectives. The journal was first published in January 2019, and three issues are now available on the journal’s website.
The Metropolitan Museum Journal presents richly illustrated studies of works in the Museum’s collection, including prominent as well as lesser known pieces, and relating them to works in other collections. The journal’s editorial board has recently announced that starting with volume 55, authors who publish in the Metropolitan Museum Journal (MMJ) will no longer be responsible to provide or pay for high-resolution images. The editorial office at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will acquire all high-resolution images and obtain English-language, world publication rights for print and electronic editions of MMJ. Journal authors will no longer need to spend time and effort on securing images. Click here for more information on this innovative policy.