Tag Archives: castile

New Publication: Kirstin Kennedy, Alfonso X of Castile-León: Royal Patronage, Self-Promotion and Manuscripts in Thirteenth-century Spain (Amsterdam University Press, 2019)

9789462988972_promAlfonso X ‘the Learned’ of Castile (1252–1284) was praised in his lifetime as a king who devoted himself to discovering all worldly and divine knowledge. He commissioned chronicles and law codes and composed poems to the Virgin Mary, he gathered together Jewish scholars to translate works of Arab astrology and astronomy, and he founded a university of Latin and Arabic studies at Seville. Moreover, according to his nephew Juan Manuel, Alfonso was careful to ensure that ‘he had leisure to look into things he wanted for himself’. The level of his personal involvement in this literary activity marks him out as an exceptional patron in any period. However, Alfonso’s relationship with the arts also had much in common with that of other thirteenth-century European royal patrons, among them his first cousin, Louis IX of France. Like his contemporaries, he relentlessly used literary works as a vehicle to promote his royal status and advance his claim to the imperial crown. His motivation for the foundation of the university at Seville was arguably political rather than educational, and instead of promoting institutional learning during his reign, Alfonso preferred to direct the messages about his kingship in the lavish manuscripts he patronized to a restricted, courtly audience. Yet such was the interest of the works he commissioned, that those who could obtain copies did so, even if these were still incomplete drafts. Three codices traditionally held to have been copied for Alfonso in fact show how this learning reserved for the few began to filter out beyond the Learned King’s immediate circle.

Kirstin Kennedy is a curator of metalwork (specializing in silver) at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She previously held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at King’s College London, in the Department of Spanish and Spanish American Studies (2000–2003).

Please click here for more information.

CFP: Artistic Dialogue during the Middle Ages. Islamic Art – Mudéjar Art

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Call for Papers: Artistic Dialogue during the Middle Ages. Islamic Art – Mudéjar Art, Córdoba, Casa Arabe, November 18 – 20, 2016
Deadline: Apr 30, 2016

The research about Spain’s medieval cultural heritage has experienced a
great development in the last centuries. With the reassessment of the
legacy of al-Andalus and of the Reign of Castile and Aragon during the
nineteenth century, the historiography focusing especially on cultural
connections and disconnections has grown extensively. Concepts like
Reconquista, Convivencia and Mudéjar Art, are being interpreted as the
result of Spain’s nineteenth century’s particular socio-political
interests, related to the debate about national identity, religious
intolerance and to an evolutionist conception of history. The special
political and cultural reality of the Peninsula and its Middle Ages as

a geographical and temporal frame of cultural coexistence, pluralism
and heterogeneity has been controversially debated since that time.
At present, we assist to a critical revision and to an intense debate
on those inherited concepts. While the traditional historiography had
delineated several political, religious and artistic frontiers, new
conceptions of the medieval reality arise that interpret those
frontiers as being permeable and dynamic. This perspective leads to the
consideration of an artistic dialogue as the basis of shared
vocabularies. Such a dialogue will be the common thread of the present
conference: we intend to analyze, share and spread recent results and
new research projects on the Islamic and Mudéjar past of the Peninsula.
The conference will constitute a platform for novel lines of
investigation contributing to the debate on the artistic dialogue of
the

medieval Iberian Peninsula.

The following sections and themes are planned:

– Nineteenth century’s historiography: the reassessment of the Islamic
and Mudéjar past
– Islamic and Mudéjar urbanism
– Architectural reuse
– The twelfth century: dialogue or confrontation?
– The Iberian Peninsula and Europe: cultural connections
– Al-Andalus and the three cultures

Organized by: Prof. Dr. Alberto León (Universidad de Córdoba), Prof.
Dr. Francine Giese (Universität Zürich), Casa Arabe

Submission: Each presentation will be of 20 minutes, and may be given in Spanish or

English. Please submit a proposal of maximum 300 words and a brief
curriculum vitae by the 15th of April to the following e-mail address:
conference@transculturalstudies.ch