‘A craving for truthfulness’: the sacred made real in medieval Castile - The Courtauld Institute of Art

‘A craving for truthfulness’: the sacred made real in medieval Castile

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Coll & Cortés Medieval Spain, Medieval Work In Progress, Research Seminars

‘A craving for truthfulness’: the sacred made real in medieval Castile

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

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Cristo de Burgos, Burgos cathedral, before 1399. Photo: Tom Nickson

  • Wednesday 25 January 2017
    PLEASE NOTE: This Date Has Passed
    5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

    Research Forum Seminar Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN

Speaker

  • Dr Tom Nickson - The Courtauld Institute of Art

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  • Dr Tom Nickson - The Courtauld Institute of Art

A craving for truthfullness, however repellent, is a characteristic feature of Spanish art: the ideal and the conventional form no part of the genius of this race, which is totally devoid of aesthetic sense’ (Théophile Gautier, Voyages en Espagne, 1843). Gautier’s infamous dismissal was prompted not by the extraordinarily lifelike sculptures and paintings made famous by the National Gallery’s landmark Sacred made Real exhibition of 2009, but by a graphic fourteenth-century crucifixion in Burgos cathedral that became famous across Spain and Latin American, the Cristo de Burgos. In this paper I examine the origins of the Cristo de Burgos, comparing it with other miraculous and lifelike sculptures across the Iberian Peninsula in order to re-examine the status of affective images in late medieval Castile.

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