Costanza Beltrami - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Costanza Beltrami

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Costanza Beltrami

PhD Candidate

Thesis: Juan Guas (active 1453-1496) and Hispano-Flemish Architecture in late medieval Spain: collaboration, networks and geography
Supervised by Tom Nickson
Funded by CHASE

Juan Guas, long recognised as the leading architect of late medieval Castile, was commissioned palaces, cathedrals and monastic complexes by the most important patrons of his time. In a seminal article of 1951, Spanish art historian José María Azcárate identified him as the genius who single-handedly created Spain’s unique Hispano-Flemish style by fusing northern European gothic with the so-called mudéjar traditions of southern Iberia. This paradigm is still largely followed in studies of Guas’ oeuvre, often blinded by Azcárate’s politics and presumptions. Yet even the published primary documents and drawings related to Guas suggest that Azcárate overlooked the key role of collaboration and exchange in the design and construction of Guas’ architectural projects; an oversight that ultimately questions the very existence of Azcárate’s cherished Hispano-Flemish style.

My research will use the key figure of Guas as a springboard to explore collaboration and artistic exchange in late gothic architecture, re-assessing problematic modern concepts such as individual creativity, identity, and stylistic hybridity.


  • MA History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 2014–5.
    • Specialist Option: Gothic Encounters: Architecture and Emulation in the Middle Ages.
    • Dissertation title: ‘Ideal solitude and lay access in the main cloister of the Hieronymite Monastery of Guadalupe (Extremadura, Spain) during the fifteenth century.’
  • BA History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 2011–2014

Other academic activity

Research interests

  • Late-Gothic architecture
  • architectural drawing
  • nationalism and historiography
  • artistic training and collaboration
  • migration of artists and craftsmen

Recent publications

  • Building a Crossing Tower: A Design for Rouen Cathedral of 1516 (Sam Fogg, March 2016)

Selected Conference Papers

  • ‘Burying the builder: a case study of the funerary chapel of Juan Guas (active 1453-1496) in San Justo y Pastor, Toledo,’ presented at the Conference Loci Sepulcrales, Pantheons and Other Places of Memory and Burial in the Middle Ages, 21-23 September 2017, Santa Maria da Vitória Monastery, Batalha, Portugal
  • ‘Learning the language, Translating the Tricks: Assimilating the “Other” in the Late-Gothic Castilian Construction World, c. 1450-1500,’ presented at the 24th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 6 July 2017
  • ‘“What a nullity!”: Rejection, Decorum, and Historical Explanations in the Construction of San Juan de los Reyes (Toledo, Spain) in the Late Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Twentieth Centuries’ presented at the ICMA Student Committee Session, 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, MI), 13 May 2017
  • ‘From royal pantheon to parish church: The monastic church of San Juan de los Reyes as model for San Andrés, Toledo,’ presented at Gothic Architecture in Spain: Invention and Imitation, Courtauld Institute of Art, 16 March 2017
  • ‘Building and rebuilding the cloister of Segovia Cathedral (1436-1530): collaborations across space and time,’ presented at 22nd Annual Medieval Postgraduate Student Colloquium: Medieval Collaborations, 4 February 2017

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