Emily Pegues

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Emily Pegues

PhD student

Thesis title: Jan Borreman and Sculptural Practice in the Burgundian Netherlands c. 1479-1520

Supervised by Prof. Susie Nash

Funded by

  • Mrs Charles Wrightsman Scholarship
  • Friends of the Courtauld Scholarship
  • Beatrice Del Favero Scholarship
  • Guilford Foundation Scholarship
  • Mrs Jane Wrightsman Scholarship

Netherlandish sculptor Jan Borreman, active in the Burgundian Netherlands c. 1479-1520, carved major devotional sculpture for churches throughout Europe for an elite and diverse patronage. Based in Brussels, Borreman and his workshop produced a wide range of objects—wooden models for bronze-casting, large-scale crucifixions and saints, and complex monumental retables—for the dukes of Burgundy, illustrious militia-civic groups, and patrons outside the Burgundian Netherlands. His distinctively expressive manner of carving combined virtuosity with intricate detail, matching that of the greatest Netherlandish painters and making the Borreman ‘brand’ of carving influential among his contemporaries, who called him ‘die beste meester beeldesnijder,’ ‘the best master sculptor.’

Seen in context of comparison with his contemporaries in quality, influence on other artists, patronage and wide geographic appeal, Borreman is a sculptor of considerable importance. Yet the same practices which made him a sought-after sculptor and brought him renown in his time—specialized production in collaboration with other artists—have obscured his impact on 15th c. art and today he is primarily known, mainly to specialists, for a single signed and dated work, the masterly Martyrdom of St George retable. Wartime destruction of archives and displacement of works from their original settings, difficulties of attribution, and various other factors have also contributed to his relative scholarly neglect.

Through a case study of Jan Borreman’s career, this dissertation examines late 15th c. sculptural practice in the Burgundian Netherlands, defining it broadly to encompass not only the woodcarver’s work with mallet and chisel, but also the social networks in which he functioned, and the literary, political, and religious activities which were inextricably intertwined with the business of sculpting. Alert to the historiographies of Borreman, Belgium, and the wider field of sculpture, the project considers issues of collaborative artistic production in Borreman’s models for metalwork; social networks, politics, war and devotion in the Martyrdom of St George retable; and the international appeal of Brussels woodcarving through works made for export outside of the Burgundian Netherlands.

 

Education

  • Courtauld Institute of Art
    PhD candidate, 2012-present
    MA History of Art, 2010-2011: Commemoration, Salvation and Splendour: Artistic Production and Patronage in France and the Burgundian Netherlands, c. 1380-1520, with Professor Susie Nash (Distinction).

    • Dissertation: ‘”Come, come and be crowned”: The enamel triptych and French royalty, c. 1498-1538’ (Distinction)
  • Sweet Briar College
    BA, 1996-2000: double-major cum laude in History of Art and in Spanish. Kathryn Haw Prize in Art History

Teaching

  • Museum docent workshop: Dutch Golden Age, National Gallery of Art Education Department, 19 February 2019; 4 November 2015
  • Food for Thought seminar: ‘Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice: Reflections of Abundance in the Dutch Golden Age,’ National Gallery of Art Education Department, April 2015
  • Guest lecturer, ‘Objects and Material Culture,’ undergraduate seminar on Italian renaissance art, Georgetown University history department, April 2014
  • Gallery talks on Tilman Riemenschneider’s Bishop Saint; Netherlandish tapestry cushions; ‘Three Tudor Portraits by Holbein and Gheeraerts;’ ‘The Torpedoing of the Tubantia: a German WWI propaganda medal,’ National Gallery of Art, winter–spring 2012.
  • Gallery talk on Portrait of Sir John Luttrell by Hans Eworth, Courtauld Gallery, March 2011.

Research interests

  • Northern Renaissance art
  • Woodcarving, stonecarving and bronze casting
  • Collaborative process among artists
  • Depictions of tools and materials
  • Artist signatures and self-representation
  • Models for sculpture

Conference papers and lectures

  • ‘Sculpture and Supplication: The Clay Tablet and the Cleveland Carthusians,’ exhibition study day, ‘The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, and Jan Vos,’ The Frick Collection, 17 December 2018
  • New Technical Research on the Tomb of Mary of Burgundy,’ with Dylan Smith, National Gallery of Art, 12 February 2018
  • ‘Facture and Image: the tomb effigy of the Black Prince,’ with Jessica Barker and Graeme McArthur, Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum, 11 January 2018
  • ‘An art historical and scientific analysis of the tomb effigy of the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral,’ with Jessica Barker and Graeme McArthur, Canterbury Cathedral, 16 November 2017.  A brief video overview of our research:

  • ‘Carving for Casting: Jan Borreman’s Wooden Models for Bronze,’ given at the Annual Third Year Postgraduate Symposium, Courtauld Institute of Art, 9 June 2017
  • ‘Cut, Carve, Cast, Clean: Jan Borreman’s Wooden Models for Bronze Sculpture,’ given at the National Gallery of Art, 31 October 2016
  • ‘Days of destruction: Leuven,’ given at the National Gallery of Art, 31 July 2016
  • ‘Meanwhile in the North… Jan Borreman’s wooden models for bronze sculpture,’ given at the Renaissance Society of America conference, Boston, 31 March 2016
  • ‘This is that sweet rose… Art and authority at Fontevrault,’ given at Sweet Briar College, 30 April 2015
  • ‘”To die for an ideal:” Three wars, one retable, and the foundations of a Belgian history of art,’ given at the Religion, Art and Conflict conference, Courtauld Institute of Art, 6 December 2014
  • ‘Crossbows, Clerics and Dead Duchesses. The Netherlandish Woodcarving of Jan Borreman, c. 1479-1520,’ inaugural lecture, given at Tower Villas Sculpture Talks, Arlington, 17 September 2014
  • ‘Jan Borman’s compass: Artistic identity and the rhetoric of skill in early Netherlandish sculpture,’ given at the Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference on ‘Skill,’ Ioannou Centre, 4 April 2013
  • ‘Jan Borman, Rogier van der Weyden, and the Crossbowmen of Leuven,’ given at the Lille-Leuven-London Conference, Park Abbey, 18 March 2013
  • ‘Art for the Abbey: Louise de Bourbon and Female Authority at Fontevrault,’ given at the Feminist Art History Conference, American University, 10 November 2012

Recent publications

  • ‘Jan Borreman’s Wooden Models for Bronze Sculpture: A Documentary Reconstruction,’ in Artibus et Historiæ, December 2017, no. 76, XXXIX, pp. 181-204
  • Catalogue entries on woodcarving, tapestry, alabaster, and metalwork, in Highlights from the National Gallery of Art, 2016
  • Turk on Horseback Attacked by a Lion,’ in Bronze, Boxwood, and Ivory in the Robert H. Smith Collection of Renaissance Sculpture.  A Second Supplement to the Catalogue Volume ‘Art of the Renaissance Bronze 1500-1650,’ with Eike D. Schmidt et al., pp. 38-41, The Burlington Magazine, November 2015
  • ‘Artistic Exchange in Renaissance Europe,’ in Journeys in Art and Ambition, Courtauld Institute of Art Teachers’ Resource, 2013
  • ‘Antico: Related Works in the Permanent Collection’ guide, National Gallery of Art, 2011
  • Catalogue entries on 16th c. French enamel and Italian sculpture in exhibition catalogue Pregio e Bellezza: Cammei e intagli dei Medici (Palazzo Pitti), 2010
  • ‘Sculpture in One Hour’ guide, National Gallery of Art, 2010

Other academic activities

  • Research scholarship recipient, Francis Haskell Memorial Fund, December 2018 
  • Participant, Graduate Seminar ‘Invention and Observation in Italian Renaissance and Baroque Drawings,’ with Sir Nicholas Penny, Drawing Institute, The Morgan Library & Museum, 4 May 2018
  • Research Support Grant recipient, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, ‘The armored body and sculptural practice in medieval English brass tomb effigies,’ spring 2018
  • Organizer, Eighth Quadrennial Italian Renaissance Sculpture Conference (‘Centers of Renaissance Sculptural Production’), National Gallery of Art, 26-28 October 2017
  • Participant, Summer Course for the Study of the Arts in Flanders: ‘Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Low Countries’, M-Leuven and Vlaamse Kunstcollectie, summer 2017
  • Research subject (electroencephalography), ‘A Neuroscientific and Cognitive-Forensic Examination of Individual Differences in Face Recognition Ability,’ University of Greenwich, 5 October 2016
  • Participant and Samuel H. Kress History of Art Grant recipient, Summer Course for the Study of the Arts in Flanders: ‘The Age of Van Eyck in Context’, Groeninge Museum/ Flemish Research Centre for the Arts in the Burgundian Netherlands, summer 2015
  • Research group member, ‘Religion, Art and Conflict: disputes, destruction and creation,’ Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum, June – December 2014
  • Member, Historians of Netherlandish Art
  • Member, Renaissance Society of America
  • Member, International Center of Medieval Art

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