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Organizado por Elena Alcalá, Isabel Cervera y Mª Cruz de Carlos

Golden Age Art and Globalization in Madrid's Museums

  • Fechas:

    Del 02/09/19 al 12/09/19

  • Lugar:

    Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, España (mapa)

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Many of the objects that are admired today in Spain's major museums arrived here in the Early Modern period.  Collections of art, artifacts, and objects - everythig from paintings and sculptures to armor, textiles, feathers, books, exotic shells and even animal horns - transmitted a variety of meanings, many of which are lost to the average museum visitor today.  

Understanding these objects (their origins, how they arrived and how they were seen) introduces students to a deeper appreciation of how Spanish history and identity has been and is created in relationship with the rest of the world, and especially with Spanish-speaking America and Asia.  The course will explore these issues using ten selected objects that will provide a view of early globalization focusing on questions raised by the objects themselves.  One of the topics to analyze will be the relationship of art to diplomacy, seeking to shed light on the value of paintings of distant places, peoples and animals as "proof" or "document" in the age before photography, or the place of "the others" (non-Europeans) in the history of Spanish and European societies in general, both in the past and in today's globalized and multicultural world.  Attention will also be paid to questions such as commerce, consumption, religion, and gender in a world of travelling objects and persons, always with an emphasis on elucidating how these travels created new meanings for objects in new contexts.

This course has a practical, object-based character, with practically all of the sessions taking place in museums, libraries and other collections in Madrid and its surroundings.  Presentations and discussions will take place in fromt of the objects themselves.  This experience will help students to work with objects and to be aware of the material aspects of globalization, further from what is expressed in academic texts and articles.  It is expected too that all will feel something of the fascination and intrigue experienced by contemporaries who saw these things for the first time.

Interested students please apply by sending an email and your transcript to Isabel Cervera (isabel.cervera@uam.es)

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Golden Age Art and Globalization in Madrid’s Museums

Each session consists of a guided collective analysis and discussion of the various issues raised by each given object. The information related to these objects will be posted on the course's Moodle website in advance, together with comparative-contextual material (articles, references, illustrations of other similar or related objects). This will enable students to prepare for each session and will provide material for further consultation after each session; it also intends to help them prepare the course assignment.


Monday, September 2

Centro Cultural La Corrala (Calle Carlos Arniches) 10.00-14.00

•             Course presentation: 1 hr.

•             Early Modern Globalization (Where are we?): 1 hr.

•             Early Modern Globalization (Where we might go?): 1 hr.


Tuesday, September 3

Biblioteca Nacional, Sala Cervantes 10.00 -14.00

·         Object 1: Chinese edition of Nadal's engravings         

                Topic: Religion as an Agent of Globalization.

·         Object 2.: Unknown artist, Portrait of Candida Hiu, ant. 1691,

Topic: A global gender?



Wednesday, September 4

Centro Cultural La Corrala 10.00-13.30

·         Workshop: writing about art for a general audience in the 21st century.


Thursday, September 5

Prado Museum 10.00-14.00        

·         Object 3: Diego Velázquez, Jerónima de la Fuente, 1620.

                Topic: A global gender?

·         Object 4: Rubens and Brueghel, Los Sentidos (The Five Senses), 1617-1618

                Topic: Commerce


Monday, September 9

Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, 10.00-14.00

·         Objects 5 and 6: East Asian porcelain and Chocolate Serving Set

(table, porcelain cup, "mancera", 17-18th centuries)

                Topic: Consumption

Object 7: Namban Reliquary-arquette, Olinalá (Mexico), 1651-1750.

Topic: Acculturation.


Tuesday, September 10

Museo de América, 10.00 -14.00

·         Object 8: Andrés Sánchez Gallque, Mulatos de Esmeraldas, 1599

Topic: Art and Diplomacy; and Art as Document

·         Object 9: Folding screen (biombo) of the Palo Volador (Mexico), late 17th century

Topic: Artistic hybridization

·         Object 10: Casta painting, XVIII century         

Topic: The construction of new social identities


Wednesday, September 11

Centro Cultural La Corrala, 10.00 -14.00

Film viewing and discussion: A Recent Account of Globalization: Martin Scorsese's Silence (2016)


Thursday, September 12

Centro Cultural La Corrala, 10.00-13.00

Student Presentations





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