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Title: Flanders Abroad: The Flemish Artistic Presence in 17th-Century Madrid
Authors: Newman, Abigail Dorothy
Advisors: Kaufmann, Thomas DaCosta
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Art Collecting
Cultural Identity
Subjects: Art history
European studies
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Focused on the interwoven histories – political, economic, social, and artistic – of Flanders and the Spanish empire to which it belonged, this dissertation investigates how Flemish painters and paintings entered Spain and the role of these Flemish transplants in the development of Spanish tastes, collecting, and art production. Analyzing Spanish and Flemish visual, bibliographic, and archival material, this dissertation confronts questions of style, mobility, quality, and artistic exchange via concrete historical examples. The Introduction traces these regions’ centuries-long relationship, setting the stage for the transformations that would occur in seventeenth-century Madrid. Part I examines Flemish immigrant painters and their strategic use of organizations and relationships to establish their careers. Pursuing vertical mobility up the court hierarchy, many sought to join the Spanish king’s Burgundian guard. Flemish immigrant painters also collaborated within familial networks and cultivated international connections. Despite some successes, many experienced professional difficulties, their careers representative of countless peripatetic artists of the period. Addressing how Flemish painting genres entered the Madrid art market, Part II investigates the visual qualities most often associated with these genres. A critical element of Flemish paintings for seventeenth-century Spaniards was a distinctive balance between figures and “surroundings.” Spanish texts register awareness of this balance, and Spanish painters appropriated and adapted it, competing with immigrants’ paintings and the plethora of imported Flemish paintings. Part III interweaves artistic biography, new kinds of subject matter, and Spanish public reception to consider how the Antwerp-born painter Juan de la Corte’s career can serve as a barometer for Spanish taste in Flemish painting: early triumphs encouraged him to cling to a “Flemish” style, even as it came under attack. Finally, in assessing Peter Paul Rubens’ paintings in Spanish inventories and art treatises and their echoes in Spanish painters’ responses to them, Part IV argues that Rubens’ paintings offered a dramatically new model of Flemish art in Spain, rooted in the human figure. Whereas Spanish conceptions of Flemish painting had long centered on the depiction of “surroundings,” in Rubens’ paintings, Spanish audiences saw a style of art unmoored from a geographical foundation, with the power to be integrated into “Spanish” art.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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