In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in Early Modern Festivals. These spectacles articulated the self-image of ruling elites and played out the tensions of the diverse social strata. Responding to the growing academic interest in festivals this volume focuses on the early modern Iberian world, in particular the spectacles staged by and for the Spanish Habsburgs. The study of early modern Iberian festival culture in Europe and the wider world is surprisingly limited compared to the published works devoted to other kingdoms at the time. There is a clear need for scholarly publications to examine festivals as a vehicle for the presence of Spanish culture beyond territorial boundaries. The present books responds to this shortcoming. Festivals and ceremonials played a major role in the Spanish world; through them local identities as well as a common Spanish culture made their presence manifest within and beyond the peninsula through ephemeral displays, music and print. Local communities often conflated their symbols of identity with religious images and representations of the Spanish monarchy. The festivals (fiestas in Spanish) materialized the presence of the Spanish diaspora in other European realms. Royal funerals and proclamations served to establish kingly presence in distant and not so distant lands. The socio-political, religious and cultural nuances that were an intrinsic part of the territories of the empire were magnified and celebrated in the Spanish festivals in Europe, Iberia and overseas viceroyalties. Following a foreword and an introduction the remaining 12 chapters are divided up into four sections. The first explores Habsburg Visual culture at court and its relationship with the creation of a language of triumph and the use of tapestries in festivals. The second part examines triumphal entries in Madrid, Lisbon, Cremona, Milan, Pavia and the New World; the third deals with the relationship between religion and the empire through the examination of royal funerals, hagiography and calendric celebrations. The fourth part of the book explores cultural, artistic and musical exchange in Naples and Rome. Taken together these essays contribute further to our growing appreciation of the importance of early-modern festival culture in general, and their significance in the world of the Spanish Habsburgs in particular.
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Fernando Checa Cremades is a full Professor of History of Art at the University Complutense in Madrid and a former director of the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. Checa is recipient of the prestigious National Prize in History awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture for his ground-breaking study on Philip II of Spain as patron of the arts (Felipe II. Mecenas de las Artes). Fernando has published extensively on the artistic and cultural patronage of the Spanish House of Habsburg, especially during the rule of Emperor Charles V and Philip II of Spain. Checa is an active guest curator having curated major exhibitions on the royal collections of the Habsburgs and their extended family. Checa’s most recent monograph explores Titian’s production for the European courts (Tiziano y las Cortes del Renacimiento). Dr Laura FernÃ¡ndez-GonzÃ¡lez is a Lecturer in the School of History & Heritage, College of Arts at the University of Lincoln. She has held post-doctoral fellowships at the Institute for Advance Research in the Humanities (University of Edinburgh) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon (Portugal). Laura’s research programme and publication record concern cultural exchange, the relationship between centres and peripheries, and how these tensions are reflected in the artistic and architectural production of the early modern Spanish and Portuguese global empires. Laura graduated with PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2012, and her thesis was a recipient of a ’Dissertation award: Honourable mention’ awarded by the Association of Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies (ASPHS). She was convenor of the international conference on festivals of the Spanish Habsburgs in Edinburgh that was the origin of the present book.Review:
'Festival Culture in the World of the Spanish Habsburgs is a must. This is a superb exploration of the monarchy's pluralistic language of self-representation through local and transnational cultural events articulated in the visual, historical, religious, musical, print, literary, and ephemeral forms. The result is an exhilarating and compelling book with an original approach to the culture of festivals in the Spanish empire during the Habsburg dynasty.' Carmen Fracchia, Birkbeck, University of London, UK 'This stimulating book presents the triumphant worlds of the Spanish Habsburgs through a myriad of historical perspectives, embracing Iberia, Rome, Milan, Palermo and Spanish America. Painting, sculpture, architecture and music are examined through the lens of festivals and celebrations during the baroque period. Edited by two experts in the field, with contributions by leading scholars, this will be an enormously useful work of reference for scholars and students alike.' Marjorie Trusted, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK 'A truly outstanding contribution to the study of court rituals and festivals produced by the international networks of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty in Italy, Iberian Peninsula and colonial America during the 16th and 17th centuries. This volume provides interesting examples of the extraordinary rich culture linked with this global empire offering new approaches to the varied art media used to spread its soft power.' Bernardo J. Garcia Garcia, University Complutense of Madrid & Charles of Antwerp Foundation (Madrid), Spain
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