In scholarship of the past few decades, symbol and metaphor, as couched in poetry, rhymed prose and sacred texts, have been shown to provide productive lenses through which to reconstruct the phenomenology of viewers’ experiences of numerous medieval Islamic built environments. Her own previous work includes deep exploration of these themes in both fitna/Taifa (11th-century) and Almoravid (late 11th-early 12th century) contexts. Her present project brings these concerns into the Naṣrid and post-Naṣrid contexts of Granada, where metaphor’s task might be said to have morphed from one of transformation to one of embodiment, of assisting audiences in comprehending the “true” nature and essence of what they see. This paper will focus on two key case studies: the first, a lighting display confected from the (only, and quite lavish) celebration of the mawlid orchestrated by Muḥammad V in December of 1362, within the precincts of the Alhambra; the second, an inscription containing the famous “Light Verse” known to have formed part of the program of ornament commissioned for Granada’s Madrasa Yūsufiyya in the 1340s. Neither object of investigation survives physically—texts provide our only windows onto them, and will serve as our point of departure for their reconstruction and interpretation.
“Imagining the Passion in Multiconfessional Castile contains a wealth of information, detail, and insight, as well as abundant and beautiful illustrations,” writes Barbara Mujica. “Robinson brings to light countless unpublished and unknown texts and images and elucidates many understudied works. This volume not only alters our understanding of medieval Castilian devotional practices but also helps to bridge the gap between the Spanish Middle Ages and sixteenth-century mysticism, especially that of Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Luis de León.” Read more here.
Cynthia Robinson (History of Art) reveals the interrelation of late medieval Iberian religious practices and culture among coexisting sects in her new book, “Imagining the Passion in a Multi-Confessional Castile: The Virgin, Christ, Devotions, and Images in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries.”
Through an examination of devotional culture in the Castile region of Iberia up to the mid-15th century, Robinson finds that the “personalized” imagery narrating Christ’s passion, then prevalent in religious art across western Europe, was not a major influence for Castilian followers’ individual relationships to Christ.
Read more here.