Professor Jocelyn Alcántara-Garcia to Give Talk on Spanish Illuminated Manuscripts

On Wednesday, May 10, 2023, Professor Jocelyn Alcántara-Garcia will discuss her research on Spanish illuminated manuscripts in her talk, “How Hidalgos Flaunted Their Status: Materials Symbolism in 15th- to 18th-century Spain.” This free event will take place in-person in Morris Library, Class of 1941 Lecture Room at noon.

From the late 15th to early 18th centuries, monarchic law in Spain used symbolism to elevate the significance of all aspects of life. Just look to Spanish legal documents from the time, which are frequently decorated with illuminations. While Spain is the only European country with such a historical tradition, both technical analyses and knowledge of Spanish illuminated manuscripts-making practices are scant.

Join Professor Jocelyn Alcántara-García to explore the earliest results of an ongoing survey of these illumination traditions. The survey studies cartas ejecutorias de hidalguía (or, executory certificates of nobility), which contain judicial proceedings whereby a family gained or was reassigned hidalguía (or, lower nobility). The symbolism used in these documents and illuminations often reflected their status. The first two in-depth studies in the survey used cartas from our Special Collections, representing the Davila family and Nuñez D. Armesto family.

Jocelyn Alcántara-García (she/her/ella) is a conservation scientist and associate professor in the Department of Art Conservation. Her research interests revolve around material culture and are divided into three broad categories involving textiles and archival materials: forensic analysis, reverse engineering and degradation mechanisms, and innovative approaches to nondestructively study cultural heritage. She is also active in creating new pedagogies that attract and retain people to STEM fields.