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Durham University

Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art


Research Seminar Series organised by Durham University's Zurbarán Centre with the ARTES Iberian and Latin American Visual Culture Group in collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes and the Embassy of Spain in London

October-December 2021

The live, online seminar series provides an open forum for engaging with innovative research and exhibition projects relating to the visual arts in the Hispanic world. The sessions usually take place on Wednesdays, 6.00-7.00 pm (UK time).

Booking is essential. To register and to receive a link, please sign up here

For further information about the seminars, see and

Lisandra Estevez (Winston-Salem State University), Jusepe de Ribera’s Otherness: Identity and Representation in Early Modern Iberian Art

20th October 2021, 18:00 to 19:00, ZOOM

This talk takes a closer look at Ribera’s otherness as an artist. It first considers Ribera’s marginalized status in Spain, possibly because of his Morisco (converted Muslim) or Converso (converted Jewish) ancestry. The artist was painfully cognizant of his low status and commented on Spain’s ill-treatment of him “as a cruel stepmother to her children,” as famously recorded by the art theorist and painter Jusepe Martínez. While his ancestry remains speculative, specific biographical details have suggested that he might have been of Morisco ancestry. Second, Ribera’s subject position as an “other” informed his interpretation of innovative and unconventional content. In specific, this presentation will consider Ribera’s representations of Turkish men, such as his drawing of The Turkish Dignitary and other Figures (1630s, Madrid, Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando) and A Potentate Accompanied by His Halberd Bearer, c. 1625-1630, Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum). These proto-orientalist images have often been deemed fanciful or exotic, but a closer look at them reveals complex European and non-European identity constructs, respectively. Moreover, as an artist who might have left Spain due to social prejudices yet who promoted himself as a Spanish artist working in the Iberian dominion of Naples under the protection of its viceroys, Ribera paradoxically occupies a third or “in-between” space. Arguably, this intersectionality merits further introspection.

[Image: Jusepe de Ribera, A Potentate Accompanied by His Halberd Bearer, c. 1625-1630, brush and vermillion ink and wash; squared in pen and brown ink, 230 x 135 mm, Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Dr. Lisandra Estevez is Chairperson and Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Art + Visual Studies at Winston-Salem State University. Her areas of research include Spanish and Latin American art (1500 to the present), transatlantic artistic interactions, race and intersectionality in early modern Iberia and Latin America, and the history of collecting.  She has published an edited volume, Collecting Early Modern Art (1400-1800) in the U.S. South as well as articles and essays in the Sixteenth Century Journal, Renaissance Quarterly, and Paragone: Past and Present and several anthologies.

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