- Cervantes and the Pictorial Imagination: A Study of the Power of Images and Images of Power in Works by Cervantes by Ana María G Laguna (review)
- Calíope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 15, Number 2, 2009
- pp. 102-105
- View Citation
- Additional Information
102 Reviews ! ! ! ! ! the work in question was, in fact, by Juan Bautista de Villegas. As such, the cartel attests to how key aspects of Spain’s theater culture— including misattribution of plays to Lope in order to sell more tickets— found a fertile ground in Spanish America. Another bank of images shows lighting fixtures and cite apposite scenes from plays. For instance, an image of a candil appears alongside an acotación from La dama duende that calls for one. Likewise, the editors gloss an image of a barril de truenos with an acotación from El cerco de Numancia. In short, whether viewed as a teaching tool, as a prompt for further research or as a compendium that gathers and recontextualizes the erudition of previous generations for our digital age, DICAT promises to enhance our understanding of early modern theater’s diverse social and physical contexts. Beyond scholars of early modern Spanish literature and theater history, those interested in the cultural history of labor in general and women’s work in particular will also find many points of interest. Its price is comparable to other reference works, such as hardcover editions of the Maria Moliner dictionary or the 2003 Gredos Historia del teatro español. For scholars of Spain’s theater or social history based in North America or graduate students preparing dissertations, DICAT will be a particularly good value, as its entries gather information that would otherwise require significant research time in Spanish libraries and archives. Elizabeth R. Wright University of Georgia Laguna, Ana María G. Cervantes and the Pictorial Imagination: A Study of the Power of Images and Images of Power in Works by Cervantes. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP, 2009. HB. 176 pp. ISBN: 978-0-83875727 -7. When I was a student it seemed like only art historians took artworks seriously and for everyone else they were merely or only illustrations. Today, in contrast, the artwork is placed front and center in the new interpretive endeavor known as visual culture studies. The new titles appearing from different presses are rapidly reshaping our understanding of the artwork’s role in culture. As an art historian, I ! ! ! ! ! RESEÑAS 103 must admit I am conflicted, excited but also concerned. The ready accessibility of images that characterizes our culture was unknown throughout the early modern period. In order to see an artwork one had to travel, and even then access depended upon the goodwill of the collector or collecting institution. In Spain, European paintings were collected by the royals and displayed in their private residences in Madrid and elsewhere. While the royal collection has been called a museum, the term should be used with care, because access was not automatic and there were no regular hours. But even if access were forthcoming, pictures are not quick studies. Titian’s paintings were plentiful in the Spanish royal collection after 1550 but they did not exert any significant influence on the development of Spanish painting until Velázquez. This gap of nearly a century probably had less to do with Velázquez as an artist than with Velázquez’s total immersion in Titian. Charged with maintaining and caring for the royal collection, Velázquez is the first Spanish painter to enjoy the prolonged exposure that is required and demanded by paintings. Lastly, the royal collection was less than comprehensive: while some artists such as Titian were well represented, other artists were barely represented at all; a case in point is Pieter Brueghel, whose genre paintings were virtually unknown in Spain. Ana Laguna’s interdisciplinary project originated in an NEH seminar, Cervantes and Italian Art, led by Frederick de Armas, a prominent scholar of Cervantine ekphrasis. As stated in her introduction, her book explores Cervantes’s relationship to the surrounding visual culture and the “ongoing debates and conflicts that engrossed his contemporaries in the visual domain” (14). She interprets two works that can be considered antithetical, Don Quixote (1605, 1615) and El coloquio de los perros (1613) as reflections on “the conception of beauty, the propagandistic usage of art, and the theological association of the image” (14). The antithetical relationship between idealism maintained in the face of reality in the...