Celebrating Female Agency in the Arts - Christie's Education Symposium

Princely Patronage in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy and Portugal

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Fees: $235.00


Throughout the Middle Ages, queens and princesses sponsored the construction of monasteries, the creation of religious images, reliquaries and retables, and stimulated by their commissions and purchases the work of jewelers, illuminators, writers and musicians, among other artists. At the turn of the Modern Era, they also started to collect and exhibit in their wunderkammerns and kunstkammerns the exotic objects that came in increasing quantities from the colonies that the Portuguese and Spanish Crowns established in Africa, Asia and America, and were traded by Italian merchants everywhere else in Europe. In this session, we will study the patterns of consumption and patronage of some of these Iberian and Italian wealthy and independent royal and noble women, in order to show their relevance at court and the changes they promoted, their attention to the creative work of women being not the least of them.   


Ana Maria S. A. Rodrigues

Maria Barreto Dávila
Carla Alferes Pinto
Adelina Modesti

Course dates

June 26 - 27, 2018

Christie's New York
20 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020


Ana Maria S. A. Rodrigues
Centre of History, University of Lisbon

Paper Title:  Silver Plate, Jewels, Precious Fabrics: Providing for Queen Isabel’s (r.1497-1498) and Queen Maria’s (r.1500-1517) Treasure and Attire in Castile, Aragon and Portugal

Ana Maria S. A. Rodrigues (M.A., University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, 1981; PhD University of Minho, 1992) is Associate Professor at the University of Lisbon. Previously, she lectured at the University of Minho. As Deputy Co-ordinator of the National Commission for the Commemoration of the Portuguese Discoveries (1999-2002) she has co-ordinated the organization and production of several exhibitions of art and culture, and the corresponding catalogues. She is currently working on a project on the Treasures of the Iberian Royal Houses (1279-1521): A comparative perspective. Her most recent publication is Casamentos da Família Real Portuguesa: Diplomacia e Cerimonial (Marriages of the Portuguese Royal Family: Diplomacy and Ceremonial), coord. Ana Maria S. A. Rodrigues, Manuela Santos Silva and Ana Leal de Faria, 2 vols., Lisbon, Círculo de Leitores, 2017.


Adelina Modesti, Ph.D.
Honorary Associate in Art History, La Trobe University

Paper Title: Matrilineal Patronage in Early Modern Italy. Grand Duchess of Tuscany Vittoria della Rovere: patron, collector, and promoter of women in the arts. 

Adelina Modesti is an Honorary Associate in the Department of Archeology and History at La Trobe University, where she was an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History (2008-2011), researching women's cultural patronage and networks in early modern Italy. The recipient of many grants and awards, and member of international forums on the study of early modern women, she also held an AEUIFAI Postdoctoral Fellowship at the European University Institute, Florence (2008). An internationally recognized authority on the C17th painter and printmaker Elisabetta Sirani, and the author of numerous publications on women artists and female patronage, Adelina is currently working on a forthcoming book for Routledge, Female Patronage and Gendered Cultural Networks in Early Modern Europe: Vittoria della Rovere, Grand Duchess of Tuscany. She is a member of the Florence Council of Advisors for the Advancing Women Artists Foundation, and acts as consultant for Christie's in Bolognese Seicento art.


Maria Barreto Dávila, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow at CHAM, Centre for Humanities

Paper Title: From Mother to Daughter: Female Agency and Patronage at the Portuguese Court in the Late 15th Century 

Maria Barreto Dávila is a post-doctoral fellow at CHAM – Centre for Humanities, currently working on the project “Gender, Space and Power: representations of female authority at the Portuguese Court (1438-1471)”. She has a PhD in History of the Portuguese Discoveries and Expansion, with the thesis “Ruling the Atlantic: The infanta Beatriz and the House of Viseu (1470-1485)”, from the NOVA-FCSH, and holds a master's degree in Medieval History from the same institution. Her main research interests include Court Studies, especially the relationship of women and power, during the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, and the beginning of the Portuguese Discoveries in the Atlantic, where she is developing a new research line about women and the sea. She is presently working on a book about the life of Princess Beatriz of Portugal, mother of King Manuel I, and one of the most influential women of 15th-century Portugal. She is one of the editors of the platform H-Portugal (https://networks.h-net.org/h-portugal).

Carla Alferes Pinto, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow at CHAM, Centre for Humanities 

Paper Title: Sumptuous Relics, Sacred Objects: Art, Reliquaries and Agency in the Life of Infanta Maria of Portugal (1521-1577)

Carla Alferes Pinto is a post-doctoral Fellow at CHAM – Centre for Humanities, currently working on the project “The Allure of Things. The Consumption of Artistic Objects by the Infantas and Queens Avis-Beja (1430-1577)”. She has a PhD in History of Art/Museology and Artistic Heritage from the NOVA/FCSH with the title “The Collection of Colonial Art of the Lisbon Patriarchate. Proposal for Study and Museum Display”. Her research focus is on the production, circulation, and consumption of art throughout the Early Modern period. In the last years she has been dedicated to the analysis of gender issues associated to demand, production and appropriation of material culture; the study of the artistic relations between Portugal and India (16th-17th centuries) and the ways in which material culture produced in such contexts was used; and the discussion of the reception and representation of “Indo-Portuguese art” in Portuguese museums (19th-20th centuries).

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