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Art and Architecture of Andalucía – five online talks by Dr Philippa Joseph

posted on 01/12/21


‘Andalucía seems at times less a real place than an invention of poets and storytellers’, so wrote the late Michael Jacobs. This series of webinars will seek to separate fact from fiction, while endeavouring to capture the essence of Andalucía’s rich and diverse architectural and artistic legacy produced between c.750 and c.1550. The region’s complex past, with its periods of religious co-existence and conflict between the three Abrahamic religions have left its major cities of Córdoba, Seville and Granada, with many iconic, beguilingly beautiful buildings and artefacts worthy of detailed exploration.

They take place every Tuesday from 1 February to 1 March at 4.30pm (GMT) and, including Q&A, will probably last just under an hour. They are available for viewing for eight weeks after the last episode is streamed (26 April 2022).

Register for the webinar series for £65


The talks 

1. Introducing Andalucía: Art, Architecture and Ancient History (1st February 2022)

This opening talk provides cultural, geographical and historical context for a region characterised, above all, by its nearly 800 years of Muslim rule. In creating a framework for understanding Andalucía and its rich cultural heritage, we will consider the important legacy of the Phoenicians, the Romans and the Visigoths, and their relevance to Andalucía’s later history.

2. The Rise and Fall of the Córdoban Umayyad (8th February 2022)

Military leaders loyal to the Umayyad caliph in Damascus first arrived in the Iberian peninsula at the behest of the Visigoths, who were eager to resolve a succession dispute. However, Umayyad rule in the region did not properly start until they were themselves deposed in Damascus by the Abbasid dynasty. The subsequent rise of the Umayyad, in what they named al-Andalus, left to posterity the wonderful Mesquita in Córdoba and the ruins of their caliphal city at Madīnat al-Zaḥrā’, destroyed after their fall in 1031.

3. Almoravid and Almohad al-Andalus: New Order and Formal Development (15th February 2022)

Following the collapse of the Umayyads, al-Andalus fragmented into a number of taifas, or petty kingdoms. With encroaching Christian monarchs from the north increasingly claiming Muslim-held territories, the formerly nomadic African Berbers came to the aid of the taifa kings and went on to rule al-Andalus for 200 years. Often characterised as religiously pious and bereft of artistic sentiment, in fact, the Almoravid and later the Almohad dynasties contributed hugely to the development of Andalucían art and architecture, above all in their capital, Seville.

4. The Alhambra: Construction, Survival, Decline, Revival (22nd February 2022)

The Emirate of Granada was the last Muslim-held territory in the Iberian peninsula, and the palatine city of the Alhambra was the seat of the ruling Nasrid dynasty. This talk covers the Alhambra’s fascinating, if chequered, history, from the construction and significance of its most important remaining buildings, their gradual deterioration from the reign of Philip II of Spain onwards, the picturesque art and myths that ensued, to the regeneration of the Alhambra, such that today it is Spain’s most visited historic monument.

5. Musing on Mudéjar: Resisting Rome’s Advance (1st March 2022)

In January 1492, the fall of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs ended almost eight centuries of Muslim rule in the peninsula. However, the architectural and decorative styles typical of Muslim al-Andalus continued to inform the tastes of the Christian elite in Andalucía, in their buildings, furnishings, and ceramics. These styles are known as Mudéjar, a Spanish corruption of an Arabic word, mudajjan, meaning servile. This talk follows the development of Mudéjar taste in Andalucía, at a time when the Greco-Roman Renaissance predominated throughout much of Europe.

The speaker

Dr Philippa Joseph

Following a successful career in academic publishing in the humanities, Philippa was reviews editor on the magazine History Today for five years. She is now an independent lecturer and researcher, and a tutor in art history at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. Philippa’s broad academic interests look at the many societies and cultures that have given Andalucía, Sicily, and the rest of the Mediterranean basin, their rich and diverse architectural and artistic heritage.

Register for the webinar series for £65

Frequently asked questions

What methods of payment do you accept?

An electronic invoice will be sent to your e-mail address 1–3 working days after you have completed our registration form. Payment can be made online using AMEX, Apple Pay, Google Pay, MasterCard or Visa.

How do I purchase the webinar series as a gift?

Please contact us specifying how many subscriptions you would like and who they are for (we require their full name and e-mail address). We will invoice you directly, and after we have received your payment we will release the webinar joining instructions to your friend(s) or family member(s).

Can I purchase a single episode?

No, unfortunately not. The series must be purchased in full.

How do I join the webinar?

An e-mail confirmation will be sent to you after you have paid for your subscription, which includes your unique link for joining the webinar. Reminder e-mails will be sent to you one day and one hour before each event. We recommend that you download the Zoom software in advance of the first webinar.

Can I watch the live broadcast(s) on more than one device?

Only one device can be connected to the live broadcast(s) at any one time. If you wish to purchase a second subscription, please contact us.

What happens if I am unable to attend the live broadcast(s)? 

A recording will be uploaded to a dedicated webpage approximately two hours after the live broadcast. For copyright reasons, these recordings cannot be made available indefinitely; access is granted for eight weeks after the final live broadcast of the series.


View tours with Dr Philippa Joseph

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