Carter Elizabeth Lyon

Research title

Theory and practice of Spanish Golden Age art in Sir William Stirling Maxwells collection and scholarship: A case study Carduchos Self Portrait and Dialogos de la Pintura

Research summary

Research Title: Theory and practice of Spanish Golden Age art in Sir William Stirling Maxwell’s collection and scholarship: A case study Carducho’s Self Portrait and Diálogos de la Pintura

My research project concerns the relationship between theory and practice in Spanish Golden Age art as evidenced in the collection and scholarship of Scottish scholar and collector Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878). I will analyse the treatises and paintings in Stirling’s collection to investigate the extent to which the theories and instructions articulated by Golden Age treatise writers actually influenced Golden Age artistic practice. My core case study will concern the works of the scholar-painter Vicente Carducho (1585-1638) in Stirling’s collection, entailing both a textual exegesis of his Diálogos de la Pintura (1633) and a technical examination of his Self Portrait (c. 1633-38). Further study of the other paintings and treatises in Stirling’s collection will reveal potential for other case studies. This nuanced study of the collection will be informed by analysis of Stirling’s own interpretation of the theories of Golden Age art articulated in his scholarship, particularly his Annals of the Artists of Spain (1848). Through my research, I hope to enhance understanding of both the materials and methods used by Spanish Golden Age artists and the connoisseurship of nineteenth-century Scotland’s premier collector of Spanish art.