Scientific Director of the Santiago Cathedral Program
RCCH (Real Colegio Complutense Harvard) Visiting Scholar, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures Contact
I received a M.A. and a PhD. from Harvard University, and have subsequently held academic positions at Princeton University, where I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, the University of London, and the Complutense University in Madrid.
My research and publications focus on diverse aspects of the arts and cultures of medieval Europe, covering topics of wide chronological, thematic, and methodological range such as: the influence of Classical art in medieval sculpture, including iconographic transformations, plastic conceptualization, visuality, ekphrasis, and theoretical discussions around the question of the Nachleben der Antike (“Saevum facinus," “Lacrimae rerum,” “Tragedy´s Forgotten Beauty”); issues of style, iconography, performativity, reception, and historiography in Romanesque and Gothic monumental programs (“Flabellum,” “The Scenography of Glory and Kingdom,” “Diary of an Argonaut," “Stuport et mirabilia”); the social and political significance of courtly portable objects as agents of diplomatic and cultural exchange in the Medieval Mediterranean (“Circular Visions of Fertility and Punishment," “Enclosed in Ivory”); the intercultural relations among Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Gothic period and the visual construction of gender and identity (“The Gothic Anamorphic Gaze,” “Iudeus sacer,” “The Parchment of the Sky”); the interface of private suffering, devotional painting, and national trauma in early modern Iberia (Tears from Flanders); the interconnections between medievalism and modernity in the context of the artistic and literary avant-garde of the 1930’s in New York, France, and Spain (“Silentium”).
Seeking a comprehensive analysis of objects in their material presence, their immaterial significance and their transfigurations in light of changing constructions of time, memory and history, I strive to combine in my scholarship exhaustive archival, codicological and historical research with theoretical discussions which are relevant to the current debates of the humanities at large. Reflections on the physical characteristics and effects of parchment, ivory, polychromed stone sculpture or coins coexist in my articles with critical engagements with the thought of scholars as varied as A. Warburg, M. Schapiro, G. Bataille, L. Steinberg, Freud, Benjamin, Deleuze, P. Nora, G. Agamben, S. Zizek, and others. Having specialized in ekphrasis and word/image interaction theories, I am also very interested in the craft and the poetics of art historical writing, often delving in the literary worlds of authors such as Virgil, Augustine, Abd al-Qahir al-Jurjani, Dante, Shakespeare or Borges as I design the hermeneutic architecture of my essays and develop my critical language. Beyond what I put on paper, I have been actively involved in furthering academic discussion around these issues, organizing conferences such as “Illuminations: Theoretical Reflections on the Middle Ages and Modernity” (Princeton University, 2005), “Perpetual Contemporaneity: Reflections on Time, Crisis, and Survival in the History of Art” (Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid, 2012), and “The Eternal Present: Insights into the Poetics of the Work of Art from Antiquity to Modernity” (City of Culture, Santiago de Compostela, 2013).
Another aspect of the public projection of my work is my commitment to raising social awareness about the need to preserve our artistic and cultural heritage through the development of pioneering didactic projects involving diverse modalities of audiovisual production, from documentary film to augmented reality systems and 3D reconstructions. Example of this effort is the exhibition I curated focusing on the project of conservation of the Portal of Glory, which has traveled to Germany (Cervantes Institute), Portugal (Palmela, Lisbon), London (Victoria & Albert Museum), Madrid (Centro Cultural Conde-Duque), and other Spanish cities. It has its permanent venue at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Scientific Director of the Andrew W. Mellon Program for the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (RCCH)
Visiting Scholar, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures