Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


VIRTUAL EVENT: IAS Talking Points Seminar - Consecrated Skies

18 March 2021, 5:00 pm–6:30 pm

Consecrated Skies

The IAS welcomes VRF Dr Vanessa Portugal for a talk entitled 'Consecrated Skies: Zodiac and Eschatology in a 17th Century Spanish American Sacristy'. Respondents: Dr Emily Floyd (History of Art) and Prof Sophie Page (History). Chair: Dr Alexander Samson (SELCS)

This event is free.

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The sacristy of the 17th century church of Saint Augustine in Morelia (Mexico) contains mural and easel painting that includes at the centre of its vault a representation of a zodiac and varied celestial images.

This seminar will discuss Saint Augustine’s sacristy – considering both the architectural space and the iconography within – in dialogue with the practice of representing astrological images in religious vaults in medieval and renaissance Italy and Spain in order to address the broad cosmological concerns that led to the depiction of celestial iconographic programs in sacred spaces, together with the practices that this use could have activated.  Considering the sacristy’s iconographic program as a manifestation of a religious proposition of the universe composed by scientific legacy and eschatological premises that aims to inspire the priest rhetorically, the examination of the depicted geocentric model of the universe draws special attention. Analysis of 17th and 18th century Spanish American astronomical arguments on geocentric models of the universe – principally on Clavius’s In sphaeram Ioannis de Sacrobosco commentaries – help to explore the epistemological and political mechanisms that allowed this Mexican interpretation.   

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About the Speaker

Dr Vanessa Portugal

Visiting Research Fellow at Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL

More about Dr Vanessa Portugal