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Matilde Mateo on ‘A fresh look at Spain: urban views through foreign and domestic gazes (16th-19th centuries)’

13 May 2021

A fresh look at Spain: urban views through foreign and domestic gazes (16th-19th centuries)

Review of:

Imago Urbis. Las ciudades españolas vistas por los viajeros (siglos XVI-XIX), Luis Sazatornil Ruiz and Vidal de la Madrid Álvarez (eds), Gijón (Asturias): Ediciones Trea and Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, 2019, 694pp., 412 col. Illus., €60.00 pbk ISBN 978-84-17987-45-9.

Matilde Mateo (Syracuse University) 24/MM1

Abstract: This richly illustrated publication examines urban views of Spanish cities by Spanish and European travellers, from the 16th century to the 19th century. It was published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Spain, in 2019 and consists of three introductory essays and a catalogue. The essays examine the specific problems of the illustrated book, a historical survey that provides an unifying narrative for the pieces in the catalogue, and a short history of urban views of Spanish cities in the early modern period. The catalogue entries are substantial, rigorous, updated and remarkably well illustrated. The ambitious time span, number of geographical areas covered, and variety of nationalities of the travellers, set Imago Urbis apart from previous studies, which are generally limited to a specific region, period, artist or nationality of the representations, thereby providing a unique, comprehensive, and cohesive study which is poised to become a fundamental source of information on the topic.

Key words: Image of Spain, travellers in Spain, urban views, illustrated books, Spanish cities

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