In the past decade, there has been a surge of Anglophone scholarship regarding Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which has led to a reframing of the discourses around Spanish culture of this period. Despite this new interest-in which painting, in particular, has been singled out for treatment-a comprehensive study of sculpture collections and the status of sculpture in Spain has yet to be produced. Sculpture Collections in Early Modern Spain is the first book to assess the phenomenon of sculpture collecting and in doing so, it alters the previously held notion that Spanish society placed little value in this art form. Di Dio and Coppel reveal that, due to the problems and expense of their transport from Italy, sculptures were in fact status symbols in the culture. Thus they were an important component of the collections formed by the royal family, cultivated noble collectors, humanists, and artists who had pretensions of high status. This book is especially useful to specialists for its discussion of the typologies of collections and objects, and of the mechanics of state gifts, transport, and collection display in this period. An appendix presents extensive archival documentation, most of which has never before been published. The authors have uncovered hundreds of new documents about sculpture in Spain; and new documentary evidence allows them to propose several new identifications and attributions. Firmly grounded in extensive archival research, Sculpture Collections in Early Modern Spain redefines the socio-political and art historical importance of sculpture in early modern Spain. Most importantly, it entirely transforms our knowledge regarding the presence of sculpture in a wide range of Spanish collections of the period, which until now has been erroneously characterized as close to non-existent.
Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio is an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Vermont, USA.
Rosario Coppel is an independent art historian based in Bilbao, Spain.
'Es dificíl valorar el inmenso trabajo de las autoras del estudio que han tenido que manejar una bibliografía dispersa en las más variadas publicaciones y consultar los más diversos Archivos. Su labor ha fraguado en una obra pionera en su campo y por lo mismo de una gran importancia que sin duda abre nuevos caminos a la investigación.' Archivo Española de Arte
'Without doubt the value of this book lie in its transcriptions of a number of inventories and other documents in Spain dating from throughout the Habsburg era, from the time of Emperor Charles V in the mid-sixteenth century to the death of his great-great grandson King Charles II at the end of the seventeenth. It thus provides an invaluable reference source for the collecting and taste for sculpture in Baroque Spain.' Burlington Magazine
'While the authors state that 'This book is especially useful to specialists for its discussion of the typologies of collections and objects, and of the mechanics of state gifts, transport and collection display in this period', it is also a model of the results of careful archival research. Finally, with the wealth of information found within, this book will spawn new interest in early modern Spain and the collecting of sculpture in Spain.' Sixteenth Century Journal
'Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio and Rosario Coppel have amassed and worked through an astonishing quantity of primary documents and have organized and synthesized the contents of those rich resources in this valuable publication.' Journal of the History of Collections
'Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio and Rosario Coppel’s Sculpture Collections in Early Modern Spain is the first volume entirely dedicated to collections of this art form in the Iberian Peninsula and a welcome addition to the history of collecting.' Renaissance Quarterly
'This extremely useful book examines the presence of sculpture in sixteenth and seventeenth-century collections in Spain. Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio and Rosario Coppel have in this volume assembled an extraordinarily rich corpus of documentary material, which will be an essential source for future studies of the collecting of sculpture, not only in Spain, but also further afield.' Sculpture Journal