Costanza Beltrami

Courtauld Institute of Art

Thesis title: Juan Guas (active 1453-1496) and the 'Hispano-Flemish style' reconsidered.

Supervised by Tom Nickson.

Juan Guas, long recognised as the leading architect of late medieval Castile, commissioned palaces, cathedrals and monastic complexes by the most important patrons of his time. In a seminal article of 1951, Spanish art historian José María Azcárate identified him as the genius who single-handedly created Spain’s unique Hispano-Flemish style by fusing northern European gothic with the so-called mudéjar traditions of southern Iberia. This paradigm is still largely followed in studies of Guas’ oeuvre, often blinded by Azcárate’s politics and presumptions. Yet even the published primary documents and drawings related to Guas suggest that Azcárate overlooked the key role of collaboration and exchange in the design and construction of Guas’ architectural projects; an oversight that ultimately questions the very existence of Azcárate’s cherished Hispano-Flemish style.

My research will use the key figure of Guas as a springboard to explore collaboration and artistic exchange in late gothic architecture, re-assessing problematic modern concepts such as individual creativity, identity, and stylistic hybridity.

Research interests

  • Late-Gothic architecture
  • architectural drawing
  • nationalism and historiography
  • artistic training and collaboration
  • migration of artists and craftsmen

Recent publications

  • Building a Crossing Tower: A Design for Rouen Cathedral of 1516 (Sam Fogg, March 2016)

Other academic activity