Congratulations to Laura R. Bass, for winning the 2010 Eleanor Tufts Award for The Drama of the Portrait: Theater and Visual Culture in Early Modern Spain (Penn State University Press, 2008)! The American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies awards this prize for the best book in English on the arts of Iberia, 2008-09.
The awards committee members described this book “as a scholarly, wonderfully readable contribution to the study of Early Modern Spain’s visual arts. It explores the mutually influential spheres of theatrical works, theater publics, and painted portraits in a newly urban court society. In sophisticated readings of her sources, Bass moves from the paintbrush to the pen, from the portrait to the stage, and from the miniature to the mirror. Portraits, she writes, were objects of art and of personal veneration, but they also were also the loci of celebration, anxiety, and even peril. Bass convincingly shows that the `drama of the portrait is a drama of subjectivities always at once bound to and alienated from images – whether of a beloved, a rival, or the very self.’ Through the rigor of her arguments and the dexterity of her interdisciplinary research, Bass brings the portraits of Spain’s Golden Age to life.”