Serafín Moralejo

first_imgA native of the province of Galicia and life-long resident of the city of Santiago de Compostela, Serafín Moralejo chose the city’s imposing cathedral as the center of his scholarly investigations. In his twenties, he was already publishing seminal studies on the imposing sculptural compositions (both extant and missing) that adorned the cathedral in the eleventh through thirteenth centuries and their relation to the sculptural traditions of the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage route of Saint James. In the prologue to one of his books, John Williams, the leading expert on Spanish medieval art in North America, credits Moralejo with demonstrating the importance of Spain’s contributions to the art of the Pilgrimage Route School by means of one seminal discovery. With a sharp eye for detail, the young historian identified a surprising but utterly convincing source for Camino iconography: a Roman sarcophagus that in the eleventh century could still be seen in a hamlet called Husillos in the Old Castilian province of Palencia. This discovery left no doubt that images found on cathedral porticos in Jaca, Fromista, and Santiago de Compostela itself had originated not in Navarre as previously suspected, but in the power center of León-Castilla.To the magnificent sculptural traditions of the pilgrimage route, and particularly to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela itself, Moralejo would devote the greater part of his energies. One colleague and former student observed that Moralejo was destined to become an outstanding scholar in the art of the pilgrimage roads, not only because he was born in Compostela, but because his father, Abelardo Moralejo, Professor of Latin at the city’s university, had been first to translate into Spanish the twelfth-century Codex Calixtinus. On the basis of the description found in this celebrated manuscript he was able to reconstruct the original design for the cathedral’s two Romanesque porticos, one of which had been completely remodeled and the other of which had disappeared entirely. This early project, submitted as a Master’s thesis, led to a doctoral dissertation focused on the sculptural program of the cathedral. Blessed with consummate skill as a draftsman, Moralejo kept copious sketchbooks filled with elegant, detailed pen-and-ink renderings of the monuments he sought to place in historical context. His talent for drawing was harnessed to his unabashed delight in the richness of medieval imagery and not infrequently to his irrepressible and sometimes irreverent sense of humor. In a sketch of a celebrated relief found at the Benedictine monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, Moralejo rendered the classic grouping of Christ’s twelve apostles emerging from a half-opened tin can, like so many sardines. He was also given to drawing caricatures of colleagues during faculty meetings.Moralejo’s art-historical scholarship was further enriched by broad and deep familiarity with the textual traditions of European culture. His published studies are thoroughly grounded in an astonishing array of humanistic references. One of his own theoretical monographs opens by proposing François Villon’s Ballade faite pour Notre Dame, spoken in the voice of the fifteenth- century French poet’s mother, as the poetic analogue of a medieval fresco. It is no surprise that such dazzling literary competence would make Moralejo a valued interlocutor for his colleagues in literature on this and other campuses. In classes, books, and lectures, he often cited chapter and verse from Scripture, recited Virgil in Latin and Plato in Greek, and might even correct another speaker who had the misfortune to get his sources wrong. His students remember his impressive control of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary bibliography, both specialized and theoretical, both Spanish and international. On the occasion of his first lecture at Harvard, colleagues remember vividly his passion to communicate the complex web of theological, political, and human stories preserved in stone, a need so strong that it made his then still halting English strikingly eloquent.In 1978 Moralejo won his first professorial appointment at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela and put forward what was, for the time, a bold theoretical proposal that he would later publish as a major monograph in 2004. In “Formas elocuentes. Reflexiones sobre la teoría de la representación” (Eloquent Forms. Reflections on the Theory of Representation), Moralejo argued from an extraordinarily varied collection of examples that accurate understanding of visual artifacts must be based not on the presumed ordering and determining power of artistic styles (Romanesque, Gothic, etc.), but instead on the history of particular images and collections of images.An admired and loved teacher, Moralejo often said that teaching was as much research for him as studying his books. Amongst the courses he taught at Harvard one of the most memorable was on medieval cartography, in which he introduced students to the medieval perspective on the world through the study of maps. Students’ questions gave him much to ponder and investigate, and he was often inspired by their queries, which he pursued with enthusiasm. In his seminars he was always eager to introduce students to new epistemological approaches to art history. His generous encouragement and advice to his graduate students, given with a touch of fine criticism, was always much appreciated.Serafín Moralejo’s time at Harvard was all too short. In 1993, following a visiting professorship, he was the first scholar appointed to the Fernando Zóbel de Ayala Professorship of Fine Arts, established to honor the distinguished painter and founder of the Museum of Abstract Art in Cuenca, Spain. He moved to Cambridge, where his wife, Queca Cacheiro, daughter, and son often joined him. Living just around the corner from the newly founded Real Colegio Complutense, he became a valued interlocutor in that center’s inter-disciplinary gatherings. Tragically, Serafín Moralejo’s teaching and scholarly career were cut short by degenerative brain disease, which dictated his return to Spain in 1998 and led to his death in 2011.Professor Moralejo will be remembered as one of the most distinguished scholars of Spanish medieval art and a worthy successor to Arthur Kingsley Porter, the founder of scholarship on the sculpture of the Pilgrimage Roads.Respectfully submitted,Mary GaylordJeffrey HamburgerHenri Zerner
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Wizards fire team president Ernie Grunfeld after 16 seasons

first_img Lakers’ LeBron James addresses being shut down, explains offseason motivation 2019 NBA Draft lottery: Knicks, Suns, Cavs close in on best odds for top pick A disappointing season has led to a change at the top for the Wizards as Washington announced Tuesday it has fired team president Ernie Grunfeld.“We did not meet our stated goals of qualifying for the playoffs this season and, despite playing with injuries to several key players, we have a culture of accountability and a responsibility of managing to positive outcomes,” Ted Leonsis, chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, said in a statement.  “I wish to thank Ernie for his service to the Washington Wizards. He and his family have been great leaders in our community and have worked tirelessly to make us a top NBA franchise.” Grunfeld was hired before 2003-04 and led Washington to a 568-724 record over the last 16 seasons with eight playoff appearances, though the Wizards never advanced past the conference semifinals.Grunfeld was given an extension in May 2017 before the Wizards finished eighth in the Eastern Conference and lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2017-18. Related Newscenter_img After that season, Leonsis wrote a letter to fans and noted “the team’s inconsistency was sometimes frustrating to watch.”“There’s no easy way to talk about a first-round loss. I’m disappointed, the team is disappointed and I know you, our fans, are disappointed,” Leonsis wrote. “Our singular goal in everything we do is to win a championship. You deserve it. Our city deserves it. It remains our first and only priority and I think our team showed this year that we have the pieces to make it happen.”  However, with a roster void of meaningful contributors beyond All-Star Bradley Beal, Washington is currently 32-46 and in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.Midseason acquisitions Jabari Parker (15.5 points per game) and Bobby Portis (14.3), are second and third, respectively, in scoring behind Beal, while highly compensated point guard John Wall only played 32 games before being shut down for the season in January with a heel injury.Senior VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard will take over Grunfeld’s duties and report to Leonsis as the team searches for a new president.last_img read more