This session will focus on the question of Otherness in public and private space in the Iberian Peninsula. This session will focus on the creation and reception of formal and material otherness which visual content had an impact on the construction of the ‘identity’ of the viewer i.e. the ‘self’ i.e. the Christians. Interestingly, actual questions regarding the reception of Otherness in the Iberian Peninsula are reflecting different not only different typologies of Otherness in Architecture and Space but also different kinds of cultural receptions of elder ornaments and objects in sacred places since the Middle Ages.
The image of Jews in the Valencia during the late medieval period was extremely negative due to Hebrews being seen as greedy and deicides. Heirs of the murderers of Christ, Jews were depicted in paintings, manuscripts, or sculptures not only as the killers of the Son of God, but also like His torturers. In addition, since the pogroms of 1391 and the massive conversions of Jews, a new problem appeared for Iberian Christendom and the Valencian society, the evangelisation and inclusion of the former Hebrews, the Conversos. As examples, the closing of the Jewry, the ghetto reduction, the relocation of Conversos in Christian areas, the conversion of the former Synagogue into the church of San Christopher and the foundation of the Nunnery of Dominican nuns of Santa Catalina in the Jewish cemetery, confirm the small Hebrew role in the Christian space. Moreover, most of the Conversos had a double life: Christians in the public sphere and Jews in the private and intimate one. For that reason, besides the Inquisition, there were images that tried to include the Conversos into the Christianity and discredit the Hebraic world in order to avoid the Christians’ hatred. Therefore, I will try to analyse this construction of the public and spatial image of Jews and Conversos and the reception of these in the Christian community.
Otherness means strangeness beyond human experiences. In architectural ornamentation, the recognisable elements provide the meaningful senses of symbolic richness; the alien being Otherness. However, their juxtaposition delivers the unexpected, contradicting its intentions, engaging a dialogical tension between them. Santillana del Mar (1203) is the case. It follows the styles of local Frómista and international Cluny followed by idea exchanges on the Camino de Santiago. 43 carved cloister capitals evoke the religious fight through allegorical symbols (human/animal/plant). As Baltrusaitis (1931) claims of hierarchy at Sant Cugat del Valles: Historiated-figural-ornamental-Corinthian capitals, my paper traces semiotic forms, hierarchical functions of Santillana in Otherness.