Arthur in the Alhambra? Narrative and Nasrid Courtly Self-Fashioning in The Hall Of Justice Ceiling Paintings

in Medieval Encounters
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Abstract

This essay reconsiders the "Arthurian" identification of a number of the scenes that compose the ornamental program of the painted ceilings above the northern and southern alcobas of the Alhambra's Hall of Justice, proposing a reading that privileges Castilian versions of well-known courtly romances over French ones. The scenes are read as representations of the stories of Flores y Blancaflor, as well as Tristán de Leonís. Both tales, however, have been further altered and adapted in order to privilege the ideological concerns of the Nasrid court, both as an Islamic political entity with an agenda of jihād and—in a fashion that could easily be viewed as contradictory—as a participant in medieval Iberia's much-discussed frontier culture, which involved a "marriage of convenience" with Castilian allies.

Arthur in the Alhambra? Narrative and Nasrid Courtly Self-Fashioning in The Hall Of Justice Ceiling Paintings

in Medieval Encounters

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