Tjisje Geertje Jasperse

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Biography

I hold a two-year postdoctoral fellowship (Juan de la Cierva-Formación, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity), and I participate in Therese Martin’s project “The Medieval Treasury across Frontiers and Generations: The Kingdom of León-Castilla in the Context of Muslim-Christian Interchange, c. 1050-1200” (funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity, HAR2015-68614-P). This projects asks why the treasury of San Isidoro was formed in the eleventh and twelfth centuries and how these particular objects came to be part of the collection in León. What stories are there to tell about its patrons/owners, cultural exchange, function, display and audiences?

Within this project I focus on the contributions of Infanta Sancha of Leon-Castilla (d. 1159) and Queen Leonor of Castilla (d. 1214) to this impressive treasury. What did they donate to San Isidoro, why did they endow this monastery with costly gifts, and what do the objects tell us about Sancha and Leonor and their relation to San Isidoro? I argue that precious objects were suitable instruments for the creation or invention of memory and history, in which women seem to have played a crucial role. This argument is based on the assessment of the artworks in the context of the treasury as a whole (its foundation and expansion) and in relation to the way the canons of San Isidoro created their own history through objects, persons, miracles and past stories.

In 2013 I defended my dissertation at the University of Amsterdam. It centred on a twelfth-century German duchess, Matilda, the wife of Duke Henry the Lion, perhaps the most famous nobleman in twelfth-century Germany. Although Matilda was the daughter of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, she remained an enigmatic figure because the written source material has always been regarded as too limited. However, in my research I demonstrated that Matilda’s role at her husband’s court and her responsibilities can very well be investigated if we do not limit ourselves to charters, but include as many sources as possible, both written and visual.

For more publications and research interests see: https://csic.academia.edu/JitskeJasperse

On the Treasury project and Therese Martin see: https://csic.academia.edu/ThereseMartin