Kathryn Santner, Thoma Scholar for the Art of the Spanish Americas

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Meet the Staff: Kathryn Santner

October 16, 2020
Art of the Spanish Americas

Tell us a little about yourself.  What did you do before being named Thoma Scholar?

After completing my PhD at the University of Cambridge, I spent several years as a postdoc in London conducting research for my book project on women’s monastic foundations in the Spanish Pacific.  I was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, which enabled me to spend lots of time at archives and collections in the Andes, Philippines, and Spain.

Can you explain a little bit about the type of work you’ll be doing this year at TAF?

As Thoma Scholar for the Arts of the Spanish Americas collection, my role is twofold.  I oversee research and documentation of our extensive collection of Spanish American paintings.  I also coordinate outreach and collaboration with scholars and museums to bring greater attention to the collection.

You’ve spent a lot of time in the U.K. What’s your favorite place to see art in the U.K.? 

While all of the major U.K. museums are incredible, I have a particular fondness for house museums, like Sir John Soane’s Museum.  I love seeing how people lived with and displayed the art they collected.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have when it comes to the Art of the Spanish Americas?

That it’s all religious art!   While religious works form the majority of surviving colonial artworks – and indeed the Thoma Collection ­– portraits, historical paintings, genre scenes, and even landscapes were popular.

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork in the collection?

This is truly a difficult question.  One work that is special to me is our only work on parchment, an image of the Virgin with Saints Rose of Lima and Toribio de Mogrovejo.

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