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Reclining male sculptures: The mesoamerican Chacmool


 One of the most distinctive types of Mesoamerican sculptures is that called Chacmool, representing reclining human figures holding vessels on the stomach. Chacmools have been found in Central and West Mexico as well as in the Maya region. 

What was their function among the Toltecs, Maya and the Aztecs? Did they serve as platforms for human sacrifice or just to place offerings in the vessels? Why are they all male sculptures? These reclining sculptures became one of the most important sources of inspiration in the work of Henry Moore.

Elizabeth Baquedano has written several books and articles on the Aztecs, and curated an exhibition for Henry Moore’s Centenary at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She is a lecturer at University College London, Institute of Archaeology and at the Institute for the Study of the Americas.

The secret history of Costaguana

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in English)

Book launch

London 1903, and Colombian José Altamirano has just arrived from a place he wishes to forget, shouldering a past he regrets and more guilt than anyone can carry.

He could have stopped the cession of the Panama territory, but chose not to. He then realises that Joseph Conrad is beginning to publish Nostromo, recounting a story he once related to him, and that he is being marginalised and virtually erased from that history.

Juan Gabriel Vázquez was born in bogotá in 1973 and now lives in Barcelona. His essays, reviews and reportages have appeared in various magazines and literary supplements. He was recently nominated as one of the «Bogota 39», South America’s most promising writers of the new generation.


Marañón and Liberalism = Marañón y el liberalismo

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in English)

A member of the «1914 Generation» with Ortega y Gasset, and with his book Vieja y Nueva Política as his main intellectual symbol, Marañón reaches liberalism through family and friends.

It is a time of regeneration and Marañón, as a doctor and scientist, comes to public life as the President of the Ateneo de Madrid and co-founder, toghether with ortega and Pérez de Ayala, of the Association for the Service of the Republic. (In English)

Tom Burns Marañón was the Spanish correspondent for important foreign media. He is the author of a trilogy on oral history of the Transition (Conversaciones sobre el rey, Conversaciones sobre el socialismo, Conversaciones sobre la derecha, Barcelona 1995-1997)


The Life and poetry of Miguel Hernández = La vida y la obra de Miguel Hernández

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in Spanish)

Round Table discussion about the life and poetry of Miguel Hernández.

Participants: Rosa Navarrro, University of Barcelona & Alan Feinstein, writer & translator.
Miguel Hernández was born in Orihuela (Alicante) in 1910. His poetry is characterised by its strong lyricism, exemplified in both his first collection of poems, Perito en lunas (1933), and in his classical sonnets such as El rayo que no cesa.

His poems cover the themes of love, death, war and injustice, themes of which he had personal and intense experience. He fought with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War.

In prison he wrote Cancionero y romancero de ausencias (published in 1958), poems dedicated to his wife who lived in miserable conditions. He died in prison at the age of 31. (In Spanish)


The poetry of Jaime Siles from 1969-2009 = La poesía de Jaime Siles

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in Spanish) Jaime Siles talks about his development as a poet since 1969, discussing and reading the most representative poems of different periods of his evolution.

Jaime Siles habla sobre su evolución poética desde 1969 hasta hoy, ilustrándola con la lectura y comentario de los poemas de diferentes épocas que considera más representativos.

Jaime Siles is an award-winning poet and critic. He is Professor of Classic Philology and has taught in various European universities. Currently, he teaches Classic Philology at the University of Valencia and is the President of the Spanish Society of Classical Studies. He also writes essays and literary criticism. Since 2005 he has written for the daily newspaper ABC. he is also a permanent member of the Royal Academy of Culture of Valencia.


How the British media views Spain

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in English)

Is British media coverage of Spain still dominated
by the old stereotypes? Or do the newspapers, TV
and radio now reflect more accurately the reality
of Spain as a modern European nation?

With social and commercial links between our two countries
stronger and more important than ever, this debate
will examine how Spain is perceived by Britain´s
media, and ask how Spain might improve its image


Walter Oppenheimer
Jimmy Burns
Anna Bosch
Peter Preston
Jonathan Smith

Collaborating Organisation

El País (Madrid)

Embajada de España (Reino Unido)

Oficina de Información y Prensa (Londres)

Televisión Española (TVE)

TVE (Londres)


El español que nos une y nos diferencia

El español que nos une y nos diferenciaICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in Spanish)

El español que nos une y nos diferencia
Globalisation, human migration and the use of the Internet have reinforced Spanish as a language of international communication. At the same time, there are marked cultural differences among Spanish-speaking countries that influence the Spanish language and that, on occasion, distort communication.

What are the main differences between Peninsular Spanish and Latin American Spanish? On what linguistic level are they manifest? How do they affect communication and usage? On the 200th anniversary of Latin American Independence we have brought together two leading experts so that we can discuss our extensive common language that both unites and separates us.

Bicentenario de las indepencias en Hispanoamérica. series of talks

Francisco Moreno
Rosina Márquez-Reiter

Collaborating Organisation
Asociación de Consejeros Culturales de América Latina, España y Portugal / Association of Cultural Attaches of Latin America, Spain & Portugal (Londres)


Laughing over lemons

Chris StewartWE DON’T do stand-up comedy at the Instituto Cervantes, we don’t even do sit-down comedy very often, but last night’s audience with Chris ‘Driving Over Lemons’ Stewart was the funniest evening LondonSpanish has had for some time.

Chris proved he is just as witty a speaker as he is a writer, and another packed house was soon laughing along as he recounted his latest adventures and embarrassments in the Alpujarras. Like the rest of Andalusia, the area has seen rainfall of epic proportions in the past few months, and Chris told how a flood swept away one of its many ham-curing houses.

Locals gathered downstream hoping to salvage some of the contents as they were washed up – only to find the meat had been smashed away by the torrent and just bones remained. As Chris would later point out, mountain people are a little, um, different.

(Read more…)


The Silent Revolution

ICLL Podcast series: New Episode (in Spanish)

The Silent Revolution

Graphic design between 1920 and 1950 constituted a means of distribution for aesthetic and political avant-garde ideas. In contrast with the Muralist movement, its presence was rather more modest but its scope was wider.

While the muralists were painting their masterpieces on official buildings, graphic art was being distributed through educational channels and channels for literacy campaigns all over the country. Some of the best artists participated in this work: Leopoldo Méndez, Alvarado Lang, Jean Charlot, Emilio Amero.

Small print production cooperatives such as Escuelas al Aire Libre, Taller de la Gráfica Popular (TGP) and artistic movements such as Los Estridentistas emerged.

José Manuel Springer

Collaborating Organisation
Embajada de México (Reino Unido)


ICLL Podcast Series

Did you miss any of our cultural events? Don’t worry. Now you can catch up with our book presentations, lectures and workshops.

The Instituto Cervantes Library in London [ICLL] is uploading the cultural events held at the Instituto since January 2010, and gradually, we are digitizing the recordings we keep in our archives since 1992.

Here you are the first one of our podcast series. Enjoy!

Michael Jacobs and Paul Preston

Spain, for all its recent changes, continues to be a country perceived by foreigners in terms of stereotypes dating back to the early 19th century. I argue that modern chroniclers fail to reflect the reality of a nation whose already diverse traditions now embrace a multitude of European, South American, and African cultures.´ Michael Jacobs  

Paul Preston described Michael Jacobs, as ´the magical realist hispanist’.  He has been travelling around Spain and the Hispanic world since childhood.

His many books on the country include Between Hopes and Memories: A Spanish Journey, and The Factory of Light: Tales from my Andalucian Village, to be published in Spanish by Ediciones B in February 2010. Listen now!    


Michael Jacobs
Paul Preston


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