Sara Armas has been as a practicing artist since 2006 when she attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography at Maine College of Art (USA). She subsequently completed a Master’s degree in photography at Barry University (USA) in 2014, placing as a finalist in Photography Forum’s Best of (winter 2016), and publishing an article in the Royal Photographic Society Journal (Winter 2016). She has shown her artwork in Lens Culture (website, ongoing), Art Basel (2009) and at the ICA (2005).
It was at Barry University that Sara gained an interest in Northern Renaissance art and in 2017, she finished a Master’s in art history at Oklahoma State University (USA), with a thesis the wider reception and influence of the Pictorum (Hieronymus Cock, 1572), looking to artists and historians in seventeenth-century Spain as well as to modern and contemporary American artists, all of whom reference the series in their literary or visual projects. As a part of this degree, Sara completed an internship at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (USA), researching a set of Renaissance woodcuts and engravings in the collection. She also interned at the Groeningemuseum (Bruges), assisting with the exhibition Pieter Pourbus and the Forgotten Masters (fall 2017). She has gradually found a focus in sixteenth and seventeenth-century print culture, especially with regard to portraiture, portrait cycles and representations of power. She presented her research on the Pictorum in Spain last year at the South Central Renaissance conference in Austin (USA) and returned in April 2018 to present some independent research on a print by Albrecht Dürer.
Sara now plans to begin independent PhD research in affiliation with KU Leuven, focusing on the motif of genealogy in art made for the Habsburgs of the sixteenth century. She is especially interested in the relationship between portrait cycles and genealogies, both powerful representational tools in the eyes of Europeans, referencing antiquity and erudition, as well as deeply rooted power structures. Ideological displays of noble lineage and rightful rule were especially significant for the Habsburgs as their territories expanded, reaching as far away as the Americas and Philippines by the end of the century. Sara’s research will delve more deeply into the design and iconography of these works and how concepts specifically related to genealogy influenced the growing interest in self-representation through portraiture and portrait collections during the Renaissance, alongside humanist notions of fame and immortality. Sara’s research will include a global perspective by researching genealogical some portraits of Incan and Aztec rulers present in Spain and their influence on artists and Spanish nobility.