Sven Jakstat

Juan de Roelas, Die Maria Immaculata mit dem Jesuitenpater Fernando de Mata, 1612/13, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Foto: Volker-H. Schneider

Sven Jakstat


Research Project

The aesthetics of early modern altarpieces in the Iberian Peninsula in the context of the creation of catholic identity

Spanish altarpieces impress with their monumentality and complexity. Mostly they cover the entire wall behind the altar. In elaborate frameworks, which are precisely aligned to the existing church architecture, not only paintings and sculptures, but also different types of images (as e.g. narrative and iconic images) are combined and juxtaposed. By making these kinds of differences and relations visible, altarpieces could convey theological content by way of a conscious perception process. The thus obtained visual effects offer a significant insight in the structures and processes involved in the generation of evidence.

Based on significant examples of the 16th and 17th centuries, it is the principle aim of this study to determine the particular correlation between altarpiece and ritual, such as the celebration of the mass in front of the altar, as well as to investigate the interaction of altarpiece and audience in the church space. Furthermore, the project investigates the question to what extend distinct intentions were connected with the choice of the medium as well as the choice of a particular style.


Sven Jakstat has studied Art History and History in Berlin and Madrid. He earned his M.A. degree with a work on “The Immaculata Conceptio in the work of El Greco. Function, meaning and development of a pictorial subject within the historical context of the Catholic Reformation in Spain”. Between 2009 and 2012 he received a doctoral scholarship from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung. From 2013 to 2016 he was Curatorial Assistant at the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin for the exhibition “El Siglo de Oro. The Age of Velázquez”. From 2013 to 2014 he was Adjunct Professor at the Universität der Künste Berlin. His PhD-thesis with the titel “The Altarpieces by Pedro Berruguete and his Contemporaries. Function and Meaning of the Appropriation of Foreign Visual Cultures” was defended in 2016. Since August 2016 he is postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Advances Studies BildEvidenz.

Research Interests

  • Spanish Art History
  • Altarpieces
  • Processes of Transcultural Appropriation


“Medialität und agency des gestickten Bildes. Zu einem Hauptwerk der Florentiner Seidenstickerei des 14. Jahrhunderts in Manresa (Katalonien)”, in: Römisches Jahrbuch der Bibliotheca Hertziana, 42, 2015/2016 (2018), S. 87–129 (together with Adrian Bremenkamp).

Catalogue entries, in: El Siglo de Oro. The Age of Velázquez (= Exh. Cat. Berlin, Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung), Berlin/Munich 2016, pp. 88–89, 92–93, 100–105, 108–109, 126–127, 130–131, 134–135, 158–159, 178–179, 182–185, 188–189, 212–213, 238–241, 244–245, 254–257, 264–265, 292–293 (also published as The Spanish Golden Age. Painting and Sculpture in the Time of Velázquez; german: El Siglo de Oro. Die Ära Velázquez / Spaniens Goldene Zeit. Die Ära Velázquez in Malerei und Skulptur)

“Postcard Sound”, in: Cumuli – Zum Sammeln der Dinge / On Collecting Things (= Exh. Cat. Berlin, Berlin, Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz), Berlin 2013, pp. 32f.




Sven Jakstat

Center for Advanced Studies BildEvidenz

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14195 Berlin

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