"Triumph of Isabella" An Exploration of Performance through Art and Art through Performance

"Festive Culture" Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Event Attributes


An Exploration of Performance through Art and Art through Performance


Experience an art, technology, performance and history collaboration come to life, featuring 17th century works presented together for the first time in the U.S. 


JUNE 2018 - MAY 2019

Presented by the International Program for Creative Collaboration & Research of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland in collaboration with the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, the School of Music,and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The International Program for Creative Collaboration and Research (IPCCR) is the ten-year global outreach component of "Defining the Future of the Performing Arts in the 21st Century" – an investigation of best practices in performing arts education funded by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation. The IPCCR initiates international collaborations for the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, awards collaborative initiative grants to its faculty and graduate students, develops grant proposals to support the school’s work and manages its World Outreach classrooms and studios. 

"The Triumph of Isabella" is a year-long exploration of the performing arts depicted in eight iconic paintings from the 17th century. These images have only been seen together twice in modern times and are presented here through high definition imaging in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Prado, Madrid, and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels. 

On May 31, 1615, the annual “Parade of the Craft Guilds" in Brussels, called the Ommegang, was dedicated to the Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566-1633), co-sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, Princess of Spain and one of the most remarkable women of the 17th century. The event was memorialized by the court painter, Denys Van Alsloot (c. 1568-c.1626), in eight exquisitely detailed paintings under the title, "The Triumph of Isabella.” This exhibition focuses on high resolution scans of seven of Alsloot’s paintings (one is lost) which are among the most important illustrations in existence for the study of festive culture and the history of street performance in Early Modern Europe. 

“The Triumph of Isabella” Exhibition: An Exploration of Performance Through Art

June 6, 2018 to May 31, 2019 - Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

The core exhibition of this artwork features a wide variety of supplemental items including explanatory plaques, a 9-minute documentary, “Staging the Street for Isabella: Ommegang 1615-2015,” produced for the Victoria & Albert museum; a museum quality scale model of the most complex of the ten pageant wagons illustrated in the artworks (a wagon with no obvious means of locomotion); a hand crafted devil’s mask made with leather and lacquer using 16th century techniques; and digital humanities projects developed by students, faculty and visiting international scholars form across the University of Maryland campus.

“The Triumph of Isabella” Experience: An Exploration of Art Through Performance

September 20, 2018 at 2:30 and 7:30pm; September 23, 2018 at 1:30pm
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Grand Pavilion, and Dance Theatre Stage at the
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland

Performances will be in three acts

Act I: “From the Infanta’s Triumph to the Sultan’s Elephant." Learn about the legacy of Early Modern public performances on 21st century street theater in this multi-media presentation by Dr. Susan Haedicke, a street theater specialist from Warwick University in England.

ACT II: “Exploring Art Through Performance” features a variety of short, live performances of physical theater, music and dance along with short video clips of modern street theater and opportunities to check out augmented reality performances from the artwork on your smartphone.

Act III: The “Immersive Experience” invites you onto a street in Brussels in 1615, as depicted in the artwork, but projected life-size and with a soundscape of the city’s aural environment. You will see the images at full scale and in magnified detail, then be welcomed to the 1615 Ommegang by a "Living Portrait” from the paintings. The procession, with its pageant wagons, giants, dragon, unicorn, devils, street musicians, religious statues, musketeers and representatives of all social orders will pass by — digitally animated to at life-size from the paintings.

International Symposium: The Iconography of Performance in the Digital Age

Spring 2019 - World Outreach Seminar Room (1815)

A conference, run by our graduate students, will examine the study of representations of performance in the visual arts. The conference will feature the telepresence of keynote speakers and audiences from other countries. A great deal has been learned from our study of these images and we plan to publish the conference proceedings. 

Our World Outreach Classrooms allow graduate students and faculty to develop innovative, project-based courses that bring UMD students together with scholar/artists and students from partner universities around the world using a variety of digital technologies. These exciting new courses aim to provide our students with international experiences that mirror the kind of work they will encounter throughout their lives — cross cultural, project-based and virtual. 


View the brochure online