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Seminar BA2: Hollow Icons or Talking Heads: the monument in sculptural discourses 1850-2000


Admission requirements

The following courses need to be successfully completed:

  • Freshman’s Class

  • Academic Skills II

There is limited space in this seminar. Students from both specialisations (Kunst en Cultuur/Arts, Media and Society) have access to this seminar.


This seminar aims to promote academic research about modern and contemporary Dutch sculpture and its historiography, viewed in an international perspective and as a cultural product anchored in society and closely related to other forms of visual art. The seminar is part of an ongoing interdisciplinary research on sculpture in museum Beelden aan Zee / Sculptuur Instituut, with a main goal to explore the history, relevance and urgency of sculpture as a meaningful medium for our time. We will focus on the public monument and its development from 1850 till 2000. How do sculptures in public spaces speak to the audience in their time, and how do we relate to these monuments now? Which discourses and discussions are addressed by these monumental sculptures, directed to society as a larger whole and to art and art history? And how can we disclose these stories in a museum context?

In this seminar, students will develop case studies, addressing these questions.
Literature study is combined with lectures by invited sculptors; students should expect to present their case in class (e.q. in a Pecha Kucha presentation); to prepare a lecture discussion in connection with visiting artists; to write texts museums could use in their communication to their visitors, and to write texts which could be useful in an advanced, academic context.

Course objectives


  • Students learn to know developments, in contemporary examples as well as historical examplesof monumental sculpture;

  • Students learn to know the history of sculpture and monumental sculpture in relation to its surroundings;

  • Students learn to know the sculptor’s role as an autonomous artist and as an artist working in commission;

  • Students learn to know the tension between authenticity, concept, material, technique, which translates in a sculpture and its form;

  • Students learn to know the recent, international discussion concerning debatable public monuments.


  • Students acquire skills to present a case, or part of a case in a pecha kucha presentation;

  • Students acquire skills to present a case in a traditional presentation, or discussion, in class;

  • Students acquire skills to prepare questions and a discussion in class, and to do the actual discussion itself with a visiting sculptor;

  • Students acquire skills to write decent critical or historical texts.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Research

  • Excursion

Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of one seminar, provided they present a valid reason beforehand. Students who have missed more than two seminars will have to aply to the Examination Board of the BA Arts and Culture in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course. See also the Course and Examination Regulations

Assessment method


  • Museum texts (total of 5000 words)

  • Two small presentations


  • Museum texts (70%)

  • Two small presentations (30%)

Compensation: The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). The mark for the final examination (or the main assignment) must be at least 6.0 at (= a pass). The mark for all other constituent examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). However, it is possible to compensate for one constituent examination a 5.0 (but not a mark lower than 5.0) with the grade of another constituent examination which has the same weight in the average as the constituent examination it compensates.

Resit: A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed. As far as applicable all resits/ rewrites take place at the same time, after the final (constituent) examination.

Inspection and feedback: How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be have to be organized.

Reading list

  • P. Curtis, Sculpture 1900-1940, Oxford 1999.

  • A. Causey, Sculpture since 1945, Oxford 1998.

  • J. Teeuwisse, Dutch Sculpture. An Apologia, Zwolle 2014


Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.


Prof. dr. J.B.J. (Jan) Teeuwisse

Drs. B.J.M. (Dick) van Broekhuizen (PhD Candidate 19th century sculpture, Curator of museum Beelden aan Zee & Sculptuur Instituut


The seminar meetings will take place at the Bibliotheek of Museum Beelden aan Zee/ Sculptuur Instituut, The Hague / Scheveningen. More information will be made available through Brightspace.