nl en

Early Modern Period: Medievalism in Architecture, Art and Literature (1750-1900)


Admission requirements

See MA Arts and Culture programme guide and Exam regulations.


The Middle Ages (c. 500 – c. 1500) were first distinguished as a period in history by the Humanists, who considered themselves as heirs of classical antiquity. Both in the early modern period and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries medieval history, art and literature were a source of inspiration for both artists and scholars. Romanticism is famous for its rediscovery of the Middle Ages.

This course focuses on the reception of the Middle Ages in the post-medieval period, especially in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Special attention will be given to the re-evaluation of the medieval built heritage, which manifested itself in preservation, restoration and the neo-Gothic style. Further on we will also pay attention to aspects of the visual arts and literature. How do architecture, visual arts and literature meet in Romantic forms of medievalism: how do they interact with one another and with ideas concerning, amongst others, the nation state?

Course objectives


  • Students delve into a variety of aspects of medievalism in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially in the field of architecture, art and literature.

  • Students gain insight into the ideas that led to the preservation of monuments and today’s ideas on heritage.

  • Students gain insight into the extent and manner in which architecture, visual arts and literature relate to each other.

  • Students gain insight in the fact that any form of medievalism can be regarded as an end product of an intellectual, imaging process, but also as a starting point for new representations of the medieval past.


  • Students will learn to analyze text and images on the basis of concepts such as imaging and medievalism.

  • Students will have to partake in interdisciplinary research and research methods.

  • Students will learn to engage and take part in scholarly debates and discussions.

  • Students will gain experience in presenting their own research results in a group by means of a presentation.

  • Students will write a paper on their research results.


See the timetable on the Arts and Culture website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture (2 hours a week), research (individual study of source materials) and excursion (Brugge).

Assessment method

Paper (70%), oral presentation during symposium (15%), assignments, discussion and active participation during the course (15%).


Blackboard will be used for this course.

Reading list

To be announced on Blackboard (August 2012).


Students have to register for this course in uSis, the registration system of the university. General information about registration in uSis you can find here in Dutch and in English.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

  • Dr. E. den Hartog, Department of Art History, Doelensteeg 16 (WSD-complex, Johan Huizingagebouw, Room 1.18A), 071-5272686.

  • Prof. Dr. Wim van Anrooij, Department of Dutch Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 1 (WSD-complex, Building 1167, Room 101A), 071-5272121.


  • This course can be followed for the MA Arts and Culture specialisations: Architecture, Early Modern and Late Medieval Art.

  • It can also be followed as a specialist course for the MA free component (10 ec) of any other specialisation or MA program of Leiden University.