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Werkcollege BA3 musea en collecties: Curating a Virtual Exhibition - Italian Art in Amsterdam Collections (1600-1700)


Admission requirements

Completed first year (propedeuse) of the bachelor Art History or education at a similar level. Two successfully completed second year seminars (or the equivalent thereof). For Leiden University art history students: having successfully completed the excursion seminar to either Berlin or Florence.


Famously, Rembrandt refused to visit Italy to study Italian art, claiming that he could easily do the same in Amsterdam. Indeed, we know that several wealthy citizens, mostly merchants, had started to collect Italian art by the 1630s. The most famous collection, both for its size and scope, was the so-called “Reynst Cabinet”, brought together by Gerrit and Jan Reynst. This art cabinet was dispersed in the 1670s. A reconstruction has been attempted in the 1990s, based on various primary sources. However, a recently discovered, as yet unpublished inventory enables us, for the first time, to “view” the collection in full.

In this course, we will study the inventory, identify the paintings, reconstruct the collection, and present the “Reynst Cabinet” in a virtual exhibition. Stdudents will be able to become acquainted with the making of an exhibition in all its aspects: research, selection of objects, presentation and exhibition design, and the writing of catalogue entries and texts.

Course objectives

  • Being able to independently research an art historical topic; to critically review the relevant scholarly literature and primary sources; to present their research in both in a presentation (20 mins) and a written report (c. 5000 words).

  • Being acquainted with exhibition practices and being able to identify the steps in putting together an exhibition.

  • Being able to select a topic and / or object related to collection practices in the 17th century.

  • Demonstrable skills in formulating a research question and putting together a relevant bibliography.

  • Having practiced writing catalogue entries and texts.


  • Thursday 15-17 hrs (draft)

Please note: for the final schedule refer to Collegeroosters / Timetable on the Art History website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Lectures

  • Excursion

Important: attendance in seminar sessions is mandatory! In case of no-show, the tutor should be informed about your absence prior to the actual seminar session. Moreover this course cannot be successfully completed by students that were absent more than twice. Only in exceptional cases, the Examination Committee may consider the possibility of an additional or substitute assignment. See also the Course and Examination Regulations.

Course Load

Course load in summary: 10 ects (280 hrs)

24 hrs: Attending seminar sessions (2 hrs weekly x 12 weeks)
36 hrs: Preparation of seminar and weekly assignments (3 hrs x 12 weeks)
20 hrs: Excursions (with or without instructor)
80 hrs: Study of literature and primary sources
120 hrs: Writing paper / catalogue entries
280 hrs

Assessment method

  • Participation in seminar, preparation of seminars and assignments count as practical exercises (obligatory)

  • Portfolio (10%): contains the results of separate assignments, such as collecting relevant literature and selection of objects

  • Presentation (30%), supported by PowerPoint (or equivalent) about own research

  • Written catalogue texts (60%): c. 5000 words excl. notes and bibliography

Compensation: The weighted average of all assessments should be at least 6.0.
Re-sit: One failed test (grade lower than 5.5) can be redone once. Re-sit for the presentation will be a separate assignment.


Blackboard will be used throughout the course for announcement; literature; assignments; discussions.

Reading list

To be announced; mostly electronically available though Blackboard.


Via uSis

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs



Mw Dr. Marika Keblusek