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The Materiality of Art. Discourses on studio practice


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


Depending on the number of students there will be three or four blocks on current issues concerning the art market and studio practice in early modern Europe from 1500 - 1800. Each block consists of one lecture with an introduction to current debates on studio practice followed by a discussion. The second lecture will be centered around the reading material and formulation of research questions in the light of recent publications. The final meeting will be an excursion to study the materiality of art and studio practice in a museum or other institution.
The first block will be on studio practice around 1500 and the current debate on the firm of Jeroen Bosch. In 2016 the death of Hieronymus Bosch was commemorated with exhibitions and several important publications. In the past debates on his paintings centred around iconology and iconography. Recently studio practice and the ‘authenticity’ of his paintings have been discussed, sometimes with unpresedented fervour in opposing views. We will focus upon this debate.

The studio of Rembrandt has been researched since the end of the 1970s. The results of the Rembrandt Research Project show how the discourse on autograph paintings, technique and use of materials has changed over the years. Many of Rembrandt’s paintings have been restored, and the research that accompanied these projects gives new insights into Rembrandt’s studio practice. We are going to discuss these new methods and the results.
Lucas van Leyden, Goltzius and Rembrandt were three influential printmakers, however, their techniques and business models differed. We are going to discuss techniques and the role of prints in the art markets in and around 1500, 1590 and 1640. Excursion to prentenkabinet to study original prints by these artist.
Finally students will present a case study on related issues.

Course objectives

  • To get insight into the materiality of art through the study of studio practices in painting and prints in the early modern period (1500-1800)

  • to learn to find, read and evaluate critically the relevant literature on the subject;

  • to reflect and theorizing on the subject;

  • to think up and work out a case-study on the subject;

  • to present the case study in class;

  • to learn how to evaluate the presentations of other students;

  • to write a paper on a related subject.


Please consult the timetable on the MA Arts and Culture website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar;

  • Research;

  • Excursion.

Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two seminars, 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 Ma Arts and Culture in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course.

Course Load

Total course load for the course 10 ec x 28 hours = 280 hours:

  • seminars 2 hrs p.w x 13 = 26 hours;

  • studying compulsory readings for seminars and excursions 4 hrs p.w. x 13 = 56 hours;

  • writing a research proposal for a specific case study = 32 hours;

  • preparing oral presentation and preparing powerpoint = 16 hours;

  • writing of final course paper, 4000 words = 150 hours (rereading texts, collecting research material, searching and reading additional literature, composing and writing of paper).

Assessment method

  • active participation in discussions and formulating research questions (20%);

  • oral presentation (20%);

  • final paper 4000 words (60%).


The final grade for the course is established by determination of the weighted average. In order to pass, the final paper should be awarded with a 6,0 or higher.


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.


  • Please note that if you do not hand in your essay before the first deadline, your essay will be considered as the resit.

  • For the time tables exams 2017-2018 see; Timetable

Exam review

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 have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used:

  • publication of course related materials

  • hand in papers via Turnitin

  • discussion forum

  • grade center

Reading list

A reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course and will be posted on Blackboard.


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Not applicable.


Mw. Dr. M.E.W. Boers-Goosens
Administrations Office Huizinga