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History of Design and Domestic Culture 1500-present


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History.


This series of 13 lectures presents a chronological and thematic overview of decorative art and design from 1500 until the present. The nature of the decorative arts, and their position within artistic production in general, is explored. For each historical phase, a leading centre of production is studied. In addition, the practical function and social and cultural meaning of objects is investigated. Aspects of design, production, marketing and the use of design products are central to the approach adopted in this course

Course objectives

  • General knowledge of the principal developments in the history of the decorative arts and design from 1500 to te present.

  • Understanding of the historical and cultural context of works of the decorative arts and design.

  • Knowledge of the cycle of production and consumption in the decorative arts and design.

  • Insight in the main theoretical debates concerning he decorative arts and design.

  • Experience in using visual and written sources for the study of the decorative arts.


  • Friday 9-11 hrs (draft)

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

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

  • Seminar sessions

  • Museum visit(s)

Important: attendance in seminar sessions and museum visits 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: 5 ects (140 hrs)

28 hrs: Attending lectures (2 hrs weekly x 14 weeks)
28 hrs: Lecture preparations (reading texts)
40 hrs: Studying the literature (see Reading List)
15 hrs: Studying visual resources related to the lecture
25 hrs: Exam preparation (reading, writing abstracts etc.)
04 hrs: Exams
140 hrs

Assessment method

  • Mid-term exam (50%): written exam on the content of lectures 1-7 (mix of essay and closed questions).

  • Final exam (50%): written exam on the content of lectures 8-14 (mix of essay and closed questions).

Compensation: The weighted average grade should be at least 6.0 (rounded at one decimal). For both the mid-term exam and the final exam a mark below 5.0 is not allowed.

Resit: one resit per insufficient mark.

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 to share visual resources related to the course, as well as to publish exams for practice.

Reading list

  • Raizman D., History of Modern Design, Londen, 2010 (2nd ed.).


  • Syson, L. en D. Thornton, Objects of Virtue, Art in Renaissance Italy, London 2001, pp. 7-36.

Golden Age:

  • Baarsen, R., Wonen in de Gouden Eeuw, Rijksmuseum 2007, pp. 9-19 en 81-109
    Achttiende eeuw:

  • Eriksen, S., Early Neo-Classicism in France, The creation of the Louis Seize Style in architectural decoration, furniture and ormolu, gold and silver, and Sèvres porcelain in the mid-eighteenth century, Londen 1974, pp. 21-51.

Visual resources via Blackboard

The literature to be studied will be announced during the lecture series.


Via uSis.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Sign up for Studeren à la Carte
Sign up for Contractonderwijs


Coordinator of studies for the BA Art History Dhr. Prof. dr. R.J. Baarsen Drs. L.M. Plezier BA

Or send an e-mail to the study coordinator of the BA Art History / Arts, Media and Society