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Werkcollege BA3 musea en collecties: Virtual Exhibition, The Lost Museum - Looting and Restitutions


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.


In 2015, Matisse’s Seated Woman was returned to the heirs of the Jewish art dealer Paul Rosenberg. Rosenberg escaped the Nazis in 1940, but his collection of art was pillaged. Until his death in 1959, Rosenberg devoted his life trying to find about 400 paintings stolen by the Nazis. The Seated Woman was found among the paintings stashed by Cornelius Gurlitt in his Munich apartment, a collection that was only discovered in 2010.
The looting and destruction of art works in times of war is of all periods, yet never so systematically practiced as during World War II and the Nazi-regime. A large part of the stolen art is still missing. Museums are frequently faced with restitution claims. In this course, we will develop a virtual exhibition entitled The Lost Museum. We will look at art crimes; the looting and destruction of art; ethical, moral and legal implications of restitution, and art works examining the issue of looting and restitution.

Course Objectives

  • Students learn to independently research an art historical topic; to critically review the relevant scholarly literature and primary sources; to present research results both in a presentation (15 mins) and a written report (c. 3000 words).

  • Students get acquainted with exhibition practices and learn to identify the steps in putting together an exhibition.

  • Students learn to select a topic and / or object related to the looting and restitution of artworks.

  • Students acquire demonstrable skills in formulating a research question and putting together a relevant bibliography.

  • Students practice in writing catalogue entries and texts.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Lectures

  • Research

  • 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

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours

24 hours: Lectures
24 hours: Preparation tutorials
10 hours: Tutoring
80 hours: Study of compulsory literature
132 hours: Assignment(s) —-

  • Other components: Excursions: 10 hours

Assessment method

  • Oral presentation: 20% of the final Grade.

  • Paper: 80% of final grade.

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 (= 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.

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

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 be organized.


Blackboard will be used throughout the course for announcements, assignments and literature.


Noah Charney, The Museum of Lost Art. London: Phaidon Press, 2018.
Other readings will be made available electronically.


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

Not applicable.


Dr. M. (Marika) Keblusek