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Art on Paper & the Leiden University Collections


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Arts and Culture.


Storytelling: favorite stories in Netherlandish drawings and prints, c. 1550-1650

In this course we will focus on the iconography, meaning and visual traditions of stories depicted in Netherlandish drawings and prints between circa 1550 and 1650. Which subjects were depicted and why did artists and buyers find these topics so attractive? Often depicted scenes were taken from the Bible and mythology. But subjects from everyday life were also popular during this period.

During this course, the rich collection of drawings and prints from the Special Collections of Leiden University will be the starting point for object-based research. We will not only pay attention to the iconography of drawings and prints, but also to used materials and techniques and to other aspects of their production and appreciation. We will also visit some other important collections with works on paper, e.g. the Rijksmuseum or Teylers Museum. This course will end with students presenting the outcomes of their research.

Course objectives

  • Students will get an understanding of the position, iconography and various functions of art on paper in the early modern period

  • Students will have obtained an insight in the most important collections of art on paper in the Netherlands

  • Students will have learnt to recognize and produce productive research questions regarding our central theme starting from an object-based investigation

  • Students are able to initiate and carry out a modest research project in which they frame their own reading explicitly, and situate themselves critically within modern and contemporary scholarly and artistic debates.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (on campus)

  • Excursions

Assessment method

  • Paper and some smaller assignments (80%)

  • Oral presentation (20%)

Each ResMA student must fulfil an extra assignment, in order to demonstrate their ability to work with more advanced theoretical and disciplinary questions beyond the normal MA level, to be decided by lecturer and student.


The final grade is the average of the two grades (20%, 80%). A student passes the class if the weighted average is a 6.0 or higher (marks under 5 are not allowed) and obtained at least a 6.0 for the Paper.


The re-sit consists of two parts: a remake/rewrite of the Paper (80%) and/or an alternative assignment (20%).

Inspection and feedback

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.

Reading list

More information on the reading list will be published in Brightspace a week before the start of this MA course.



Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof.dr. Y.L. Bleyerveld