nl en

Travelling architects


Admission requirements

See Teaching and Examination Regulations.


As in the present day, in the Middle Ages and Early Modern periods architecture was an international affair. The writing of architectural history has, on the other, for a long time been rooted in the perspective of the nation state. As a consequence there has been little interest in the tremendous mobility of architects, building techniques and arts during this period. In fact, it was quite a common phenomenon for architects and artists to travel abroad with the intent of working there for a longer or shorter period. Some returned home when the work in hand had been completed, others moved on to the next place. Often we encounter several generations of artists or architects from one and the same family who were able to offer any kind of art work or building required by the patron. Through marriages with other such families enormous art and dynamic networks were set up throughout Europe.

In this masterclass students will be looking into this mobility of architects/artists as well as artistic networks and how they functioned. What sort of patronage did they receive? How did they compete with local artists, how did they receive their knowledge and keep it up to date? Did travelling artists contribute to cultural exchange? How did they receive their commissions? What can still be seen of their work? How to deal with this legacy in the context of cultural heritage?

Course objectives

  • to get an insight in the building practice and architecture of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period;

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

  • to reflect and theorize on the subject;

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

  • to present this case study in class with the use of powerpoint;

  • to learn how to evaluate on be a referee of the presentations of other students on the course;

  • to write a paper.


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

Mode of instruction

  • lecture;

  • seminar;

  • research;

  • excursion.

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 4 hrs p.w. x 13 = 56 hours;

  • writing a draught of the 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

  • first draught case-study (20%);

  • oral presentation (20 %);

  • final paper (60%).

The final grade for the course is established by determination of the weighted average combined with additional requirements.

If one of the first two items (first draft case-study; oral presentation) is insufficient (but not lower than 5,0) this can be compensated by the final paper (but only if 7,0 or more). The final paper should always be awarded with a 6,0 or higher.


Blackboard will be used:

  • to present the student with information of the course;

  • to present the students the powerpoints shown in class and additional study material;

  • as a discussion forum.

Reading list

The reading list will be presented at the beginning of and during the course.


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.




Mw. Dr. E. (Elizabeth) den Hartog
Mw. Dr. J.G. (Juliette) Roding