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The Continence of Scipio as a Vehicle for Political Propaganda and Protest (1600-1800)


General Information

  • Supervisor and e-mail contact: Jacqueline Hylkema (

  • Major: Human Diversity/World Politics

  • Number of students: Maximum 5

  • Period: Blocks 3 and 4

Research context

In the Early Modern period Livy’s account of the aftermath of the Fall of Carthago Nova became a major vehicle for the discussion of leadership and more specifically the political value of kindness and mercy. In Western art, the story of Scipio Africanus was depicted again and again, especially in paintings and prints. Several of these works, such as Anthony van Dyck’s 1620-21 version, have been discussed at length in scholarly publications and a number of authors have focused on the role of the theme in the Dutch Republic, where it was especially popular.

In this research clinic we will take an international approach to the Continence of Scipio, first by creating a database/inventory of works depicting the theme in five different countries (including the USA) in the period 1600-1800. In Block 4 we will then research the background of a number of these works (in terms of makers, patrons, audience/clients, medium, political context, etc.) and analyze the images in terms of their political objectives, how they relate to certain political discourses and how they differ from images created in other contexts.

Requirements / notes:

  • Students who read at least one of the following languages are especially welcome to apply: Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Danish, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Czech or Russian

  • Please note that this Research Clinic will involve some travel, for instance to museums, monuments and special collections in The Hague, Leiden and Amsterdam.

  • Specific tasks determined based on student interests and preparation