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Art, Renaissance and Textile


Admission requirements

BA Art History


Painting, sculpture and decorative arts are usually studied as separate fields. In this course we will look at the relations between the different art forms in fifteenth-century Italy, focusing mainly on painting and textiles in a liturgical context. The importance of altar pieces is well known to art historians and they have been studied from many different perspectives, including style, iconography and technique. The huge importance of costly textiles in the church has attracted attention only in more recent years and both surviving fragments and the way in which painters incorporated precious silks in their works are now studied. Interestingly, the study of the depiction luxury textiles does not only enhance our understanding of their appreciation in the church, but also offers a new perspective on the paintings.
Through various case studies, such as the San Miniato altar piece by the Pollaiuolo brothers and extant textile fragments in the Rijksmuseum collection, we will address questions regarding iconography, materiality and technique, patronage and foreign influences.

Course objectives

  • Gaining understanding of the function of art in a liturgical context in Renaissance Italy.

  • Gaining understanding of the appreciation of different art forms in the Renaissance in terms of cost, intellect and beauty.

  • Becoming familiar with production methods of both Italian Renaissance painting and textiles, as well as technical research to study these techniques.

  • Obtaining basic experience with working with museum objects.

  • Critical reflection of the relevant literature.

  • Working on a case study within the theme of the course and presenting the research results in both oral and written form.

  • (ResMA only) Reflecting on the theoretical foundation of the discipline and the different approaches in academia and museums.


The timetable is available on the Master Arts and Culture website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Lectures

  • Museum visits

Course Load

Course load in summary: 10 ects (280 hrs)
28 hrs: Attending lectures (2 hrs weekly x 14 weeks)
28 hrs: Lecture preparations (reading texts)
16 hrs: Museum visits
16 hrs: Preparing bibliography and formulation of point of departure
50 hrs: Preparing oral presentation
142 hrs: Preparing paper(s)* —-
280 hrs

  • Research Masters will have to write an extra paper.

Assessment method

  • Bibliography and formulation of the point of departure 10%

  • Oral presentation 20%

  • Paper 70%


  • Bibliography and formulation of point of departure (10%)

  • Oral presentation (20%)

  • Paper (70%)


The final grade is the average of the three grades (10%, 20%, 70%). A student passes the class if the weighted average is a 6.0 or higher (marks under 5.0 are not allowed) and the paper is a 6.0 or higher.


The re-sit consists of two parts: paper (70%) and/or alternative assignment (30%).

Compensation: The final mark for the course is established by the weighted average of bibliography, oral presentation and paper. In case the bibliography and paper fail (grade lower than 6.0) can be redone once.

Re-sit: Re-sit for the oral presentation will be a separate assignment, to be determined by the Board of Examiners.


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

Reading list

  • Alessandro Cecchi, ‘The conservation of Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo’s altarpiece for the Cardinal of Portugal’s chapel’, The Burlington Magazine 141 (1999) 81-85

  • Linda A. Koch, ‘The Early Christian Revival at S. Miniato al Monte: The Cardinal of Portugal Chapel’, The Art Bulletin 78 (1996) 527-555

  • Lisa Monnas, Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings 1300-1550, New Haven / London: Yale University Press 2009

  • Paula Nuttal, ‘Fecero al Cardinale di Portogallo una tavola a olio’: Netherlandish influence in Antonio and Piero Pollaiuolo’s San Miniato altarpiece’, Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek / Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art 44 (1993) 111-124


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. You can register until two weeks after classes have started however students are advised to register as soon as possible and preferably before the start of the course. In the case of electives: please be aware that most electives have a maximum amount of students who can enroll. Do not approach the course instructor in case the class is full. You will automatically be put on a waiting list.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dhr. dr. E. Grasman
Dhr. A.R. Dencher MA