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Seminar BA2 Visual Arts: Dutch Sculpture in an International Perspective


Admission requirements

  • The following courses need to be successfully completed:Freshman’s Class

  • Academic Skills II


The seminar aims to promote academic research about modern and contemporary international sculpture and its historiography, viewed as a cultural product anchored in society and closely related to other forms of visual art. Teaching and research will focus on placing the historiography of modern and contemporary sculpture in the Netherlands in an international perspective.

This seminar is the second in an interdisciplinary research project of 5 years that will result in an exhibition in the Beelden aan Zee Museum and a publication. The main goal is to write the history of a century of modern Dutch sculpture in an international perspective. The third window focusses on the relation between architecture and sculpture.

Architecture is sculpture and sculpture is architecture. This statement is attributed to various pioneers of modern sculpture – Rodin, Maillol, Bronner – and is in the Netherlands linked directly to the sensational development of architectural sculpture in the inter-bellum period. This movement burgeoned after the middle of the 19th century as a decorative element in the historicizing building projects of the architect Cuypers, and experienced its slow demise in the middle of the 20th century after the architects of the so-called ‘Nieuwe Bouwen’ trend (or functionalism) had declared the death of decoration and classified their architecture as sculpture. Figuring between two extremes are the red-brick functionalism of Berlage and the exuberance of the Amsterdam School. But for the research it is important that the Nieuwe Bouwen architects, linked to De Stijl, in the post-war decades built the suburbs that formed the background for the young, non-figurative Dutch sculpture that is also described as abstract or geometric-abstract. This tradition had various sources, as artists such as Henk Zweerus and Ben Guntenaar were products of the Rijksakademie tutelage of Bronner, whereas Carel Visser and André Volten had gained their training elsewhere. Owing to the emergence of Conceptual Art and thereafter the so-called New Figuration of the 1980s, the flame of the abstract movement flickered in Dutch sculpture with the occasional representative such as Auke de Vries. At the same moment we were confronted by the degeneration of this ‘roundabout art,’ which apparently because of its formal nature has not managed to delight the Dutch citizenry, this to such an extent that the RCE, together with the Universiteit van Amsterdam and the Rietveld Academie commissioned research into the matter. In addition, attention will be devoted to the tension between sculpture and architecture (e.g. Atelier Van Lieshout) and architecture and sculpture (e.g. the Sonsbeek Pavilions of Rietveld and Van Eyck).

In this course, all students develop case studies, addressing these kinds of questions.
Literature study is combined with lectures by invited sculptors; students should expect to present their case in class (e.q. in a Pecha Kucha presentation); to prepare a lecture discussion in connection with visiting artists; to write some text and to discuss each other’s work. A prepared visit to an exhibition or an artist’s studio is included in the course. A lot of discussion is encouraged. The focus is on modern sculpture, with occasional older examples.

Course objectives


  • Students learn to know developments, in contemporary examples as well as historical examples, in the use of materials connected with the meaning of a sculpture;

  • Students learn to know the history of sculpture in relation to architecture;

  • Students learn to know the sculptor’s role as an autonomous artist;

  • Students learn to know the sculptor’s role as an artist working on a commissioned monumental / public work;

  • Students learn to know the tension between authenticity, concept, material, technique, which translates in a sculpture and its form;

  • Students learn to know the recent, international discussion concerning debatable public monuments.


  • Students acquire skills to present a case, or part of a case in a pecha kucha presentation;

  • Students acquire skills to present a case in a traditional presentation, or discussion, in class;

  • Students acquire skills to prepare questions and a discussion in class, and to do the actual discussion itself with a visiting sculptor;

  • Students acquire skills to write decent critical or historical texts;


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

The seminar meetings will take place at the Bibliotheek Museum Beelden aan Zee, Scheveningen. More information will be made available through blackboard.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Research

  • Excursion

Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of one seminar, provided they present a valid reason beforehand. Students who have missed more than two seminars will have to aply to the Examination Board of the BA Arts and Culture in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course. See also the Course and Examination Regulations

Course load

Course load summary: 10 ects (280 hrs)

  • 26 hours: Lectures/ classes

  • 70 hours: Study of compulsory literature

  • 124 hours: Assignment(s), two papers

  • 60 hours: Other components, one Pecha Kucha introductory presentation (6,40 min.); one during the excursion (15 min.)

280 hrs

Assessment method


  • Two papers, 1500 and 2500 (bibliographical essay) words max. (notes excluded)

  • Two small presentations

  • Literature exam


  • Two papers (40%)

  • Two small presentations (20%)

  • Literature exam (40%)

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 at (= 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.

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

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 be organised.



Blackboard is used for this course

  • communication

  • assignments

  • more information

Reading list

  • P. Curtis, Sculpture 1900-1940, Oxford 1999.

  • A. Causey, Sculpture since 1945, Oxford 1998.

  • J. Teeuwisse, Dutch Sculpture. An Apologia, Zwolle 2014

  • Specific literature on the subject (The Colonial Empire) will follow


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs



Prof. dr. J.B.J. (Jan) Teeuwisse Drs. B.J.M. (Dick) van Broekhuizen (PhD Candidate 19th century sculpture, Curator of museum Beelden aan Zee & Sculptuur Instituut)


Official course information is communicated in Blackboard.