Through object-based, interdisciplinary research, this Masters programme focuses on the act of making and everything that entails. We study studio practices from a variety of disciplines, their materials and techniques, but also intentions and concept. We examine art technological sources to register the artist’s voice, and other testimonies on artistic practice, make reconstructions of historical recipes and modern techniques to understand practices, ageing and its consequences as well as other changes artworks go through. Researching this all-inclusive story of an artefact is known as technical art history. It is an exciting and rapidly growing field involving (technical) art historians, scientists, conservators while also reaching out to other disciplines such as economic and social history, history of science, anthropology and aesthetics.
Drawing upon the expertise of an interdisciplinary team, the programme will include taught and research components as well as practical workshops and work placements.
This MLitt develops your skills in object-based research, as well as examining the authenticity, attribution and dating of art works – and their change and survival. You do not need any background in science or conservation. We will provide you with the right tools to understand what science can deliver, what conservators can do, and what role you can play in this truly interdisciplinary field.
You will take five core courses and one optional course. This is followed by a period of self-study towards a dissertation 15,000 words in length (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) and will be on a topic chosen in consultation with the tutors and the programme convenor.
You may choose from the following options
Career opportunities include curatorial positions in museums and galleries, working with collections within cultural heritage organisations, or in the commercial environment of auction houses performing object-based research including technical investigation. The programme will also prepare you for a further postgraduate education in conservation or academic research.
Our two-year Research Master's programme focuses on the art and architecture of the Low Countries (present-day Netherlands and Belgium), and spans the period from the late Middle Ages to the present day. You will study Netherlandish art and architecture, taking into account their international context. We invite you to critically reflect on the production of art and architecture, and the role of patronage; investigate the reasons why so many artist went abroad and how they became agents in the international diffusion of styles and themes; and explore how artworks testify to the Dutch encounter with the wider world from the Golden Age to the present day. Furthermore, the programme will acquaint you with the innovative approaches of global, technical, and digital art history.
You will also have the opportunity to study other specific subjects that align with your own personal interests. Our close ties with major art museums and other cultural organisations both in the Netherlands and abroad mean that the academic and practical work are closely linked.
Dutch students will spend a semester in a major art museum abroad while students from other countries intern at a major Dutch or Flemish art museum. You may also wish to study at another university for one semester. To date, our students have undertaken placements at approximately twenty institutions in eight different countries. Whatever your choice, your internship or study abroad semester will be tailored to your own individual interests.
The Research Master's programme in Art History of the Low Countries will prepare you for further research by specialising in the art and architecture of the Low Countries. Many graduates have gone on to undertake PhD programmes in the Netherlands or abroad.
Graduates can also apply for curatorial positions requiring specialist skills in art history at museums and research institutes. A number of our graduates are currently employed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede, the Municipal Museum of The Hague, the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, the Printroom of the Royal Library in Brussels, the Groeningemuseum in Bruges, and in the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague.