"Art History at Utrecht, by maintaining its focus on the Low Countries, will come to occupy an increasingly rare and valuable position directly relevant to the society as it cultivates knowledge of one of the world’s greatest cultural traditions." - Review Report 2012

The research of the Art History group explores the history of art and architecture of the Low Countries in their global context, with a strong focus on the material dimensions of art and an open eye to new (digital) research avenues. Supported by major international and national research grants the research of the art history group focuses on technical art history, global and transcultural art history, including exchange processes of multiple modernities, and digital art history.

Technical art history

Historians of art and architecture study the process of making and constructing in context (including the global trade of materials, the transmission of skills, theories of materiality and conceptualizations of materials in art theory, the emergence of knowledge societies); supported by connections to NICAS (Netherlands Institute of Conservation, Art and Science).

Global and transcultural art history

Art and architecture of the Low Countries are approached from a transnational and global perspective, including exchanges between the Netherlands and China, the Spanish Habsburg Empire and the Islamic world. Special attention to Dutch/Flemish-Italian exchanges is supported by close links to the NIKI (Dutch University Institute for Art History) in Florence.

Digital art history

The art history group explores digital approaches to the study of visual and applied arts, especially in cooperation with the RKD – Dutch Institute for Art History.


15 March 2019
Three alumni talk about different Dutch seventeenth-century paintings in the digital tour of the exhibition 'In Praise of Painting'.
© iStockphoto.com
21 January 2019
Leonard Rutgers, Ortal-Paz Saar and Digital Humanities Lab have been awarded a 22,000 Euros grant from the Innovation Fund for IT in Research.
Gems in the Early Modern World Materials, Knowledge and Global Trade, 1450–1800
20 December 2018
Palgrave Macmillan published 'Gems in the Early Modern World. Materials, Knowledge and Global Trade, 1450–1800', edited by Michael Bycroft and Sven Dupré.
Areas of expertise: Globalisation / Cultural Transmission / Artistic Exchange / Materials & Materiality / Cultural Heritage / Exhibitions / Digital Methods / Digital Art & Digitality / Art & Science / Iconography