"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.


26 June 2018
Art historian Jessie Wei-Hsuan Chen will delve into the epistemic value of seventeenth-century flower books of amateur collectors of botanical visual material.
18 May 2018
In this book, Merlijn Hurx argues that transformations in building organisation in 15th century Northern Europe laid the foundations for modern architecture.
10 April 2018
Co-edited by Sarah Moran, this special issue considers activities of Catholic and Protestant women in Europe and the Americas in the 16th to 18th centuries.
Areas of expertise: Globalisation / Cultural Transmission / Artistic Exchange / Materials & Materiality / Cultural Heritage / Exhibitions / Digital Methods / Digital Art & Digitality / Art & Science / Iconography