Why in Utrecht
A long-standing tradition
The RMA in Art History was established in 2004 and has established a wide-ranging network of contacts with museums and heritage institutions in and outside of the Netherlands. Teaching is frequently hands-on and on-site: courses connect to ongoing academic projects and curatorial projects. Utrecht has itself two excellent museums and is centrally located in regard to major museums in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Antwerp, Brussels, and Cologne.
Three core interests
The programme’s traditional focus has been on the art of the Low Countries. The current programme maintains strong expertise in this field, but does not emphasize a single period or area. You will learn different art historical methods, with a focus on three new approaches that allow you to address art and material culture in terms of making, circulation, and display. In addition, you will pursue your individual interests in immersive tutorials and a 6-month internship.
- Technical art history
This approach highlights the material aspects and making processes of works of art, craft, and architecture. Special attention goes to how the practical and theoretical expertise of artists, artisans, and architects is related to the history of knowledge. Mainstay of the approach is the ARTECHNE project, which collaborates with the Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science.
- Global/transcultural art history
You will analyse Dutch and European art and material culture in a wider geographical framework that reveals how individual works are determined by migration, interaction, and intermediality. The approach connects to the UU’s own Research Institute for Art History in Florence and includes topics such as Chinese-Dutch exchange and the collection of Islamic art in Europe.
- Digital art history
Acquaintance with the latest digital methods, from mapping migration patterns to 3D modeling, allows you to engage in current debates and in competitive fundraising. The approach is connected closely to digital initiatives of the Netherlands Institute for Art History and the ARTDATIS project. In addition, the UU Heritage Lab explores new manners of museum public involvement.
Collaboration with museums
In choosing your internship, you will be able to benefit from the long-standing links that the RMA programme has established with all major Dutch museums and with many important institutions abroad. In the past five years, the Art History staff members contributed to over 20 exhibitions. Our RMA students have completed internships at c. 50 institutions. Read more about career development.
The programme is backed by a strong group of teachers and researchers; together, they cover the whole range from the Middle Ages to the present day. The core lecturers of the Reseach Master's programme include:
Thijs Weststeijn studies early modern art in a broad cultural context. His special interest is the global connections that shaped early modern Netherlandish art as well as the opportunities that non-Western works provide to look back at the Netherlands. He chairs the research project 'The Chinese Impact: Images and Ideas of China in the Dutch Golden Age'.
Eva-Maria Troelenberg is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History. She directs the research group "Objects in the Contact Zone – The Cross-Cultural Lives of Things" at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence. Her main fields of interest include the historiography and artistic perception of Islamic Arts, the history and critique of Orientalism and Primitivism in modern art, arts of the modern Mediterranean, as well as transcultural museum history.
Sven Dupré is Professor and Chair of History of Art, Science and Technology. His research focuses on the production and consumption of art and its embedding in the history of knowledge. He is leader of the ERC project Technique in the Arts: Concepts, Practices, Expertise, 1500-1950.
Victor M. Schmidt is Associate Professor in Art History and Coordinator of the programme. He is a specialist in the art and art theory of the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and regularly collaborates with national and international museums.
Sarah Moran's research interests center on cultural production in the Counter-Reformation Southern Low Countries, with foci on women’s patronage, material culture, religious art and architecture, public performance, authorship, and image theory. She is especially interested in questions of historical methodology and in the potential of interdisciplinarity to open up new areas of research.
Michael W. Kwakkelstein is Professor in Visual Arts and Theory of Art of the Renaissance in Italy and director of the NIKI in Florence. His research is focused on the relation between art theory and artistic practice, with particular emphasis on Leonardo da Vinci. He is regularly involved in the curation of exhibitions.
Chris Stolwijk is Professor of Dutch art history in an international context, 1800-1940, and director of the Netherlands Institute for Art History in The Hague. His core interests are Vincent van Gogh, the history of art history, the history of art collecting and trade, museification, and digital art history.
The Utrecht University Library has excellent resources in the field of art history, both electronic and on paper. You will be mostly working in the library in the city centre, which is well equipped with studyspots and computers. For early sources in manuscript and print you will be going to the Special Collections - a quiet oasis, ideal for study and research.
Choosing Utrecht University means choosing one of the best universities in the country. Several renowned international rankings place Utrecht University among the 100 best universities in the world. The teaching environment at Utrecht University is international: half of the Utrecht Master's programmes are taught in English. The existing and former academic staff of Utrecht University include twelve Nobel Prize laureates. Read more about Utrecht University.