ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


7 - 9 April 2020
Groningen/Studio Claudy Jongstra

POSTPONED: RMA & PhD Course: Materials & Materiality in Art History

**This course is postponed until further notice**

Enrolment is possible until 30 November 2019

Art history is witnessing a turn and return to object centered research and teaching. Material culture studies, art theory, artistic practice, conservation, technical art history, history of science, as well as ethnography, all shape a field, which is reinvented on its own grounds. The material status of the artwork has clearly become a topic of relevance that reaches also those art historians, whose work is not primarily concerned with the production, conservation, and restoration of art. Moreover, this re-orientation towards materials and materiality seems to go hand in hand with a ‘global’ turn, adding non-western artworks, materials, modes of production and transmission to the mix.

During this course, students of all areas of the discipline (medieval, early modern, modern & contemporary art, architectural studies, design and applied arts, museum studies, art theory, etc.) are familiarized with recent approaches to materials and concepts of materiality that have entered art history from other disciplines, as well as those theories and methodologies, developed within. The course combines a seminar setting with presentations and discussions of recent literature with object-led and handling sessions with practitioners, and scientists in order to test and reflect upon methods needed to research the meaning of materials in art and artistic practice.

Apart from a thorough, critical introduction to the developing field and its key players and texts, which enables participants to relate their own work to issues of materiality, students are invited to discuss topics related to their research with regard to questions such as: Is the material status of an art object relevant to all approaches within the discipline?; How do materials make meaning?; What is the historiography of materials in art history?; In which ways could art history profit from studio-based learning/research?; Does art theory care about materiality?; What is the distinction between materials of art works and concepts of materiality?; How much do art historians need to know about technical art history, conservation and scientific analysis?; How and to what end should art historians combine historical with ethnographic and scientific research methods?; What could art history contribute to other disciplines dealing with materials/ity?

The course by Onderzoeksschool Kunstgeschiedenis has a special emphasis on color technologies and will include a visit to a conservation lab, depot or art production site. There will also be hands-on sessions in the Studio Claudy Jongstra, directed by Jenny Boulboullé (UU / ARTECHNE). The course is offered in collaboration with ERC-funded research project ARTECHNE ( and the exhibition project ‘Back to Black’ ( in the Museum Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen. 

Dates: 7 April – 9 April 2020 & 11 June 2020
Locations: Groningen/Studio Claudy Jongstra/Museum Hof van Busleyden, Mechelen
Taught by: Sven Dupré, UU/UvA & Ann-Sophie Lehmann, RUG
Coordination: drs. Paul Koopman (
Conditions: Open to all ResMA students and PhD candidates Art and Architectural History, max. 15 participants.
Fees: There is no course fee. A stay for two nights (Groningen and Friesland) and the travel costs to Mechelen are subsidized for OSK students. Not included: travel costs to and in Groningen and Friesland, and food & drinks.
Subscription: Provide a CV and short letter of motivation. Deadline: 30 November 2019.

Main course components:

  • Preparatory literature study (= 1 week reading and preparation in advance).
  • Three day-long seminars (some late evenings) in Groningen/Studio Claudy Jongstra from 7 April – 9 April 2020.
  • Presentation of research questions related to ongoing research and literature.
  • Students write a 4000 w. paper, preferably imbedded in ongoing research (i.e. chapter of thesis/PhD, lecture, article) (= 2 weeks of full time work).
  • To complete the course, students present their work in a final presentation on 11 June 2020 at the Museum Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen.
  • Syllabus, schedule and exact description of assignments will be made available in February 2020.


Participation in the OSK course Materials & Materiality in Art History is open to all students enrolled in a Research Master Program or PhD program at a Dutch University. The number of participants is limited to 15. Deadline for application is 30 November 2019. Students will be informed about admittance no later than 12 December 2019. Students are expected to attend all seminars and lectures and read and analyze the texts in advance. Credits: 6 EC, to receive after delivering a successful paper and participation. Students have to check with their home university themselves whether the transfer of credits for this course is accepted. OSK will provide a testimonial of work load and EC. Instruction language: English.