Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History
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OSK/NIKI Winter School in Florence
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13 Januari 2018

The Art of Memorials.

Pictures of the Past, Implications for the Present


Enrolment is possible until October 1st, 2017


Every state or city has its monuments, to mark the more and less important moments of its history: tombs, cenotaphs, columns, triumphal arches, statues, busts and inscriptions. Some were erected for public purposes, others served a more private function. Keeping alive the memory of a significant event in the national or local history or commemorating prominent citizens, they all contribute to the collective memory of a state or city.


Seeing a monument, one may at first instance wonder what or whom it commemorates. It is more telling, however, to ask how the event or person in question is commemorated and for what reason. Why was this monument erected,  what made the event or person it memorializes so important and how is this expressed, in words and images?


In order to answer these questions, one must investigate the person(s) or public body that commissioned the monument, to answer such questions as: what were their intentions for putting it up, why did they sometimes do this several years or even decades after the event or the death it commemorates? Were they personally involved in the event or related to the deceased? Why did they chose the specific site for this monument?


Taken all together, the various monuments create a history of Florence through its most glorious events and its most illustrious citizens. Clearly, this parade of highlights from Florentine history is very selective and far from unbiased, but it presents an interesting self image of the Florentine commune over the centuries, raising such questions as: how did the Florentine commune wanted to present itself, and how did this self presentation relate to the specific circumstances?


Participants of this course will study in situ monuments in Florence from the 14th through the 21st century that commemorate historical events of persons, focusing on the aspects described above and trying to explain the significance of the specific monuments within the context of the contemporaneous historical circumstances. Monuments to be studied include the 15th century tombs of the City Chancellors Leonardo Bruni and Carlo Marsupini, the 15th century series of cenotaphs for famous artists, writers and scholars in the Duomo, the statues of prominent members of the Medici family from the 16th and 17th centuries, the 18th century triumphal arch for Francesco Stefano of Lorraine, the 19th century series of statues of prominent Florentines in the niches of the Uffizi façade, and the monuments for famous scholars, artists and musicians from various ages (Dante, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galilei, Rossini) in Sta Croce. Each participant is expected to choose a monument or ensemble of monuments, and give a presentation of his/her findings about it during the stay in Florence.





1 November - 21 January 2018 (stay in Florence 13-21 January 2018)



Dr. Jan de Jong (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) and prof. dr. Gert Jan van der Sman (Leiden University / Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence)



Annelien Krul MA (info@onderzoekschoolkunstgeschiedenis.nl)



Open to all ResMA students and PhD candidates in Art and Architectural History, max. 16 participants. ResMa students have precedence over PhD candidates



(See below)



info@onderzoekschoolkunstgeschiedenis.nl. Provide a CV and short letter of motivation. Deadline: October 1st 2017.


The course has four main components:

1. Two seminars in Utrecht (dates to be announced)

2. A stay in Florence  at the NIKI (Dutch University Institute for Art History): Arrival on January 13, departure on January 21 2018.

Program: January 14, 9 AM – January 20, 6 PM.

3. A presentation in Florence on the chosen monument or ensemble of monuments.

4. An annotated paper (ca. 5.000 words, excl. notes, deadline 4 February 2018) written by each participant after their return to the Netherlands, focusing on the chosen topic. The paper will be supervised by one of the professors.



Participation in the OSK-NIKI ResMA Winter School 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 16. ResMA students have precedence over PhD candidates. Deadline for application is October 1th 2017. Students will be informed about admittance no later than October 10th.

Students are expected to attend all seminars and lectures and read and analyze the texts in advance.


There is no course fee. All students will be offered free housing at the NIKI (rooms are for 3 or 4 persons, shared living room, kitchen, bathrooms and toilets). Students who are registered at OSK will be offered a travel grant of € 70. Students are responsible for booking a flight themselves. The travel grant will be paid after delivering a successful paper and presentation. Make sure to keep your (digital) ticket and proofs of payment, without them the grant cannot be paid.


Credits: 6 EC (possibility to expand), to receive after delivering a successful paper and presentation. 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.

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