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OSK/NIKI Winter School in Florence: Dialogues between Painting and Sculpture in Italian Art, 1400-1800
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12 t/m 20 Januari 2019


OSK/NIKI Winter School in Florence


Dialogues between Painting and Sculpture in Italian Art, 1400-1800


Enrolment is possible until October 20, 2018


A fifteenth-century, painted, wooden statue of Saint Bernardino of Siena in the Bargello Museum in Florence bears the inscription ‘Opvs Lavrentii Petri Pictoris Senensis’. Although the Sienese artist Lorenzo di Pietro, known as Vecchietta (1410-1480), was responsible for both the carving and the polychromy of the statue, he apparently wished to be remembered primarily as pictor, a painter. Vecchietta’s signature is an illustration of one aspect of the multifaceted relationship between painting and sculpture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italian art that this course intends to investigate.


Painted sculptures (like, among many others, the one by Vecchietta) and sculptures in paintings (e.g. by Filippino Lippi or Mantegna), the sculptural quality of figures by certain painters (Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo) and a ‘pictorial’ way of surface modelling in works by sculptors (like Verrocchio, Bernini): all are examples of questions concerning the relations between the two ‘arts’, which, furthermore, have also been confronted to each other in the art-theoretical concept of the paragone. The interest of Renaissance painters in famous ancient sculptures like Apollo of Belvedere and Laokoon  is a well-known aspect of the reception of antiquity, and statues-come-to-life characterise paintings like Andrea del Sarto’s Madonna of the Harpies and Caravaggio’s Madonna of Loreto. The latter painter’s roundel with the Head of Medusa, conversely, calls to mind the petrifaction of anyone who, according to legend, met the Gorgon’s gaze.


The main objective of this course is to investigate these and suchlike phenomena in the visual arts in Italy in the time period from ca 1400 to 1800, concentrated on art works kept in Florentine monuments and collections. In order to gain a better understanding of, and formulate hypotheses and interpretations regarding the various ways in which painting and sculpture historically relate to one another, each course participant will carry out a case-study from, among others, an art-theoretical, iconographical and/or functional viewpoint.


Please note that for students with a specific interest in ancient, early medieval or modern art there is no obstacle to participate in the course. Although the stay in Florence will obviously be concerned mostly with the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, for their concluding paper students will be free to select a subject in the time period of their preference, making use of – or take a contrasting view to – concepts and methods discussed during the course. These subjects do not necessarily limit themselves to Florence or Italy.





1 November 2018-20 January 2019 (stay in Florence 12-20 January 2019)



Dr. Bram de Klerck (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) 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 20, 2018.


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 12, departure on January 20, 2019.

Program: January 13, 9 AM – January 19, 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 3 February 2019) 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 20, 2018. Students will be informed about admittance no later than October 25.

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 dining room, kitchen, bathrooms and toilets). Students who are registered with OSK will be offered a travel grant of €75. 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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