Conferences, Journals, Fellowships

Call for Papers

VANITAS. Reconsideration of a Pictorial Concept

Session sponsored by the ANKK (Arbeitskreis niederländische Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte) at HNA Conference, Ghent, May 24-26, 2018.

Karin Leonhard, Universität Konstanz,, and Sandra Hindriks, Universität Konstanz,

of the most controversial pictorial concepts within the methodological debate of Netherlandish art history certainly was (and still is) the concept of the Vanitas of the mundane world. It has become quite common to view and subsume Dutch still life painting under the aspect of transience and to claim that those works include a moralizing message: The depicted objects – may it be the skull or hourglass, overturned glasses, wilted flowers, money, jewelry or instruments (used either in daily life or in art and science) – have been interpreted by art historical scholarship in rather generalizing terms as symbols of the vanity and impermanence of human life. Besides this rather cultural pessimistic interpretation there are additional readings of still life painting – for example a more sensualistic approach emphasizing the cognitive power of sense perception; or a social-historic position that links the genre to seventeenth-century European economic expansion by accentuating the importance of goods as a means to establish identity.

, the question arises, whether the pictorial reference to the end of earthly existence in combination with a glorification of wealth – for example in sumptuous still lifes, – has a negative appeal, while on the other hand vanitas still lifes may request a more positive reflection: thinking about the inevitability of death here tends more towards an overcoming of earthly existence in order to gain eternal life. Recent scholarship suggests that vanitas still lifes require beholders to engage in a more active contemplation – also in terms of a moral reflection about themselves. Thus they could be understood as private devotional images, serving as a reminder to the meditation on death and eternal life.
Vanitas vanitatum est: So is the sensuous world little more than smoke and mirrors?  Or does she have – on the contrary – an epistemic significance? Our panel would like to take up this discussion and reconsider the pictorial concept of vanitas. Oscillating between contempt of the world and an affirmation of life in the awareness of the inevitability of death, between an emphasis of sense perception and an emphasis of its relativity and temporality, between a glorification of wealth and criticism of the same, vanitas still lifes offer an ambiguous interpretative potential which needs to be explored anew for every painting. We would like to look into historical and cultural contexts and backgrounds in order to locate vanitas themes and motives and thoroughly understand their meaning.

Therefore, we welcome papers which not only address classical vanitas still lifes but also its predecessors, like for example the depictions of skulls on the reverse of portraits or the various paintings of Saint Jerome in the 16th century. Furthermore, we are interested in the theological and philosophical textual sources, which occasionally even find their way into the paintings. And we also ask for papers that explore the historical development of particular motives, such as e.g. the homo bulla, or certain sub-genres, like e.g. the Merry Company. What characterizes a vanitas still life and distinguishes it from other forms of still life? And how and to what extend does the vanitas painting reflect on the status of the image and its potential to preserve that which is most ephemeral in paint and thus from the impermanence of life?

We invite scholars to submit abstracts in English of no more than 250 words and a short CV of max. 100 words to Karin Leonhard ( and Sandra Hindriks ( by June 30, 2017. If you submit a proposal to more than one session, you should notify the chairs in advance. Only papers that are unpublished will be considered. Speakers must be HNA and ANKK members at the time of the conference. The conference language will be English.


International PhD Students' Meetings

Transitions (University of Liège) / TRAME (University of Picardy Jules Verne) / CESR (François Rabelais University – Tours)

PART 1 “Transition(s): concept, methods and case studies (14th-17th centuries)” Liège, January 30-31, 2018

The Research Unit Transitions. Middle Ages and First Modernity (University of Liège) associated with the research laboratory TRAME (Texts, Representations, Archaeology and Memory from Antiquity to the Renaissance) of the University of Picardie Jules Verne and with the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance of the University François Rabelais (Tours) on the occasion of International PhD Students' Meetings in three parts. Implemented by PhD students of these three institutions, the aim of the meetings is to enable exchange and discussion between PhD students, junior researchers and skilled colleagues. The first of these three meetings will be held in Liège, January 30 -31, 2018.

From the Middle Ages until the upheavals brought about by Galilean science, Europe underwent a period of unceasing questioning which challenged the political balance and its legitimacy, shook the foundations of confessional unity, and expanded the limits of knowledge and of creation. In an attempt to transcend the inherited divisions of the long historiographical tradition, the Research Unit Transitions. Middle Ages and First Modernity ( explores these constant transformations in the Western and in the Mediterranean Basin. Open to Medievalists and Modernists, the Research Unit promotes confrontation between research practices, original collaboration, and the sharing of results in a transdisciplinary way. Furthermore, it attempts to show several factors which contributed to the construction of the social and cultural frameworks by which we define ourselves even today.

In January 2018, the Liège meetings will focus on the theme “Transition(s): concept, methods and case studies (14th-17th centuries)”. Nowadays, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research on the whole tend to delete categories and traditional historical periodization in favor of transversal approach of objects, phenomena, genders, forms and ideas. The concept of “Transition” is linked to the idea of “passage” and it may be defined as “the passage from one state to another” a “degree or an intermediate state” (Trésor de la langue française). From their own research objects, participants will be asked to think on this concept, its acceptability and its relevance toward those of “Mutation”, “Change”, “Transformation”, “Modification”, “Revolution” and “Metamorphosis”. Thereby, it aims to renew the debate on the methods and theoretical ways which mark all disciplinary fields presented in those meetings.

How does one develop a methodology and an analytic grid allowing the study of objects, practices and behaviours positioned between two elements, between two historical periods, between two trends, between two styles, between two manners to do, to see, to write, to think and to believe? Also, how does one get out of this idea of “between two”? Do Transition have breaks, innovations, transfers, exchanges or flow aspects? Do these objects really depict the passage from a practice, a period, from one style to another, or is it actually because the Researcher sees them as doing so? Is the concept of “Transition” a new category, a new pragmatic approach, but nevertheless fruitful? Is this concept involved in advances in our disciplines, and why?

This methodological approach may be considered by concrete questions about the linguistic, cultural, historical, artistic transitions which happened between the 14th and the 17th centuries in Western Europe and the Mediterranean basin, whether through actors and their works (objects, texts), ideas, and / or the areas within which they lived.
Lectures will be the subject of transdisciplinary discussions. They should not last more twenty minutes and they will be given in either French, English or Italian. Each lecture will then be followed by a short debate with the audience.

The organising committee espects the PhD students' proposals for September 15, 2017 at the latest. They should be addressed to the RU Transitions ( as an attached document that includes the personal data of the PhD student and those of the research director(s), as well as the title of the thesis, the title of the lecture, the year of registration as a PhD student and, finally, a fifteen-line summary of the proposed lecture. Proposals are to be written in French, English or Italian. Candidates will be informed of the approval or the rejection of their proposal by the 15th of October 2017.

Each PhD student is invited to contact his own institution about the possibility of valorising his or her participation in the study days within the framework of their doctoral training (attestation, ECTS credits, etc.). At the end of the seminar, the organizers will provide a document certifying the active participation of the PhD student in the meeting. Furthermore, in view of its limited financial resources, RU Transitions will not be able to bear the cost of mobility and accommodation for Participants.

Organising Committee : Emilie Corswarem, Sébastien Damoiseaux, Frédéric Degroote, Aurore Drécourt, Adelaïde Lambert, Anne-Sophie Laruelle, Julie Piront
Scientific Committee : Emilie Corswarem, Annick Delfosse, Laure Fagnart, Marie-Elisabeth Henneau, Nicola Morato, Julie Piront




Positions, Fellowships

Doctoral Fellowship in Dutch Painting (Geneva)

University of Geneva, Department of Art History, July 1, 2017 - March 
31, 2021

Application deadline: Jun 1, 2017

As part of the project funded through the Swiss National Science 
Foundation (SNF) « A Golden Age ? Rethinking the Dutch Seventeenth-Century Painting » the University of Geneva will be awarding onedoctoral fellowship in the history of seventeenth-century Dutch painting

Prerequisites for the application :
1. Successfully completed university degree (master's level or equivalent).
2. Personal research project on Dutch seventeenth-century painting developed in a PhD registered at the University of Geneva and supervised by Prof. Jan Blanc. The PhD thesis may be written in English. It should ideally focus on some of the themes and issues of the SNF project, exploring the function of works of art and images in the fabrication of collective imaginaries and national sentiments in the Dutch Republic.

An excellent understanding of Dutch and seventeenth-century Dutch is required. A knowledge of French will be considered an asset for the communication within the research group.

Specification :     
1. This is a 100 % doctoral fellowship. 
2. The candidate will conduct the researches of her-his PhD. The subject will be conclusively defined during the first months of the fellowship. 
3. She-he will write a pre-doctoral essay at the end of the first year. 
4. She-he will have finished the writing of her-his Phd at the end of the fourth year.
5. The candidate will take part in the activities of the research group (meetings, seminaries, symposia) as well as in the study trips which will regularly be organized.
6. During the fourth and last year of her-his fellowship, the candidate will be invited to give a lecture at the Département d’histoire de l’art of the University of Geneva, ideally in French.

Income : CHF 47’040.—pro year for the first year.

Start of the fellowship : 1st July 2017, if possible

Duration : 4 years
The candidate is appointed for a one-year period. This appointement is renewable for three successive one-year periods.

Required documents and important dates :
- a introduction letter ;
- a curriculum vitae with qualifying university degrees and 
certificates (copies);
- an outline of the doctoral project(s) with a bibliography (max. 5 

to send to :

before 1st June 2017

To promote gender parity, the University encourages the applications of 
the under-represented gender.


Fulbright-American Friends of the Mauritshuis Award

The purpose of the grant is to provide advanced training, research and educational opportunities in paintings conservation. The grant will focus on the study, examination and treatment of works of art in the collection of the Mauritshuis, in combination with a tailor made study program at the University of Amsterdam. The grantee will gain practical experience and knowledge treating paintings in the conservation studio of the Mauritshuis, under the supervision of the conservators of the museum. The grantee will participate in workshops, (informal) lectures, symposia and other events at the university. During the grant period, research will not only include paintings in the Mauritshuis collection, but also pictures in other Dutch and/or European institutions.


Scholar-in-residence at the Dutch University Institute for Art History
in Florence

The Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence (NIKI)
offers a scholar-in-residency accommodation for a distinguished
researcher in art history to spend time dedicated to his/her projects.
A candidate for this accommodation will have an excellent international
reputation in a field of research that is of relevance to the Institute
(Italian art; artistic relations between Italy and the Low Countries;
Netherlandish art in Italy).
A scholar-in-residence is offered:
- 4 month accommodation in the Dutch University Institute for Art
History in Florence, including standard housing utilities
- Access to the research library and photographic archives

During the period of residency, the scholar will:
- prepare a scholarly publication
- give public lectures at the Institute and/or
- assist with the current teaching activities at the Institute and/or
- participate with the organization of an international conference
- actively participate in the Institute’s scholarly community
- if relevant, create opportunities for collaboration between the
Institute and one’s home university

Applications can be submitted at any time. There is no deadline for
applications. Candidates will indicate the period that they would like
to be in residence.
Application will include:
- a letter of application for the scholar-in-residency
- a proposal for the period of the scholar-in-residency, not to exceed
3 pages
- a CV
- name of editor/publisher of projected publication
- names of 2 colleagues from whom recommendations may be requested

Selection criteria:
- Research topic’s relevancy to the areas of focus promoted by the
- Innovative nature and feasibility of proposed research
- motivation for a residency at the Institute
- Quality and structure work plan
- potential contribution to the teaching activities at the Institute

- Applications must be submitted by email to the director of the Dutch
University Institute for Art History in Florence: prof. dr. Michael W.
- Based on the selection criteria, the Director advises the chair and
two members of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute. Together
they form the selection committee.
- The director informs the applicant on the outcome of the selection

Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell'Arte, Viale Torricelli
5, 50125 Firenze
Tel. 055.221612 Fax. 055.221106


Journals and Book Series

Call for Proposals

Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art (JHNA)

The Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art ( announces its next submission deadline, August 1, 2017. Please consult the journal's Submission Guidelines.

JHNA is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published twice per year. Articles focus on art produced in the Netherlands (north and south) during the early modern period (c. 1400-c.1750), and in other countries and later periods as they relate to this earlier art. This includes studies of painting, sculpture, graphic arts, tapestry, architecture, and decoration, from the perspectives of art history, art conservation, museum studies, historiography, technical studies, and collecting history. Book and exhibition reviews, however, will continue to be published in the HNA Newsletter.

The deadline for submission of articles is August 1, 2017.

Alison M. Kettering, Editor-in-Chief
Mark Trowbridge, Associate Editor
Dagmar Eichberger, Associate Editor
Jacquelyn Coutré, Associate Editor




We are pleased to announce that subscriptions for the Arezzo Summer Course on:
Master&Pupil. Art and Music in Italian Print Collections, 16°-18° centuries,
organized by the Arezzo Centro Studi Art in Tuscany and the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno Florence, IT, are now open.

The course will focus not only on workshop practice, with special attention on use of original and reproduction prints, copies, etc. but also on collections of prints related to artists, musicians, scholars, art/music academies etc.

The course will take place in the beautiful medieval city of Arezzo, at the Fraternity dei Laici Museum in collaboration with the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze (a certificate of attendance is granted) with field trips to Florence and Rome.   

As part of the year’s cultural initiatives, the Centro Studi Art in Tuscany Residence and the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze have created a summer course which will focus on print collecting in Italy. Internationally renowned specialists will guide you through the world of Renaissance and Baroque prints and the most important collections in Florence, Rome, Arezzo and Venice. Among them Cristina Acidini, President of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze (formerly Soprintendenteof the Polo Museale Fiorentino), a specialist in the works of Michelangelo and the Zuccari; Lisa Pon (Raphael, Dürer and Marcantonio Raimondi); Anna Bianco (RKD); Gert Jan van der Sman, a distinguished expert in Venetian prints of the 15th and 16thcenturies (Print and Printmaking in Venice); Giorgio Marini (Curator at the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe delle Gallerie degli Uffizi and member of the editorial board of Print Quarterly); Rick Scorza, Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze (formerly Warburg Institute and Morgan Library & Museum), outstanding expert on Vincenzo Borghini and Giorgio Vasari; and the Director of the Summer Course Program Alessandra Baroni Vannucci, specialist in the works of Stradanus and the print culture of the Medici.    

Please see for more info and deadline applications: 



Mellon MA History of Art Courtauld Institute of Art

Visualizing Knowledge in the Early Modern Netherlands, c. 1550-1730
Taught by Prof Joanna Woodall and Dr Eric Jorink

The Southern Netherlands and later the Dutch Republic were not only famous for their art production, but at the centre of the fundamental reconfigurations of knowledge that took place in Europe during the early modern period. Cities such as Antwerp, Leiden and later Amsterdam were ‘hubs’ attracting merchants, printers, artists and scholars from all over Europe. Old as well as new models for knowledge were not only debated but also made visible and even made tactile. Moreover, it was in the Dutch Republic that the revolutionary philosophy of René Descartes was conceived and first published. This course will be particularly concerned with the role of visuality and visual materials in these exciting developments.

We shall explore, throughout the course, the fascinating questions of what knowledge was in the early modern period, and how its foundations were shifting. While some artists were engaged in representing the Garden of Eden, the Ark or the Temple on paper and canvas or in wood as a model of knowledge, others became fascinated by the influx of unknown information for the East and West Indies and other parts of the world. Illustrations – schemes, abstractions, or images done after life – played an increasing role in the debate about the New Philosophy. Rembrandt’s Anatomy lesson of Dr Tulp was one of the many paintings in which knowledge was questioned and constructed, as were Vermeer’s Cartographer and Astronomer. Cabinets of curiosities – by far the richest in Europe – were productive sites of knowledge, where words and things were connected, often displaying previously unknown naturalia and artificialia. Another major theme will be the changing relationship between visual materials and the authority with which they were invested. Rather than separating ‘works of art’ from ‘scientific’ illustrations and materials, the course will encompass paintings, drawings and prints by canonical artists alongside, for example, the illustrations to Descartes’ Discours, original drawings by Maria Sibylla Merian and even anatomical preparations.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation MAs are Options in which a visiting scholar from another discipline enters into dialogue with a member of the faculty at the Courtauld Institute. They are offered for only one year. Dr. Eric Jorink is an expert on Dutch scientific culture of the early modern era. He is Researcher at the Huygens Institute for Netherlands History (Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences) in The Hague and the author of Reading the Book of Nature in the Dutch Golden Age, 1575-1715 (Brill 2010; reviewed in this issue of the Newsletter).

Students with a background in art history, history and/or the history of science and ideas are particularly encouraged to apply for this Option. Knowledge of Dutch or a Germanic language, whilst not essential, would be an advantage.
We are accepting applications to this MA Special Option on a rolling basis.
Academic Registry The Courtauld Institute of Art Somerset House, Strand London WC2R 0RN UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2635 / 2645 Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2410 Email:



Netherlandish Art and Architecture in an International Perspective

Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands) offers a new Master's specialisation in Netherlandish Art and Architecture in an International Perspective. This comprehensive, one-year programme explores the history of painting and sculpture, architecture and the decorative arts of the Netherlands from the Late Middle Ages to the present. Taught in English, it gives students from different countries the opportunity to specialise in one of the most fascinating fields in art history.

Prospective students will need a Bachelor's degree in Art History or Cultural Studies, or at least 45 EC points (or equivalent) in art history courses. In all other cases, portfolio and motivation will determine whether the candidate meets the programme requirements. In addition, students will need adequate English language skills.

For more information, visit our website, or contact us at Radboud University's Student Information Desk (T: +31 (0)24 361 2345; E:



Renewed Research Master’s programme: Art History of the Low Countries at Utrecht University

Utrecht University has run an English-language Research Master’s programme in Art History of the Low Countries since 2004. Working closely with major museums in and outside of the Netherlands, the programme addresses Dutch and Flemish art from the Middle Ages to the present day and in an international context.

Teaching is strictly research-based, which means that course topics relate to ongoing research projects, participants engage in hands-on and on-site research, and they are coached in understanding and writing research proposals. As of 2017, the programme has been realigned along three core interests that tie into recent scholarly trends: Global Art History, Technical Art History, and Digital Art History. At the same time, students are encouraged to pursue individual interests in tailored tutorials and internships. Five new staff members (Marjolijn Bol, Sven Dupré, Sjoukje van der Meulen, Sarah Moran, and Thijs Weststeijn) have been hired to further develop this programme.

Student admission is on the basis of previous results, a letter of motivation, and a preliminary study plan. Registration is open until April 1st (non-EU students) or June 1st (EU students).

For more information please visit the website ( or contact programme coordinator Dr. Victor Schmidt (



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