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A Century of Modern Dutch Sculpture in an International Perspective


Admission requirements

Similar to the admission requirements for the MA Arts and Culture.


The seminar aims to promote academic research about modern and contemporary international sculpture and its historiography, viewed as a cultural product anchored in society and closely related to other forms of visual art. Teaching and research will focus on placing the historiography of modern and contemporary sculpture in the Netherlands in an international perspective.

This seminar is the fourth in an interdisciplinary research project of 5 years that will result in an exhibition in the Beelden aan Zee Museum and a publication. The main goal is to write the history of a century of modern Dutch sculpture in an international perspective. The fourth theme focuses on the relation of conceptualism with sculpture.

La Scultura Lingua Morta. This ominous title, which the neoclassical Italian sculptor Arturo Martini gave to his famous 1945 book, has been chosen for the research into the emergence of conceptual art in the Netherlands that began in the late 1960s. Remarkably enough, this new movement experienced the beginning of its triumphant march at an exhibition that, from 1949 onwards, had made modern sculpture popular in the Netherlands: Sonsbeek. The 1971 edition, under the leadership of Wim Beeren, was entitled Sonsbeek buiten de perken [Sonsbeek beyond the pale] and in every respect laid to rest the crafted, spatial object. But at the same time the term ‘sculpture’ remained in use as burgeoning term for a multitude of developments. The consequences of that exhibition were far-reaching within all sectors of the cultural establishment: studio practice, art education, museum policy with respect to exhibitions and collecting, and so forth. The return to the object and the narrative in Dutch sculpture that began in the 1980s was a reaction to conceptual art, but cannot be seen as being separate from it.

In this course, all students develop case studies, addressing these kinds of questions.
Literature study is combined with lectures by invited sculptors; students should expect to present their case in class (e.g. in a Pecha Kucha presentation); to prepare a lecture discussion with visiting artists; to write texts and to discuss each other’s work. A prepared visit to an exhibition or an artist’s studio is included in the course.
A great deal of discussion is encouraged. The focus is on modern sculpture, with occasional older examples.

Course objectives


  • to know developments, in contemporary examples as well as historical examples, in the use of materials connected with the meaning of a sculpture;

  • to know the development of conceptual art in a broad sense, in relation to modern sculpture (20-21st centuries)

  • to know the sculptor’s role as an autonomous artist;

  • to know the sculptor’s role as an artist working on a commissioned monumental / public work;


  • to present your case, or part of your case in a pecha kucha presentation;

  • to present your case in a traditional presentation, or discussion, in class;

  • to prepare questions and a discussion in class, and to do the actual discussion itself with a visiting sculptor;

  • to write decent critical or historical texts;


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Research

  • Excursion

Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two seminars, provided they present a valid reason beforehand. Students who have missed more than two seminars will have to aply to the Examination Board of the Ma Arts and Culture in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course.

Assessment method


  • Two presentations (20%)

  • Literature exam (30%)

  • 2 Papers of 1500 / 3500 words (50%)


The final grade is the average of the three grades (20%, 40%, 50%). A student passes the class if the weighted average is a 6.0 or higher (marks under 5.0 are not allowed) and the paper is a 6.0 or higher.

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


There is a re-sit for every assessment.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • P. Curtis, Sculpture 1900-1940, Oxford 1999;

  • A. Causey, Sculpture since 1945, Oxford 1998;

  • Teeuwisse, Sculpture, An Apology (handed out)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. Since the course is taught on-site a maximum of 8 students is allowed to follow the course, so measures to prevent further spread of the coronavirus can be adhered to.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable



Official course information is communicated in Brightspace.