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Modern and Contemporary Visual Art after 1800


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History/BA Arts, Media and Society.


This course will provide a broad and thorough overview of relevant artworks, artists and movements from 1840 to the present, which will form the basis for your studies in art history. Visual art of the Modern and Contemporary period is widely diverse. In order to make sense of this diversity, we will structure our exploration along themes, which run through both the art itself and the art historical research. Concepts such as romanticism, avant garde, expressionism, the sublime, realism, abstraction and modernism can be seen to run through art from the 1800s to the present. Current topics such as postmodernism, video art and the global art world will of course also make their appearance in the course. In addition to this, the discussion about the transition from ‘pre-modern’ to ‘modern’ art will play a role in our lectures. The traditional division of art into chronological movements, as often used in handbooks, will not be ignored, but a thematic approach will prove more useful in discussing the relationships.

Course objectives

  • Students get to know the most important artworks from the recent past and gain insight into the most studied questions in the field of modern and contemporary art.

  • Students learn to recognize and date objects from art history of the modern period, and to place these within stylistic, cultural and historical contexts.

  • Students develop a critical attitude towards art historical literature.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures.

Assessment method

  • Midterm exam: written exam with closed and open questions

  • Final exam: written exam with closed and open questions


  • Midterm exam: 50%

  • Final exam: 50%

The average of both exams has to be a 6.0 or higher (rounded off to one decimal point) in order to pass the course. Grades below 5.0 for either of the exams are not permitted. A grade between 5.0 and 5.5 for one of the exams can be compensated by the other grade; if you wish you can retake the exam in this case, but you do not have to. A grade below 5.0 always requires a resit.


For both exams a resit is possible; if you fail one exam you can retake just that one and if you fail both you can retake them both.

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

  • Fred S. Kleiner, Gardner’s Art through the Ages. A Global History 16th edition (or 15th edition), International Edition). Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2016. [ISBN-13: 9781285754994 / ISBN-10:1285754999]

  • Additional texts will be made available through Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

NB: First year students will be enrolled by the coordinator of studies. All other students need to contact the coordinator of studies to be enrolled for this course.

Registration Studeren à la Carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs