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Artistic Propaganda: the sublime and the arts in 17th-century Paris and Holland


This course is an Honours Class and therefore only available for students of an honours college.

Enrolling in this course is possible until the 15th of November, using the link at ‘registration’ during this period.

For this class there will be additional costs (about € 150,- – € 200,- ) for the excursion to Paris


In 17th-century Paris and Amsterdam architecture, the visual arts and the theatre were used on an unprecedented scale as part of political and religious propaganda. Louis XIV built Versailles and the Invalides to demonstrate the superiority of his rule and squash dissident voices; in Amsterdam the new town hall was presented as a miracle, embodying the triumph of the young Dutch Republic, and in The Hague the Orange princes set up court patronage on a scale to equal the French court. In both countries the sublime was used as a new way of overwhelming the viewer and thus became a major instrument of political propaganda.
In this Honours Class we will study the actors involved in this new public use of the arts, and analyse the major works in seminars and excursions. The Class is open to students from all disciplines, and does not require previous art-historical expertise. It is presented in cooperation with the Ecole du Louvre in Paris.


Intensive one-week summer (Thursday – Wednesday, including the weekend) course that will take places in Leiden as well as Paris. The first part of the week, the class will be situated in Leiden. Students from Leiden University and Ecole du Louvre (Paris) first will follow lectures and in-depth seminars in the morning and excursions (for example to the Rijksmuseum and the Royal Palace in Amsterdam) in the afternoon. Halfway the week all the students will travel to Paris, where they will have lectures at Ecole du Louvre and visit amongst others the Louvre and Versailles.
It’s important to realise that you have to be fully available for the Honours Class during this week.


Summer – One week from Thursday 30 June until Wednesday 6 July (including the weekend).


Leiden University: Old Observatory, Sterrenwachtlaan 11
Ecole du Louvre: Paris

Assessment method

Active participation, written report

Maximum number of students



Enrolling in this course is possible until 15 November via this link .

For this class there will be additional costs (about € 150,— € 200,- ) for the excursion to Paris


Prof.dr. C.A. van Eck