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Arts and Culture: Art and Architecture before 1800

The specialisation “Art and Architecture before 1800” is part of the Master Arts and Culture

You will study visual art and visual culture from the Middle Ages to 1800. Another focus is on architectural history from the perspective of the architects, their designs and the way in which their work is implemented. Central themes are the role of patrons, the public and how the public responds to architecture, the built environment and visual arts.

This specialisation has three key themes that are offered only in Leiden in this configuration:

  • The interaction between Italy, France and the Low Countries from 1500 – 1800 in the visual arts

  • The interaction between the arts, primarily between painting and sculpture and their architectonic context

  • Architecture theory, where thinking about the impact of buildings on the public is key, as in classical rhetoric or the sublime

The structure of the programme is the following:

  • Practices and Debates (5 EC)

  • Two Research Seminars (20 EC) from the specialisation ‘Art and Architecture before 1800’

  • Free Component (10 EC)

  • Thesis Seminar (5 EC)

  • Thesis (20 EC)


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Obligatory courses

Practices and Debates in Art History 5
Thesis Seminar Arts and Culture 5
Free Component 10
MA Thesis Arts and Culture 20

Choose two of the following research seminars

Heavenly and Earthly Love in the Art and Literature of the Middle Ages from 1100 to 1500 10
Travelling Architects 10
Sustainable and Ecological Architecture in the 21st Century and its Roots 10
Medieval and Early Modern Studies: Paris c. 1750, the Birth of the Modern Art World 10

Free Component (10 EC)

You can choose any course offered within the MA Arts and Culture, a course on an Arts and Culture subject taught in another MA or an approved Internship.

Internship Arts and Culture 10
Interculturality 1: Key Concepts 10
The Sculptor at Work: Sculpture, Techniques and Meanings 10

More info

Course objectives

  • to enable students to acquire academic knowledge, understanding and skills, and train them in the use of scientific methods in the field of Arts and Culture in general, and in particular with regard to the chosen specialisation;

  • to enable students to develop the following academic and professional skills:

    • independent academic reasoning and conduct,
    • the ability to analyse complex problems,
    • academic reporting;
  • to prepare students for an academic career and further education;

  • to prepare students for a career outside academia.


The structure of the programme is the following:

  • Practices and Debates (5 credits);

  • Two Research Seminars from the chosen specialisation in the master’s programme in Arts and Culture (20 credits);

  • Free Component (10 credits);

  • Thesis Seminar (5 credits);

  • Thesis (20 credits).

Full-time and part-time

The programme consits of 60 EC, to be completed in one year.
Part-time students complete the programme in 1,5 years, they will have a course load of 20 EC per semester. Courses are scheduled during office hours.

Requirements for graduation:

Requirements for graduation are:

  • Successful completion of courses, following the structure of the programme (40 EC)

  • Successful completion of MA Thesis (20 EC)

Students need to complete at least 45 EC within their field of specialization:

  • 2 Research seminars in field of specialisation (20 EC);

  • Thesis seminar (5 EC);

  • Thesis (20 EC).


The specialisations are:

  • Art and Architecture before 1800

  • Museums and Collections

  • Art of the Contemporary World and World Art Studies

  • Design, Culture and Society