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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

The course provides an introduction to painting in the politically and religiously divided Netherlands during its so-called ‘Golden Age’. Drawing and printmaking are also touched upon. Its main focus is on the predominantly Protestant Northern Netherlands (Dutch Republic/United Provinces) but a significant number of classes are devoted to the influential Peter Paul Rubens, from the Spanish-ruled, Catholic south (now Belgium). Major Dutch artists covered include Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Ruisdael. Download Course Guide

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Mr John Gash

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Programme Level 3
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Either Art History (HA) or History (HI)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course provides a detailed introduction to Netherlandish painting during its so-called 'golden age'. Drawing and printmaking are also looked at. The great majority of the course deals with art in the Northern Netherlands, with the notable exception of Rubens, whose major stature, as well as his influence on many Dutch artists, including Rembrandt, warrants three seminars. Although much of Rubens's art enshrines the ideals of the Counter Reformation Roman Catholic Church, his work as a whole is deeply rooted in Netherlandish tradition and a Netherlandish milieu. The fluidity of the artistic situation is neatly conveyed by the career of Adriaen Brouwer who, though born in the South, worked mainly in Haarlem and Amsterdam, inventing a pungent new style of low-life genre that he later took back with him to Flanders, where it had an impact on David Teniers the Younger, court painter to the Catholic Archdukes in Brussels.

The course concentrates on leading figures (to several of whom it devotes anything between one and three classes), but also aims to give an accurate idea of the growing range of artistic genres that distinguish this period, especially in the Northern Netherlands (from landscape to the various sub-categories of genre painting).

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 written assignment of 3,000 words (30%); 1 visual-based test of one hour (20%)]; class participation (10%) and 1 two-hour written examination (40%).

Resit: 1 two-hour written examination (100%). NB: All coursework must have been submitted.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Feedback occurs at various stages of the course and at different levels. The two essays are returned with detailed comments both on the cover sheet and the body of the essay itself.

The lecturer's comments on student presentations in class are also designed to help students improve their skills. Students are encouraged to discuss their chosen essay topics in advance with the course convener.

Course Learning Outcomes


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