Dutch Art of the Golden Age

Organizing institution
Utrecht University - Faculty of Humanities
Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
€ 1020.00
Apply now!
In this course you will embark on a fascinating journey where nothing is what it seems: an innocent bouquet of flowers hides a forbidden religious message, a happy family, where everyone is singing and laughing, turns out to be a warning against an undisciplined lifestyle, and a gorgeously dressed couple locked in a calm embrace are actually rigid with heart-breaking melancholy. Upon completion of this highly interactive course you will have gained a profound insight into the many layers of these seemingly realistic artworks, the true meaning of which critics do not agree about to this very day.
"Nice clouds,” critics would say, “But really, it isn’t quite art with a capital A, is it?” Until recently, Dutch Art of the Golden Age was seen as technically good, but not very interesting. It was just too realistic, where was the artistic imagination?Today, this opinion on Dutch art has changed and the value of Golden Age artworks has soared.
Is there a meaning behind all these landscapes, seascapes, portraits and still lifes that look so real that you can feel the sea-breeze and smell the grapes? During this course you will find out what makes the Dutch Golden Age so unique. Of course you will learn all about the famous masters, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals for example, but there is much more to discover! Besides painters, there also were architects, gold- and silversmiths, engravers, etc. who contributed to the fame of this age with their innovative artworks. And how did the trade with Asia influence the arts?

Upon completion of this highly interactive course, you will have seen many highlights from the 16th and 17th century, you will be able to recognize the main artists, you have become confident in recognizing, discussing and analyzing a modern Dutch artwork and sharing your ideas with your peers.

Join us on this interactive journey, with daily excursions. Travel and entrance to museums are included in the course fee.
Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Anna Koldeweij, MA

Course aim

This course gives students a broad overview of Dutch Art of the 16th and 17th century through the exploration of culture, daily life, academic approaches, excursions and case-studies.

Study load

Approximately 40 contact hours.

The course combines many elements, from lectures to excursions: no day is the same.

Typically, the morning part of the programme takes place in a classroom, which could be a lecture, or a seminar where you ask questions and explore the topic in the group. You may also find yourself in a panel discussion, defending a particular approach to art.

The afternoons (sometimes the entire day) are devoted to museum visits. Variation is ensured by going into the museum with a tour, in small groups or on your own with an assignment other times by spontaneous discussion.

During these excursions, we devote time to both the factual and technical aspects of the painting, as well as the more personal and subjective ones, so that by the end, you will have explored the paintings in many dynamic ways. Hidden meanings, unexpected techniques, your peers’ opinions or your own may surprise you and change and broaden your perception of the artworks again and again.


Course fee
€ 1020.00
Housing fee
€ 350.00

Housing through Utrecht Summer School

More information

Utrecht Summer School
+31 30 253 4400


Application deadline: 01 July 2019