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HA2B1 - The Spaces of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting

  • Module code: HA2B1
  • Module name: The Spaces of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting
  • Department: History of Art
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

This course aims to familiarise students with the new subjects, styles and genres of painting which emerged in the newly-independent Dutch Republic during the seventeenth century. Focusing on imagery of everyday life – chiefly genre scenes, townscapes and still life paintings – the module will look at how artists pictured the interior, exterior and colonial spaces in which a new Protestant, middle-class public emerged between c.1600 and 1680. We will look at how these paintings dealt with issues relating to representation and realism, national, civic and artistic identity, gender and sexuality, and commerce and colonialism. As well as examining the role of painting in forming the identities and ideologies which forged a Dutch middle-class society, students will also be asked to consider the impact which this process had on the form and status of painting itself. Artist studied may include Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Adrien Brouwer, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Frans Hals, Gerit Dou, Gabriel Metsu, Samuel van Hoogstraten and Pieter Saenredam.

Principal learning outcomes

The module will equip students with the critical tools with which to analyse a wide range of objects and images, and to be able to place the latter within a historical and theoretical context. This module will familiarise students with the nature of debate, genre, and terminology of art when focused on a specific period and location. It thereby provides fundamental grounding for further specialist study in the students’ final year

Timetabled teaching activities

1 x 1œ-hour seminar per week

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: HA2B1-15)
C1 (Assessed/examined work) 2000 word essay 40%
  Spoken engagement 10%
  1 hour examination 50%
VA (Visiting students only) 100% assessment (part year) visiting 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate History of Art with Italian (V3R3) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate History of Art (V401) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate History of Art (V41P) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate History of Art (V41P) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate History of Art (V41P) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate History of Art (V41P) - Year 5
  • Undergraduate History of Art (V41P) - Year 6
  • Undergraduate History of Art (V41P) - Year 7
  • Undergraduate History of Art (V41P) - Year 8