Research profile

The NIKI develops its own research projects and has built up internationally recognised expertise in three areas of interest in the early modern period: Italian art, the artistic relations between the Netherlands and Italy and the history of drawing and printmaking.

Our scientific staff are regular guest curators of exhibitions and contribute to scientific publications and congresses.

Ongoing projects

Repertory of Dutch and Flemish paintings in Italian Public Collections

Region-by-region, scientific planning, analysis and access to the more than 10.000 Dutch and Flemish paintings in Italian public ownership. Cultural heritage that was exported to Italy or produced there on the spot will be made accessible and recorded in words and images for international science and a wider public in an English-language publication by region.

Part I is devoted to the region of Liguria. With 441 paintings, it was published in 1998.
Part II, with 909 paintings in Lombardy, appeared in two separate volumes in 2001-2002.
Part III, devoted to Piedmont, with 1063 paintings, appeared in 2012.
Part IV on Tuscany is under preparation, the expected publication date is 2021-2022.

The Dutch cemetery in Livorno (in cooperation with the Dutch embassy in Rome)

One of the oldest Dutch cemeteries in the Mediterranean is in the harbour town of Livorno. The cemetery is particularly rich in historical burial monuments. Thanks to the support of the Dutch Embassy, a restoration campaign will be launched in 2020 to safeguard this unique heritage for the future. At the same time, the NIKI is launching an interdisciplinary study on the history of this cemetery, focusing in particular on the role of the Dutch community in Livorno in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Internships for (research) master’s students are available within this project. The emphasis must be on source research in Italian archives and libraries, complemented by research in the Netherlands. The NIKI serves as a base for the research to be carried out in Florence and Livorno. For more information, please contact:

Photographic archive Magnaguagno

Between 1965 and 1995 the Italian art dealer Luigi Magnaguagno collected an impressive amount of visual material about more than a thousand Dutch and Flemish painters from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. This archive was acquired by the NIKI in 1996. The aim of the project is the scientific unlocking of the richly variegated visual material.

Internships for (research) master’s students are available within this project. Students acquire specific knowledge about the history of Dutch and Flemish painters from the period 1450-1700, are familiarised with attribution issues, provenance research and iconographic issues, and are introduced to international standards for (digital) information processing.

The internship is ideally suited for students who want to link their interest in Dutch art to working in an international academic environment.

For more information and applications contact:

ICG Fellow: Prints and drawings

The Istituto Centrale per la Grafica (ICG) in Rome provides funds for experienced art historians to carry out research at the NIKI for the digital accessibility of the ICG’s permanent collection of prints and drawings.

Individual research

The NIKI is open to individual research that falls outside our projects, for example in the field of material-technical research and the restoration of artworks, Dutch-Italian relations, design, architecture, cultural history etc. We like to think along with you about subjects and perspectives. Individual researchers with their own thesis subject or research project are encouraged to make use of our research facilities. We can also mediate and bring students into contact with other institutes. Students and (future) PhD students from the participating universities may be eligible for a grant from the Foundation Friends of the Institute for Art History in Florence. The NIKI fellowships are available for excellent foreign PhD students or postdocs to stay at the institute and conduct their own research.

Scholar-in-residence / Visiting Professor

Intended for renowned researchers in the humanities. The suitable candidate has an excellent international reputation in a field that matches our research profile.

We offer:

We require the researcher to:

You may express your interest to the director at least six months before the starting date. Please also indicate the desired duration of your stay.

We would like to receive your application letter with CV, a project proposal (max 3 pp.) and the names of two colleagues from whom references can be obtained.

Selection criteria are: relevance of the research topic, originality and feasibility of the proposal, motivation for stay, quality and structure of the work plan, potential contribution to the NIKI education.

Applications may be sent to the Director by e-mail on a continuous basis. Based on the criteria, the Director will advise the Chair and two members of the Institute’s Scientific Board (WAR) who will form the selection committee. The Director will inform the candidate of the outcome within one month of receipt of the application.

NWIB Visiting Professors Programme

The NWIB Visiting Professors Programme offers assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors at participating universities a unique opportunity to work undisturbed in an inspiring and stimulating environment. This programme enables you to stay at one of the five Netherlands Scientific Institutes Abroad (NWIBs) for a period of three months to conduct research, give lectures and contribute to the intellectual climate at the Institute.

Up until today, the following researchers have resided as scholar-in-residence and NWIB visiting professors at the NIKI:

The upcoming scholars-in-residence are:


There are many publications provided or made possible by the NIKI by Dutch and foreign researchers and scholars who stayed at the institute for research or participation in symposiums.

In 1983 we created our own publication series, with the monumental Repertory of Dutch and Flemish Paintings in Italian Public Collections Furthermore, we published congress collections, exhibition catalogues and other scientific publications. Until 2014 this series was published by Centro Di (Florence).
Since 2015 our own publications have appeared in the series:

NIKI Studies in Netherlands-Italian Art History, published by Brill (Leiden). The series contains collections of articles and monographs on Italian art as well as Dutch and Flemish art and artists in Italy. Particular emphasis is put on the artistic exchange and mutual influence between Italy and the Low Countries.

Various titles can be ordered directly from the NIKI by sending an e-mail to:

Conferences and lectures

The NIKI regularly organises lectures and multi-day international conferences.

In addition to the lectures and symposiums in Florence, we organise the annual NIKI symposium ‘Italy and the Netherlands. Artistic interactions’ in collaboration with lecturers and researchers from the participating universities, colleagues from the RDK in The Hague or museum institutions such as the Rijksmuseum and Teylers Museum, relying on Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht as permanent venue.

In the Netherlands, we make substantive contributions to symposiums organised by partner universities, the Dutch National Research School for Art History (OSK) and Dutch museums.

Hybrid lecture: “Perugino and the Management of Styles: ‘Andrea d’Assisi’ Reconsidered” on November 7, 2023 at 6PM

On behalf of the Director of the Netherlands Interuniversity Institute for Art History (NIKI), Michael W. Kwakkelstein, we have the pleasure to invite you to the lecture by our scholar-in-residence, Takuma Ito (Associate Professor, Renaissance Art History, Kyushu University, Japan), entitled “Perugino and the Management of Styles: ‘Andrea d’Assisi’ Reconsidered”.

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Dutch Alumni Event in Rome & Milan (8-9 November 2023) 

The collaborating Dutch universities: Leiden University, Utrecht University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), along with the Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence (NIKI) invite alumni from these universities to attend an evening of academic discussion and networking.

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Hybrid conference ”Artists’ Workshop Practice in the Renaissance” on 20-21 September 2023

The conference focuses on the Italian Renaissance artists’ workshop practice. While many scholars consider the work made in artists’ workshops and much recent scholarship seeks to attribute the outputs of the assistants of well-known painters and sculptors, there are still many questions concerning quotidian life in the workshop that have attracted little scholarly attention, and about which we know very little – or practically nothing.

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Lecture: “From Decorated Armor to Collectible Paper: the Beginning of the Printed Etching” on May 30, 2023 at 6PM

The Director of the Netherlands Interuniversity Institute for Art History (NIKI), Michael W. Kwakkelstein, in partnership with the Director of Art in Tuscany, Alessandra Baroni, has the pleasure to invite you to the lecture by Nadine Orenstein (Drue Heinz Curator in Charge, Department of Drawings and Print, The Metropolitan Museum), entitled “From Decorated Armor to Collectible Paper: the Beginning of Printed Etching”.

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