NIKI/OSK Winterschool 2022


OSK Winter School: From Maecenas to CEO? Recent research on artistic patronage

Date: 9-22 January 2023. (Arrival 9 January, Date of departure 22 January). Preparatory meeting on December 9, exact time tbc.
Venue: NIKI – Florence, Italy
Open to: RMa students and PhD candidates in Art and Architectural History, max. 15 participants. RMa students have precedence over PhD candidates
Credits: 6 EC
Instruction language: English
Convenors: Dr Arno Witte (University of Amsterdam) & Dr Gert Jan van der Sman (NIKI)
Coordination: OSK (
Fees: (See below)
Registration: Via website and send a CV and short letter of motivation to | Registration will open on September 1st.

Deadline for application is November 1, 2022. Students will be informed about admittance no later than November 10.


In art history and adjacent fields, the paradigm of the artist as a freely creating individual is increasingly questioned; at the same time, the role of private patrons as supporters of cultural institutions has become paramount – see the role of people like Pinault in their support of artists such as Damien Hirst, which seems to emulate or even surpass the role of the Medici in the Renaissance.

In art history, the study of this field can be traced back to Francis Haskell’s classic 1963 study Patrons and Painters. He defined a number of basic questions – is a patron genuinely interested in art, did his/her involvement determine the development of certain styles, and does he have taste? – and the main approach – archival research in search for documents that illustrate the relations between patron and artist. Almost sixty years on, the field has seen quite a few developments: it has tapped into theories from other disciplines such as sociology, ethnology, psychology and economy. This significantly broadened the set of issues and possibilities that can be explored by means of this approach. Questions of gender and class, and the issue of individual versus collective have become incorporated. This Winterschool will explore the interdisciplinary potential of the approach and the inspiration art history and related fields such as musicology can draw from it. This course will consist of theoretical reflections combined with select case studies in Florence and Rome from the early modern period to the present day, which will allow for an exploration of recent contributions to the debate, and how these can be applied to both the past and the present.

Practicalities: Participation in the OSK-NIKI RMA Winter School is open to all students enrolled in a Research Master Program or PhD program at a Dutch University. The number of participants is limited to 15. RMa students have precedence over PhD candidates. Deadline for application is November 1, 2022. Students will be informed about admittance no later than November 10. Students are expected to attend all seminars and lectures and read and analyze the texts in advance.

There is no course fee. All students will be offered free housing at the NIKI (rooms are for 2 persons, shared dining room, kitchen, bathrooms and toilets). Students who are registered with OSK will be offered a travel grant of €75. Students are responsible for booking a flight themselves. The travel grant will be paid after delivering a successful paper and presentation. Make sure to keep your (digital) ticket and proofs of payment, without them the grant cannot be paid.

Credits: 6 EC (possibility to expand), to receive after delivering a successful paper and presentation. Students have to check with their home university themselves whether the transfer of credits for this course is accepted. OSK will provide a testimonial of work load and EC.

Note: The programme may be subject to changes due to developments with regard to the COVID-19 crisis.