Netherlandish Art and the World

A conference on global art history

October 25-27, 2018, Utrecht University


Download the updated program and abstracts here (PDF)

The art of the Early Modern Netherlands was a global art in various dimensions. Paintings and prints were made for worldwide export; artists depicted foreign rarities; applied arts from Asia were imported on an industrial scale. Famous masters stood out for their interest in remote traditions, from Vermeer’s Chinese porcelain to Rembrandt’s Mughal miniatures and Rubens’s engagement with the worldwide Jesuit mission. This conference identifies and addresses some of the challenges and opportunities that Global Art History offers for the Low Countries.

Participants explore how artworks were more than illustrations of the interconnectedness of the Early Modern world, with Antwerp and Amsterdam as hubs of global exchange. Everyday lives changed as foreign luxuries became a household presence. Images of real and imagined foreigners circulated on an unprecedented scale. Travelers and scholars pondered unknown iconographies, which sometimes threatened to unsettle the Eurocentric perspective. To explore this global complexity, the conference discusses painting, print, and the applied arts; materials, techniques, and styles; meaning, interpretation, and consumption; and migration, markets, and collections.



An additional question is how the display and analysis of Dutch and Flemish art has developed into a worldwide phenomenon. The works’ visual language appeals to publics from Japan to Brazil. At the same time the material heritage that documents the entangled histories of the Netherlands and Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Australia is increasingly being foregrounded. What is the continuing relevance of Netherlandish art in a globalized world?


Day 1: Thursday, October 25

13:00-13:30 Welcome

13:30-15:00 Session I

Chair: Marjolijn Bol (Utrecht University)

Netherlandish Art and the World: Opening Remarks

Thijs Weststeijn (Utrecht University)

Rembrandt in Japan/Rembrandt on Japan

Akira Kofuku (National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo)

Remapping Dutch Art in Global Perspective: Three Meditations on Methodology

Julie Hochstrasser (University of Iowa)

15:00-15:30 Tea break

15:30-17:00 Session II

Chair: Sarah Moran (Utrecht University)

Searching for Stories: An Exhibition on Slavery in 2020

Eveline Sint Nicolaas (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

Gilt Leather between East and West

Eloy Koldeweij (Utrecht University)

Icons, Iconoclasm, Iconic Circuits: Netherlandish Sacred Art in the World

Benjamin Schmidt (University of Washington, Seattle)

17:00-17:30 Roundtable discussion chaired by Elizabeth Honig (University of California at Berkeley)


Day 2: Friday, October 26

9:00-10:30 Session III

Chair: Thijs Weststeijn (Utrecht University)

 Chinese historie ofte verthooning der keysers.’ Artistic Collaboration between the Dutch and Chinese in Batavia

Trude Dijkstra (University of Amsterdam)

Sir William Temple’s ‘Sharawadgi’ and its Epicurean-Stoic Provenance: A Dutch-English-Chinese Pleasure Shared

Yue Zhuang (University of Exeter)

Images of Europeans at the Qing Court during Qianlong’s Reign: A Study of Qing Imperial Illustrations of Tributaries

Sun Jing (Tsinghua University, Beijing)

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30 Session IV

Chair: Annemieke Hoogenboom (Utrecht University)

The Strange and Mysterious Case of Asian Painting

Elmer Kolfin (University of Amsterdam)

Porcelain Collecting Monkeys: The Case of A Genre Painting by Willem van Mieris

Junko Aono (Kyushu University, Fukuoka)

Representations of Dutch Vessels in Dutch and Japanese Paintings of the 17th and 18th Centuries

Michiko Fukaya (Kyoto City University of Arts)

12:30-13:30 Lunch break

13:30-15:00 Session V

Chair: Hanneke Grootenboer (Oxford University)

Dutch Imitations of Urushi Varnish in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Marjolijn Bol (Utrecht University)

Meaning in Material in 17th-Century Netherlandish Applied Arts Objects with Depictions of Africans

Charlotte Hoitsma (Utrecht University)

The Art of Describing Blackness

Claudia Swan (Northwestern University, Evanston)

15:00-15:30 Tea break

15:30-16:30 Session VI

Chair: Hanneke Grootenboer (Oxford University)

Flemish Prints in Mughal Albums

Ebba Koch (University of Vienna)

Did Rembrandt Copy those Mughal Miniatures for Himself – or for Someone Else?

Gary Schwartz (Independent Scholar, Maarssen)


Day 3: Saturday, October 27

 10:00-12:00 Session VII

Chair: Carrie Anderson (Middlebury College)

Mount Potosí in Antwerp: Mythological, Metallurgical, and Monetary Imagery in Rubens’s Arch of the Mint for the Entry of Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand (1635)

Christine Göttler (University of Bern)

Images of Brazil and the Tupinambás in Anti-Catholic Netherlandish Art during the Early Modern Period

Maria Berbara (Rio de Janeiro State University)

Mechelen, Mexico, Manila: Makers, Markets and the Making of the ‘Global’

Stephanie Porras (Tulane University, New Orleans)

From Ghent to Tenochtitlán and Back Again: The Circulation of Artworks from Pedro de Gante’s Workshop in the Sixteenth Century

Sarah Moran (Utrecht University)

12:00-13:00 Lunch break

13:00-14:00 Session VII

Chair: Thijs Weststeijn (Utrecht University)

The ‘Chinoiserie’ Prints of Pieter Schenk I and II as Sources for Dutch Interiors in Chinese Style, c. 1710-1740

Geert-Jan Janse (Utrecht University)

China and Europe, Original and Copy, Narrative and Fiction: Chinoiserie Prints at the Saxon Court

Cordula Bischoff (Technische Universität Dresden)

14:00-15:00 Roundtable discussion chaired by Julie Hochstrasser (University of Iowa)