The patronage of the arts is an important subject in contemporary discourses on cultural policy in Europe and beyond, but already from the 1960s it became a theme of study for both art historians and literary historians. Since then it has become clear that the study of patronage and of patron-artist relationships offers exciting insight into the dynamics of the creation, distribution and evaluation of art, literature and music. At the start, especially the arts from the Renaissance to the late Baroque were studied, but more recently also the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have attracted the attention of scholars. This suggests that this is a well-defined field, but in fact, the issues involved are varied and some of these are still a point of debate. On a methodological level, the distinction between patronage and other forms of involvement with the arts (such as collecting, ‘mecenatismo’, commissioning, and active participation or co-creation) is often unclear; on a conceptual level, scholars debate whether ‘giving’ can ever be wholly or even partially disinterested; on a theoretical level, sociological views on the function of patronage clash with powerful theories of giving prevalent in cultural economics, anthropology and cultural studies; on a disciplinary level, the involvement of the patron with the artistic process is an important theme, while from a moral point of view, the past is often contrasted with the present as a virtuous example to be followed by present-day big donors and CEO’s. But why is patronage such a constant factor in history, and is there a relation between the historical Maecenas and the present-day ‘mecenati’? In this course, intended for students of art history, literary studies and related fields such as musicology, these methodological issues will be discussed and contrasted with major examples of artistic patronage in Rome, from Classical Antiquity to the present day.
dr. Arnold Witte (KNIR), dr. Helleke van den Braber (RU Nijmegen) and guest lecturers
Target group and admission
The course is open to a maximum of 12 selected students in art history, cultural studies, history, heritage studies, or related disciplines at MA, RMA or PhD level from KNIR partner universities (Universiteit van Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Universiteit Leiden, Universiteit Utrecht, Radboud Universiteit, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen).
Course format and assignments
The course is organized by and hosted at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR). It consists of a two-week intensive seminar period in Rome, with lectures, on-site visits and discussions. During the seminar, each participant delivers an oral presentation in situ on a subject of her/his choice. Before and after the seminar participating students work independently on two written assignments:
– a written preparatory assignment (1.500 words), deadline 19 April 2019
– a concluding essay (5.000 words), deadline 31 May 2019
Credits and assessment
The study load is the equivalent of 6 ECTS (168 hours). Each student should arrange with his/her home coordinator whether the course can be a part of the existing curriculum. After successful completion of the course the KNIR provides a certificate mentioning study load and evaluation.
The study load is based on:
a) Before the seminar in Rome, introductory meeting and independent study of course material and preparatory assignment: 1 ECTS (28 hours)
b) Intensive seminar in Rome (14 days): active participation, oral presentation and essay proposal: 4 ECTS (112 hours)
c) After the seminar: essay of 5.000 words: 1 ECTS (28 hours)
Assessment takes place on the basis of preparatory assignment, based on the study of course material (20%), active participation and on-site presentation (30%), and the concluding essay (50%).
Once students have been selected for the course, they will receive a list of the required reading.
Tuition and lodging at the KNIR is free for selected participants from the above mentioned Dutch universities. Personal expenses, including meals, are not included. Students receive a €100 reimbursement of their expenses for travelling to Rome after submission of their final essay.
Facilities in Rome
All participants will be housed at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome’s Villa Borghese Park. From there, it is only a short walk to the historical center of Rome. The KNIR accommodation consists of shared bedrooms and bathrooms, and includes a living and dining space, a large kitchen, washing machine and wireless internet. All residents have 24/7 access to the library and gardens of the Royal Netherlands Institute.
1 February 2019 via the website, submitting a motivation letter, a recent C.V. and an updated overview of study results.