CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Italy and the Low Countries – Artistic Relations: The Sixteenth Century

31 March 2023

Italy and the Low Countries – Artistic Relations: The Sixteenth Century

Research Conference: 31 March 2023

Organized by Gert Jan van der Sman (NIKI, Florence)

At the beginning of the sixteenth century the visual arts in the Low Countries entered a period of transition due to the progressive assimilation of Italian styles. Furthermore, an increasing number of artists undertook a voyage to Italy to enrich their cultural baggage and improve their skills.

This conference seeks to address often overlooked aspects of the artistic exchange between Italy and the Netherlands during the Renaissance period. It will be shown that the crossovers between architecture, sculpture, painting and the applied arts were of great significance for the development of a new visual language and the emergence of a classicizing taste. Several painters used the knowledge of geometry and all’antica ornamentation to raise their status and to make themselves known as practitioners of a noble art. Picture framing also underwent significant changes following Italian models.

Special attention will furthermore be drawn to the city of Milan. Already in an early stage, the Sforza court highly valued the originality and technical perfection of Northern European art. In the 1570s Netherlandish artists produced some of the most spectacular stained-glass paintings in the Duomo in Milan, while at the end of the sixteenth century Jan Bruegel the Elder found in cardinal Federico Borromeo his most important patron. Jan’s stay in Italy was preceded by that of his father Pieter, who during his travels produced some of his finest drawings, such as the famous view of the Ripa Grande in Rome.


Due to the limited number of seats available registration is required and due until 10 March 2023. The registration fee for attendees is 15 euros and includes lunch included. Members of the Stichting Vrienden van het Kunsthistorisch Instituut in Florence register free of charge. Please register for this event by writing to Britt Kramer at