CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

3 PhD Positions at University of Utrecht/University of Amsterdam

Utrecht University, Faculty of Arts and the Humanities

The Research Institute for History and Culture in collaboration with
the University of Amsterdam and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam offers one
full-time PhD position (project 1) and two part-time PhD positions
(project 2) within the research project “The Impact of Oil: A History of Oil painting in the Low Countries and the Consequences for the Visual Arts, 1350-1550.”

Deadline for applications: 15th october 2007

Announcement by Ann Sophie Lehmann , 25 Sep 2007 on H-ARTHIST (Humanities-Net Discussion List for Art History)

Job description

This research project, financed by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) investigates the history and effects of the (re-)introduction of oil based media in the painter’s workshop between 1350-1550. Particular attention is paid to the relation between painting techniques and the pictorial grammar of emerging visual realism, and the impact of oil on other artistic genres and art theoretical discourses (for the full project description, individual projects and the members of the research team, go to

Project 1 (full time PhD)

The Eyckian turning-point: technical and stylistic innovations in oil painting 1410-1490

Even though oil paint was in use long before 1400, the revolutionary use of the medium by the Van Eycks and their contemporaries started a fascinating process in which oil painting techniques disseminated from the Low Countries to regions all over Europe. Parallel to the introduction of the new medium, particular pictorial motifs and effects (e.g. panoramic views, reflections, meticulous rendering of materials like brocade, hair etc.) migrated from the Low Countries to Italian, Spanish and German workshops. In some cases, medium and motif traveled together, in others, the visual effect of oil was emulated using other methods.

The PhD will investigate and describe the possible relation between the oil medium, specific painting techniques and (some) pictorial motifs during the period of 1410-1490. The research combines a historiographical approach with the exploration of available technical research, written sources on painting techniques and early modern art theoretical sources.

The PhD will fully participate within the research group of the project, consisting of two other PhD’s, one Post-Doc, and four senior researchers. This involves regular meetings with the group, contribution to the project database (A compendium of sources about workshop practices related to painting with oil-based media in the Netherlands up to 1600), teamwork on specific topics (i.e. technical investigation of particular paintings), and some administrative and coordination tasks (i.e. for project conferences).

Project 2 (two half time PhD research-restorers)

New visions, new methods. Changes in the craft of oil painting in the Low Countries, 1430-1500 and 1500-1540

In this project, innovative and traditional aspects of the pictorial and technical vocabulary of the period around 1500 will be studied through the investigation of a corpus of ca. 25 carefully chosen key works in European public collections. Technical examination of the paintings in situ is preferably carried out with non-destructive methods. However, it is the express intention to determine differences in the sequence and structure of paint layers in order to explain diversity, changes and evolution in the technical approaches towards specific pictorial effects and motives. The goal of this project is to provide a better understanding of the development and changes in pictorial realism from the Van Eyck’s to the generation of the Bruegel’s on the grounds of technical research.

The two PhD’s will perform technical investigation of the paintings together with members of the research-team and meet regularly with all members to discuss their findings. They will select, collect and analyze data, and add to the project database (A compendium of sources about workshop practices related to painting with oil-based media in the Netherlands up to 1600). Both dissertations will be devoted to aspects of the development of the craft of oil painting in the Low Countries, one for the period 1430-1500 and the other for the period 1500-1540, based on the results of the technical research of specific works. The precise scope of the individual projects will be fixed in dialogue with the candidates within a year after their nomination.


Project 1
We are looking for an excellent and dedicated researcher in the possession of a master’s degree in the field of Art History. The candidate must be able to demonstrate knowledge of the relevant period, early modern art theory, and technical art history. The successful applicant is able to synthesize detailed results within the broader scope of the project and has sufficient passive knowledge of the languages relevant to the study of the regions and period.

Project 2
We are looking for two excellent and dedicated researchers in the possession of a Master’s Degree or equivalent training in restoration (i.e. SRAL). Candidates must have some experience with technical research, and can demonstrate art historical knowledge of the relevant period as well as capacity to do historical research.


Terms of employment

The salary for a PhD starts at € 1,956.- in the first year to € 2,502.- in the fourth year gross per month on a full-time basis.

Project 1
We offer a full-time PhD contract for one year starting 1 January 2008. After a positive evaluation the contract can be extended to a maximum of four years. The PhD candidate is required to finish the PhD thesis within the four-year period. The PhD will be based in Utrecht at the Research Institute for History and Culture (OGC), home to over 300 national and international researchers in the historical city centre (for more general information see

Project 2
We offer a half time PhD contract with the University of Amsterdam for one year starting 1 January 2008. After a positive evaluation the contract can be extended to a maximum of five years. The PhD candidates are required to finish the PhD thesis within the five-year period. Both PhD’s will be based at the new Amsterdam University/ Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Research facilities.

Further details

For further information about the PhD position of project 1 please contact prof. Jeroen Stumpel ( or dr. Ann- Sophie Lehmann (

For further information regarding the PhD positions of project 2 please contact prof. Jan Piet Filedt Kok (

You can also look at

How to apply

The deadline for applications for all positions is October 15th 2007.

The interviews will take place in Utrecht on November 7th and 8th 2007. The application consists of a letter stating your qualifications and suitability for the position. Please include a full curriculum vitae, certified copies of relevant diploma’s, a transcript of academic results, a copy of the Master thesis example(s) of published work, and contact details of two referees (names, affiliations, phone number and e-mail addresses). Please mark your application with the number 68739-project 1 or 68739-project 2 of the position advertised.

Please send your application and your MA thesis in digital form to the e-mail address

Please send publications separately in print form to mrs. M. Kluver
Personeel en Organisatie, faculteit Geesteswetenschappen
Kromme Nieuwegracht 46
NL-3512 HJ Utrecht
The Netherlands