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New RKD Study ‘Masters of Mobility’ Published

The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History published Masters of Mobility this week. The new RKD Study is a collection of fourteen articles, written in response to the symposium of the same name, held in 2017, and which was organized by the RKD, the Rijksmuseum and Leiden University. In this RKD Study, prominent art historians shed new light on the cultural exchange between the Netherlands and German countries in the seventeenth century, as well as the reach of Dutch and Flemish artists. Several CODART members contributed to the publication, including Justus Lange, Rieke van Leeuwen, Gero Seelig and Anke van Wagenberg.

Cultural exchange

The two-day international symposium ‘Masters of Mobility, Cultural Exchange between the Netherlands and the German lands in the long 17th century’ was held on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Horst Gerson’s publication Ausbreitung und Nachwirkung der holländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts. In this groundbreaking work, art historian Horst Gerson (1907-1978), former director of the RKD, describes how the Netherlands made an important contribution to the development of art in other European regions in the seventeenth century. Art from the Netherlands – painting, printmaking and drawing, but also architecture, and sculpture – attained a very high general level and was in demand. The symposium focused on the cultural exchange between the Netherlands and the German countries in the seventeenth century.

Fourteen articles

The symposium resulted in the publication Masters of Mobility: a collection of fourteen new articles written by a selection of the speakers. Specialists from Belgium, Germany, the United States and the Netherlands discuss the different aspects of this interaction, such as the travel undertaken and routes followed by artists and art dealers, the education of artists, and the networks developed. In her contribution, RKD curator Rieke van Leeuwen examines the mobility of artists from the Netherlands, using the results of statistical research. Van Leeuwen also uses the database RKDartists& and RKD Maps, with which she can discover patterns in artists’ migrations. The article ‘Gerson’s ‘Ausbreitung’ and its Significance for the Study of Netherlandish Art in an International Context’ was written by Professor Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann. In his research, Kaufmann reflects on Gerson’s Ausbreitung, examining various aspects of the international context and the impact of Gerson’s work.

Gerson Digital

The symposium and RKD Study Masters of Mobility are part of Gerson Digital: Germany. The Gerson Digital project aims to bring out a new, English-language version of Horst Gerson’s 1942 publication, critically annotated and fully illustrated in a digital edition. This edition will be supplemented with new articles on the artistic exchange and transnational mobility of artists from the Low Countries in the early modern period. RKD Studies has already published five volumes: Poland, Germany I, Germany II, Denmark, and Italy. These parts and the complete Masters of Mobility collection can be found on the new redesigned webpages of RKD Studies.

Masters of Mobility is available through