Universiteit Leiden

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Gert Jan van der Sman


Dr. G.J.J. van der Sman
+31 71 527 2727

Gert Jan van der Sman is a visiting staff member at the Centre for the Arts in Society.

More information about Gert Jan van der Sman

Curriculum Vitae

Name and surname: Gert Jan (Gerardus Johannes Jacobus) van der Sman
Date of birth: 08-08-1961

Academic Qualifications

2007 Professor (Bijzonder hoogleraar), Leiden University
1993 PhD, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Leiden University Thesis: La decorazione a fresco delle ville venete del Cinquecento. Saggi di lettura stilistica ed iconografica
1986 Master of Arts, Leiden University
1984 Bachelor of Philosophy, Leiden University
1982 Bachelor of Arts, Leiden University

Teaching and Employment

October 2007-Present: Bijzonder hoogleraar, Leiden University Field: History of Drawing and Printmaking

September 1994-Present: Researcher, Head of the Library and “Submandataris”, Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell’Arte, Firenze, Italy

August 1989-August 1994: Research Associate, Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell’Arte, Firenze, Italy

January 1989-July 1989: Lecturer, Department of Art History, Leiden University

September 1986-December 1988: Research Fellow, Department of History & Civilization, European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy

September 1984-July 1986: Teaching Assistant of Prof. A.W.A. Boschloo, Department of Art History, Leiden University

Other professional experience

March 2005-July 2007: Project Manager, Digitization Project “The Special Photo Study Collections of the Dutch University Institute for Art History” (photographic archives of Hermann Voss, Benedict Nicolson, Luigi Magnaguagno: http://nikipics.library.uu.nl) with financial support of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
October 1997-December 1999: Project Manager, IRIS Automation Project Phase II, with financial support of the A.W. Mellon Foundation and Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze
1984: Music Teacher, Gemeentelijke Muziekschool Leiden (step-in basis)


- Secretary of IRIS, a consortium of research libraries in Florence
- Member of CODART, International council for curators of Dutch and Flemish Art
- Supervisor of the Catalogue of Netherlandish Drawings from the 15th and 16th Centuries in the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam

Fields of Interest

My personal approach to the study of the history of art is characterized by a variety of interests and working methods. In my scholarly work, I like to embark on projects with a interdisciplinary character. My dissertation investigated the relationship between the iconography of the fresco decorations in sixteenth-century villas in the Veneto region and the political ideals, social values and spheres of interest of the owners of the buildings. While working on my book on Prints and Printmaking in Renaissance Venice (2002-2003) I conducted archival research that allowed me to clarify the various forms of cooperation between print publishers, book publishers and poligrafi and their roles in the dissemination of images and ideas. The interplay between visual evidence and (unpublished) biographical sources is the leitmotiv of my recent book “Lorenzo and Giovanna. Timeless Art and Fleeting Lives in Renaissance Florence” (published in Dutch, English and Italian 2009-2010), that closely interweaves art history with a social and political narrative. Within the context of CAAS I am currently engaged in an interdisciplinary research project concerning the technical examination and the use of drawing materials in Early Modern Europe.

Other areas of study and fields of interest are:
- artistic and cultural exchange between Northern and Southern Europe
- the social life of the artist in Early Modern Europe 1400-1700


Teaching Activities

The development of fundamental art historical skills is at the heart of my current teaching activities at Leiden University. In cooperation with the staff of the Print Room I organize small-scale seminars on old master drawings and prints that create a highly stimulating learning atmosphere for students. I also organize exhibitions in order to enhance the visibilty of the rich collections of the Leiden University Print Room.


  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • KG Oude beeldende kunst

Work address

Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden



  • NIKI Senior Onderzoeker
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