Symbolism in art A

N.B. This course is taught in Dutch.

The Symbolism A, B and C courses can be taken separately (in any order).


In this course on symbolism in art, you will learn all about the meaning of symbols and different objects and figures within art history. That the man with long beard and loincloth on the cross represents Jesus Christ, most people know. Slightly less known is the ointment jar, from which Mary Magdalene can be identified. And if we see an eagle, is it about the Greek god Zeus, the evangelist John or a glorification of a Roman emperor? Are the oranges in the Arnolfini Couple a sign of fertility or wealth? And is Vermeer's Milkmaid an innocent still life of a human being or a symbol of love and eroticism? This course will cover it all. You will learn to recognise the most important symbols, personifications, allegories and allusions. This will give you tools for viewing Christian, mythological and secular art.


In Symbolism in Art A, each lesson we dive into the symbolism of a specific subject or theme. Among other things, we discuss the Annunciation, Nativity and Crucifixion scenes, as well as recognising personifications and allegories; we zoom deep into each object of the Arnolfiniportrait and we see love symbolism in the Golden Age. The Symbolism in Art B course again covers six new themes. So the courses can be taken independently and in any order.


How does that work online?

You follow this lecture online from your own computer or tablet. All you need is a good internet connection and sound. Lecturer and images will automatically appear on your screen. If you cannot attend 'live', you can watch the replay of the lesson another time.


Free trial lesson

Want to know if this course and taking it online is for you? You can join lesson 1 of this course as a free trial lesson without any obligations. You can register for this free trial lesson directly via this link.

Course details

6x Wednesday evenings, start 2 October
02/10/202419:30 - 21:30
09/10/202419:30 - 21:30
16/10/202419:30 - 21:30
23/10/202419:30 - 21:30
30/10/202419:30 - 21:30
06/11/202419:30 - 21:30
Registration closes 20 October

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Reviews of this course

Took the courses Symbolism and Introduction to Art History. Both are among the top art history courses I took from various providers in recent years. Great lecturer. Extremely enjoyable storytelling style. I mainly use the "look back mode" and then enjoy using the summary with it. Look forward to follow-up courses.
About Symbolism in art A
Hanneke is a really nice, enthusiastic teacher. She can tell very interesting and clear stories, using easy words when possible and difficult words when necessary. Her narration is always clear and structured, and I will sign up for her next course in no time.
About Introduction to art history

Lecturer of this course

Hanneke Lenders

Hanneke Lenders

Art historian Hanneke Lenders is one of KLU's lecturers as well as its manager. Her specialism is originally in early Christian art and late medieval prayer books, but over the years she has added other loves such as Mondriaan and modernist architecture. Hanneke teaches several courses for beginners such as the course Introduction to Art History. So she is the one who will guide you through the whole history of art.

Recommended literature

Should you wish to delve further into the subject of this course, we recommend the following books. This is not compulsory literature for the course.