Universiteit Leiden

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Subject guide


Leiden University owns extensive collections of portraits. These include around a hundred painted portraits of scholars, librarians and professors and around 30,000 prints of scholars, politicians, rulers, artists, writers and other persons of fame. A smaller partial collection is that of writers, belonging to the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (MNL). Portrait prints are included in the main collections as well, where they are inserted under the artist’s name.

  • 30,000 portraits of Europeans
  • About a hundred painted portraits of scholars and professors

Portraits that have been filed in the main collections of prints and drawings can be found in the Catalogue by selecting Prints under Material Type in the Advanced Search and can be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room. Paintings can be found in the Catalogue by selecting Paintings under Material Type in the Advanced Search. Paintings are as a rule physically not accessible, due to their fragile condition. The portrait prints are not yet accessible through the online catalogue but can be applied for through the Request uncatalogued material form, to be found in the Special Collections tab in the Catalogue, using the sitter’s name as a search tag. For exceptions, please consult the staff in the Reading Room.

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