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Rein Dool painting to move to more public space in the Academy Building

The Rein Dool painting depicting board members of Leiden University will be moving soon to the Reception Room in the Academy Building, where more people will be able to see it. The work will have a label and will also be part of temporary exhibitions of other works. Leiden University will also appoint a new Art and Debate Committee for the Academy Building.

The Executive Board reached this decision on 13 June following the commotion about the Rein Dool painting in the Grachtenkamer last autumn. Staff temporarily removed the work from the wall last November and placed it on the floor because they felt the painting, which only depicted men, some of whom were smoking, was not inclusive and dominated the meeting room. This caused an outcry inside and outside the university.

The Executive Board therefore appointed a painting committee headed by art historian Kitty Zijlmans, which advised the Board today that the work would benefit from a different setting and that a good, descriptive label should be provided. A public symposium for students and staff (and external guests) was also held on this matter on 26 May with the painting committee providing input. The Executive Board took the results of this into account in its decision.

Debates about art

An important aspect of the Zijlmans committee’s advice is to create an Art and Debate Committee for the Academy Building. This new committee will be the point of contact for questions about artworks and exhibitions at the university, and in the Academy Building in particular, and will be in touch with the faculty art committees. It will also be tasked with making proposals for the periodic reconfiguration of the building and, if possible, organising debates on art and its effects. The members of the committee will be announced this autumn. Finally, on the advice of the painting committee, the Academy Building’s Gewelfkamer will be set up as a debate and exhibition space.

Move this autumn

When the painting will move to the Reception Room (opposite the Great Auditorium) in the Academy Building is not yet known. It is expected to be this autumn because various preparations still need to be made.

Photo: Rob Dorresteijn

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