About the Institute

LUCAS aims to establish an interdisciplinary scholarly community that fosters a deep understanding of the power and dynamics of art and cultural objects in the past and present. In research and education, the institute contributes to an active understanding of and strives to be a stimulus for cultural literacy and the transference of culture.


Since its foundation in 1575, humanist interest in languages, literature, art and cultures has been Leiden University's core focus, and is now LUCAS’s core focus. This interest has transformed over the centuries into a study of culture in every region of the world. While LUCAS has accumulated a deep knowledge of European culture, it does not operate from a Eurocentric perspective. LUCAS firmly believes that to understand the arts is to study all human cultures and the interactions between them. 


The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) aims to be a prominent player in the research field of the arts (literature, art, architecture, media and design).

Key questions that concern LUCAS are the relationship between arts and society in the Western world and how Western art and culture relate to art and culture elsewhere. This research draws upon the rich collections of museums and institutions within and outside of Leiden.

LUCAS is one of the few research institutes in the world where experts in the field of literature, art and media collectively study the interrelation between art and society from a historical perspective from antiquity to the present day.

The Institute's research is subdivided in three time clusters:

Last Modified: 06-12-2016