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dr. Ivo Blom

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Art and Culture, History, Antiquity

Assistant Professor, CLUE+

Personal information

Office hours: mostly Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, not on Fridays.  

Office is closed flex-working space, so use email to make an appointment. September-December I don't teach, but you can reach me via email. 


Research interests
film history, film theory, intermediality, comparative arts & media studies, film & art, film & architecture, film & graphic design, museum studies, exhibition studies, film distribution & exhibition, early cinema, cinema & Antiquity, Italian cinema. 


Presently, I am involved as Co-I in the British Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research project Museum of Dreams: Silent Antiquity Films in the British National Film Archive (October 2023-26), submitted by Prof Maria Wyke (University College London), with myself (Arts & Culture, VU), Aylin Atacan (UCL) and Bryony Dixon (BFI) as Co-I, and in collaboration with various European film archives, UCL's technical staff, and a focus group from various disciplines. The project will establish a better understanding of both the modern reception of classical antiquity and the transnational history and cultural status of silent cinema. By focusing on the BFI holdings and comparing them with those surviving in other, mainly European archives such as Eye Filmmuseum (Amsterdam), the project will situate the UK firmly within the global network that produced, distributed, exhibited, consumed, and curated the classical antiquity films of the early 20th century, and establish for those films an important educational legacy in the 21st century. Various workshops, a comprehensive relational database, a final conference, an exhibition, and educational offsprings are forthcoming.

Related to this is my latest book. December 2020 I was granted a Research Fellowship by NIAS (Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study for the Humanities and Social Sciences). Between September 2021 and January 2022 I have thus worked on the manuscript of my latest monograph, Quo vadis?, Cabiria and the 'Archaeologists': Early Italian Cinema’s Appropriation of Art and Archaeology. It has been published in October 2023 by Kaplan, Turin, within the series ‘La favilla, la vampa, la cenere’, edited by Silvio Alovisio and Luca Mazzei. The book has been presented in Pordenone (Giornate del Cinema Muto), Turin (University of Turin), Rome (Royal Dutch Institute), Amsterdam (Eye Filmmuseum), and Paris (Fondation Jerôme Seydoux-Pathé). Many reviews will appear in 2024 in academic journals dealing with film, art, and classical studies. See  Reviews and Interviews for first reviews. 

In 2018-2021 I was involved as one of the three co-advisors to the curatorial team of the exhibition Enfin le cinéma! Arts, images et spectacles en France (1833-1907) (Musée d'Orsay, Paris, 28 Sept. 2021 - 16 Jan. 2022). I was particularly involved in the penultimate room on the theme of History (history painting & early historical films) and also wrote a text on this in the accompanying catalogue. The exhibition was extremely well received by the press and by the audience.

For the 2020 Hamburg Cinefest Kino, Krieg und Tulpen. Deutsch-niederländische Filmbeziehungen (13-22 November 2020) I was not only co-curator of the film program, but also co-author of the accompanying catalog (including a general introductory text, and texts on representation of the Netherlands in German film, star visits to the Netherlands, Dutch stars working in Germany, and animation cinema). I was co-organizer of the accompanying academic conference, for which I gave the keynote, ‘Panorama, Academy, Archive. German-Dutch Film Relationships’. I also contributed to several filmed introductions to the films on show. The whole festival and conference was last minute changed into an online version, while a second online programme took place in May 2021. Lastly, I was co-author of the published conference papers (Fall 2021).

In general, my research deals with early Italian cinema and its ties with visual arts and popular culture (see e.g. my articles in Sinisi et. al. 2010, Bertellini 2013, and Acta 2013), and with silent film and Antiquity (see e.g. my articles in Quaresima & Vichi 2001, Prettejohn & Trippi 2016, Gailleurd 2022). See also the separate page on my personal site. This has also affected in my co-curatorship of the - extremely successful and awarded - exhibition Alma-Tadema: Classical Charm (Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, 2016-2017), my co-organisation with Maria Wyke and others of workshops at the Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, my film programme Italian Muscle in Weimar Film at the 2015 Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, and many conference papers. My contribution to the Tadema exhibition and my article in the accompanying book received much praise (see Reviews and Interviews). Related to this is also my involvement in the 2017-2019 research project Le cinéma italien muet à la croisée des arts européens (1896-1930), run by prof. Céline Gailleurd (Paris 8). I was member of the steering committee, gave a paper at a conference at Villa Medici in Rome (2017) and wrote an article on basis of my conference paper (published 2022 in French with Les Presses du Réel and in Italian with Kaplan), co-organised and gave papers at a workshop at EYE Filmmuseum (2018), and joined the 2019 workshop at CNC (Bois d'Arcy/ Paris), where I also gave a paper.

Released in March 2018 is my monograph Reframing Luchino Visconti: Film and Art (Sidestone Press 2018), a major study on Luchino Visconti’s appropriation of visual arts and cinema. This book indicates how Visconti and his crew not only appropriated visual arts but also cinema previous to Visconti for his own films. It strongly focuses on scenography, costume, and cinematography. Reframing Luchino Visconti has been launched with a round table at the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome on 20 March 2018, while further presentations followed April to June 2018 in Amsterdam (EYE), Milan (Università Cattolica), Sorrento (AAIS conference), Bologna (Cinema Ritrovato) and again Amsterdam (NECS conference). For previous, related publications, see e.g. Blom 2006, Acta 2010, and the - much-lauded - Bono et. al. 2013, see also Reviews and Interviews. Reviews on the book have appeared in The Burlington Magazine, Screen, Positif, Historical Journal for Film, Radio, and Television, Journal for Italian Cinema & Media Studies, Imago, Medienwissenschaft Rezensionen/Reviews, and Senses of Cinema. A pdf of the book can be downloaded in Open Access from my personal website or from Zenodo.

From 1991, I regularly published in Dutch and foreign journals, volumes and encyclopedias on early cinema (various nationalities, genres, distribution, exhibition). From 1994 to 2000, I wrote my dissertation at the University of Amsterdam (2000), which was debated in 2000 and published in 2003 as Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade. The research dealt with early film distribution and exhibition in the so-called transitional era of film history and was primarily based on the Desmet Collection of EYE (formerly Netherlands Filmmuseum), now recognized by Unesco as World Heritage. The 2003 book was extensively and positively reviewed (see Reviews and Interviews) and was worldwide a cornerstone for many researches into early film distribution.  

Many of my publications can be found online at my own website, and on and Researchgate as well.


At VU, Amsterdam, I teach the BA 3rd year course Contesting Images (on Iconoclasm, with Sven Lütticken ) and the MA course Crossmedial Exhibitions (yearly new exhibitions in focus). For over two decades I have taught undergraduates the 2nd year's courses in Film & Media History and Film Analysis & Theory, but stopped doing so per 1 September 2022. I also stopped my yearly contribution to the 1st year's BA courses Analysis of Image & Object and Visual & Material Culture, to the MA course Reading Concepts, and to the MA/Ph.D. international course Challenging Eternity. I still supervise BA and MA theses, and internships. Together with my colleague Marek Jancovic I supervise our master in Comparative Arts & Media Studies. I collaborate with the International Office concerning exchange information to our BA students. 

In the past I have also taught on the cinematic city, film & art, research practice of film & graphic design, history and analysis of film posters, scriptwriting in film & new media, and cinema exhibition & archival research. For a list of tutored theses and internships, look here. From 1991 to 2001, I lectured at the University of Utrecht and the University of Amsterdam on film history and film theory. Since 1999 I teach at VU, Amsterdam. I have been a guest lecturer at the University of Siena (2006-2008) and guest researcher at the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome (KNIR) (2007), the latter after being awarded the Dr. Blok Stipendium. At KNIR, I organised the Bachelor seminar Film in Rome/ Rome in Film at the Royal Dutch Institute, in 2007, 2010, and 2012. In 2010, I also co-organised the Master course Romanità on the Italian ‘ventennio’, architecture and film, a collaboration between KNIR and my university.

Over the last years I have been experimenting with innovation in education, in particular, 1) the use of enriched knowledge clips for my 2012 Rome in Film course (better preparation for short-term excursions, thanks to the project REC:all), 2) use of iPads in both the 2012 Rome on film course and my master course The Cinematic City (2012-2014) enabling to view film clips ‘in situ’ and compare with real locations, 3) the use of GIS-related information by means of Geoplaza sites of film locations in Rome and Amsterdam cinemas in Amsterdam, 4) a pilot project with KPN and Surfnet in the use of 4G for the 2014 edition of The Cinematic City (enabling to consult and compare on-location film clips and image databases online), and 5) use of concept maps to train students in acquiring historical knowledge for my course Film & Media History (2014). All projects were done in collaboration with Sylvia Moes, education innovation manager at VU, Amsterdam. For an interview with me on the use of the enriched knowledge clips, the iPads, Geoplaza and additional experiments in 2012-2013, look here.

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dr. Ivo Blom


  • film history, film analysis, iconoclasm, crossmedial exhibitions, film and art, ...