- Early modern transatlantic science (esp. natural history)
- Early modern art theory
- Theories of practice
- Relations between art and science
- "The Cappella di San Luca: A Crossing Point of Religious and Professional Activities of Artists in Pre-modern Florence", Material Culture: Präsenz und Sichtbarkeit von Künstlern, Zünften und Bruderschaften in der Vormoderne/Presence and Visibility of Artists, Guilds, Brotherhoods in the Premodern Era, ed. A. Tacke, B. U. Münch, and W. Augustyn, Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag (2017), pp. 280–299.
- "Practices and Art Historical Meaning: The Multiple Meanings of Guido Reni's 'Abduction of Helen' in Its Early Years", Incontri, 25.2 (2010), pp. 149–162.
- "Meaning in Art History: A Philosophical Analysis of the Iconological Debate and the Rembrandt Research Project", De Zeventiende Eeuw, 24.2 (2008), pp. 146–161.
Matthijs studied Philosophy and Art History at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Pisa. Over the past ten years he taught courses in Philosophy, Art History, and Cultural Studies at all levels and at various departments in the University of Amsterdam. In the same period Matthijs also conducted research for his PhD thesis, The Academization of Art: a practice approach to the early histories of the Accademia del Disegno and the Accademia di San Luca, which he successfully defended in December 2017 at the same university. An award for his PhD thesis from the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome allowed him spend three months in this city in 2018 to start his current research project on the Tesoro messicano. This book is an encyclopedia of the natural history of Mexico that was published by the Roman Accademia dei Lincei in 1651. The importance of this publication for the history of science consists in the use of the original material that was collected and produced in Mexico, partly by indigenous 'artists' and 'scientists' with knowledge of botany and medicine. In this project, which Matthijs will continue at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, he focuses especially on the translation and appropriation of this indigenous knowledge in the Tesoro messicano.