16th- and 17th-Century Flemish Art

Koenraad Jonckheere

in Renaissance and Reformation

ISBN: 9780195399301
Published online August 2011 | | DOI:
16th- and 17th-Century Flemish Art

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy


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Seventeenth-century Flemish art is one of the highlights in Western art history. Although the term Flemish is anachronistic and, in fact, primarily refers to the Antwerp school of painting, it is commonly used to describe the Southern Netherlandish baroque art of Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, and their contemporaries. It is considered the counterpart of the Northern Netherlandish (or Dutch) baroque art of, among others, Rembrandt and Vermeer. This division in Netherlandish art between Flemish, Counter-Reformation art, and Dutch reformed art—it is an artificial and unsatisfying distinction—is said to have originated in 1585, when, after the fall of Antwerp, the Netherlands were de facto divided into the Southern provinces and the Dutch Republic in the North. The Southern (or Spanish) Netherlands resided under the authority of the king of Spain. They were predominantly Catholic, whereas the Northern Netherlands were officially reformed. Flanders was but one province in the Southern Netherlands at the time, and the Brabantine city of Antwerp was the most important center of art production. This Antwerp-centered look and the domination of the all-pervading Rubens has resulted in a substantial lack of research on other Southern Netherlandish art centers, such as Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, Malines, and Liège and in a significant insufficiency of studies on sculpture, architecture, and the applied arts. However, research interests are changing rapidly, and these neglected areas now generate serious attention. Much scholarship on Flemish art is written in Dutch, French, or German.

Article.  5839 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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