Belgian painter, born in Ghent. He attended evening classes at the Ghent Academy, but he was essentially self-taught as a painter. In 1905 he joined the artists' community at the nearby village of Laethem-Saint-Martin. Servaes found the mystical fervour of the community congenial and he changed from brash Impressionist pictures to scenes from the Bible and rustic life, featuring heavy figures painted in sombre earth colours—works that have won him a reputation as one of the founders of Belgian Expressionism. The tragic bitterness of his religious paintings aroused the hostility of the Roman Catholic authorities, which regarded him as an extremist, and several of his works were removed from churches. In 1945 he settled in Switzerland; his work after this time seldom reached the intensity of his earlier paintings.