Book Series Ars Nova, vol. 16

Jan Rombouts

The Discovery of an Early Sixteenth-Century Master in Louvain

Yvette Bruijnen

  • Pages: 312 p.
  • Size:210 x 297 mm
  • Illustrations:237 b/w, 48 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2011

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52569-3
  • Hardback
  • Available


"..., Bruijnen has made a conscientious and highly useful contribution to the study of early sixteenth-century Flemish art and stained-glass painting." (M. Evans, in: The Burlington Magazine, vol. 154, n° 1307, February 2012, p. 125)

"By introducing a completely new artist to the history of early Netherlandish painting, Yvette Bruijnen has made an enduring contribution to Northern scholarship. Beyond that, her book demonstrates just how wrong received wisdom can be, and serves as a reminder that wonderful surprises still happen in research." (Dan Ewing, in: HNA Reviews, October 2013)

"By considering the geographic, sociolegal, and artistic framework in which Rombouts lived and worked, Bruijnen succeeds in situating the artist's local significance alongside broader artistic developments in the Netherlands, thereby creating a monograph that will be of great interest to students and scholars of Netherlandish art." (Olenka Horbatsch, in: Sixteenth Century Journal, XLIV/3, Fall 2013, p. 819-820)


This monograph introduces the sixteenth-century Louvain artist Jan Rombouts (c. 1480 – 1535), whose oeuvre was previously assigned to Jan van Rillaer. Debates concerning Rombouts’s identity are explored in detail by means of reinterpretation of published archival documents and the discovery of numerous new documents. The publication of the sources, most with full transcriptions, provides a sound basis for the author’s arguments supporting the new identification.The remaining oeuvre of the artist, as it is known today, comprises engravings and paintings. This monograph argues for the expansion of Rombouts’s oeuvre with some dozen stained-glass windows, roundels and a drawn design for a church window, while suggestions are put forth for other possible attributions. Attention is given to the historical context for Rombouts’s activity as a glass painter, and the attributions of these works, none of which are monogrammed, are made by comparing their style with that of works securely attributed to the artist. This section is backed up by numerous illustrations of the windows, many of which are quite inaccessible. Finally, a discussion of archival sources concerning the Louvain confraternity of St Luke and commissions for works of art to local artists in the period covered by the book, form the rich historical background against which Jan Rombouts executed his oeuvre of engravings, paintings, roundels and stained-glass windows. The size, individuality, diversity and craftsmanship of this oeuvre enable us to finally identify and place him securely within the history of south Netherlandish art of his time.