Max Wiringa

This PhD project tries to revise the introduction of Renaissance architecture in the Low Countries by looking at architectural fragments in prints and paintings by artists such as Jan Gossart, Bernard van Orley and Lanceloot Blondeel. Their designs were seen as ‘wrong’ soon after Pieter Coecke van Aelst published his pirated translation of Serlio's Books of Architecture in 1539, which cemented the Five Column Orders of Architecture in tradition. Coecke especially condemned the ‘confusing’ proportioning in paintings and the careless reassembling of fragments. However, the seemingly fantastic architecture of these painters belies a systematic use of all sorts of two- and three-dimensional appropriations of antiquity available in the North. Neither Coecke nor his contemporaries have been studied for their use of antique-seeming fragments as an indication of antique architecture. Nor has this visual strategy of representing architectural space in antique guise through (re-)composition been systematically connected with contemporary architecture. The role prints had in offering model fragments will be examined in depth as well. It was through prints that the architectural fragments quickly spread through the whole of Europe. The dissertation will focus on a well-defined corpus, chiefly dated between 1509, when Jan Gossaert arrived in Italy and 1539, when Coecke’s first translation of Serlio came out. The PhD is part of the project Fragments of Order. Constructing Renaissance Architecture in the Low Countries, which is financed by the FWO (Research Foundation – Flanders) and supervised by Professor Krista De Jonge.