Paul Vandenbroeck has worked with the Collection Research Department of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp from 1980 to 2018 and he has held a part-time professorship with the Anthropology Research Group IMMRC, Social Sciences Faculty of KU Leuven, since 2003. He is an art graduate from that same university and obtained his PhD in 1986. His main research interests are the oeuvre of Hieronymus Bosch, iconography of early modern art in the Low Countries, iconological questions regarding figurative and abstract art, North African domestic textile art, and topics on the interface between art and anthropology, including the specificity of art in female religious communities, the relationship between folk and elite culture, and between therapeutic rituals and artistic creation.
Vandenbroeck often has combined scientific research with the staging of (often) experimental exhibitions. Together with choreographer/dancer Pé Vermeersch, he has elaborated a performative exhibition on the transcultural energetics of aesthetic creation (‘ENCOUNTERS’, Museum MAS, Antwerp, 18th of may – 20th of august 2017). Among his most recent publications : A glimpse of the concealed. Body – intuition – art, Antwerpen, KMSK/BAI, 2017 (456 pp.), and : Utopia’s doom. The ‘Graal’ as Paradise of Lust, the Sect of the Free Spirit and Jheronimus Bosch’s so-called ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, (Art & religion, ed. Barbara BAERT, 8), Leuven, Peeters, 2017 (343 pp.)
Currently, Vandenbroeck continues his research on Jheronimus Bosch, on Flemish art in Spain, and on the cultural and artistic links between the Low Countries, the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco in the 15th and early 16th centuries, and, through fieldwork, on the semantics or ‘an-iconology’ of the nearly extinct abstract rural weaving art in Southern Tunisia (Chenini, Guermessa, Tamezret).